Although I've always wanted this particular superhuman power, I've never been very good at detecting other men's sexual orientation. Findings from a recent study published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, however, suggest I may be underestimating my gaydar abilities.
The January 2008 study investigated people's ability to identify homosexual men from pictures of their faces alone. In an initial experiment, researchers Nicholas Rule and Nalini Ambady from Tufts University perused online dating sites and carefully selected 45 straight male faces and 45 gay male faces. All of these photos were matched for orientation (only faces shown looking forward were used) and facial alterations (none of the images contained jewelry, glasses or facial hair). To control for context, the faces were also cut and pasted onto a white background for the study. These 90 faces were then shown to 90 participants in random order, who were asked simply to judge the target's "probable sexual orientation" (gay or straight) by pressing a button. Surprisingly, all participants (both men and women) scored above chance on this gaydar task, correctly identifying the gay faces. Even more surprisingly, accuracy rate was just as good when the images were exposed at a rapid rate of only 50 milliseconds, which offered participants no opportunity to consciously process the photo. (read Scientific American article)
Okay, how about this then.
I figured that in modern days, it would be more enlightened to judge people based on merit (if at all) instead of sexuality. Yes, sexual orientation is part of how people define themselves, awesome. Should it matter to them? Sure, if they want it to. Does someone's orientation alter or influence the way I (because I can only speak for myself) perceive them? No, it doesn't. I'm more interested in how the wiring is different from person to person.
Really, you care who is sleeping with whom? Strange.
Then create that topic and see if anyone wants to discuss it. Your statement basically boils down to "I don't like this topic. I'd rather be discussing another one."
That's twice you've dictated my intentions to me while at the same time, being wrong.
Why do you keep doing that?
I can't help myself, I guess.
I just don't understand why this post needs to be up for discussion? Atheists tend to be more open to the idea of homosexuality, therefore we must talk about it? I don't think you can tell if a person is gay, and who cares? I'm beginning to think you just enjoy seeing your picture up on the 'What's new today' section.
I don't think you can tell if a person is gay...
That's what the study is trying to determine. Whether the study is meaningful or not comes down to its methodology and the quality of the research, but at heart we are talking about statements of opinion which need not be statements of opinion.
...and who cares?
I don't understand why you would expect your lack of curiosity in this arena to extend to others. This is not a critical comment; I actually don't understand. Or is there an aversion to the topic?
Human sexuality is interesting, at least in my opinion. Certainly homosexuality has been studied far less extensively than heterosexuality, so I enjoy reading about studies on other facets of sexual orientation. Not all of them will be deeply revealing, meaningful, or even well-conducted, but that's just how it goes. Some may not find it that interesting. I do, so I participate in the threads.
Conversations have repeated over and over and over on these forums. Even if it is not a dramatic departure from the standard fare, I don't see much of a problem with a user injecting something to generate new discussions.
I'm with you there, sister.
Oh, so now there's a "Needs to be up for discussion" requirement for posts? Learn something new every day.
I always thought knowledge—and the pursuit of it—was a good thing, an end in itself. Was I wrong?
It does matter if someone is gay, if only to the gays. Imagine, for example, a gay-blind gay man. Now, I lived with a gay male roommate for nearly a year. He was sexually active and had a sense for the implicit "signals" a gay man sends off as well as the more explicit ones. But suppose he didn't have good gaydar?
A straight man can use gaydar as well. For example, if another man seems to be creating a sexually ambiguous situation. Sending definitely heterosexual signals back can forstall a potentially awkward and embarrassing situation.
It's similar to recognizing a particularly well-done cross-dresser. Some people may not recognize the clues (adam's apple, larger hands and feet, etc.). Why not know the clues?
Right on the money.
It matters a hell of a lot to me because my lesbian-dar is shit. If there's a method for improving that, I am definitely interested!
By the way...is there a better word for that? Queerdar? Gayladydar? Lol.