The Science of ‘Gaydar’
“GAYDAR” colloquially refers to the ability to accurately glean others’ sexual orientation from mere observation. But does gaydar really exist? If so, how does it work?
Our research, published recently in the peer-reviewed journal PLoS ONE, shows that gaydar is indeed real and that its accuracy is driven by sensitivity to individual facial features as well as the spatial relationships among facial features.
We conducted experiments in which participants viewed facial photographs of men and women and then categorized each face as gay or straight. The photographs were seen very briefly, for 50 milliseconds, which was long enough for participants to know they’d seen a face, but probably not long enough to feel they knew much more. In addition, the photos were mostly devoid of cultural cues: hairstyles were digitally removed, and no faces had makeup, piercings, eyeglasses or tattoos.
Even when viewing such bare faces so briefly, participants demonstrated an ability to identify sexual orientation: overall, gaydar judgments were about 60 percent accurate.
Since chance guessing would yield 50 percent accuracy, 60 percent might not seem impressive. But the effect is statistically significant — several times above the margin of error. Furthermore, the effect has been highly replicable: we ourselves have consistently discovered such effects in more than a dozen experiments, and our gaydar research was inspired by the work of the social psychologist Nicholas Rule, who has published on the gaydar phenomenon numerous times in the past few years.
So that is the science behind gaydar, if you want to read the full article, click the link.
Gaydar is very real. There is no aggregate number for how accurate gaydar for people, however, because some people are way more proficient than others at spotting gay/lesbian/bisexuals/bi-curious/etc.
Personally, my gaydar NEVER fails. Like, ever, straight up. I know right off the bat. The obvious ones, aka the more femme queens, or the butch lesbians, are obvious. But I can spot closeted gay men, and I can spot straight guys who are attracted to me VERY easily. I can spot bears and wolves, and I can spot masculine gay/bi/curious guys. I know a guy who likes guys within no less than 2 minutes with talking to them. As for lesbians, it's around 50-50. There are some clear signs with all types of lesbians but I don't really care at all since I'm not a girl.
Gaydar isn't really something you can see or hear. It's a feeling. It's an aura a person gives off, some of it is mannerism, as well as the instincts you personally get when around someone. Eye contact is something to look for (extended eye contact as well as someone who looks around instead of trying to look at you), as well as physical closeness. For me, if a guy is less guarded when I'm talking to him, I know he could be non-heterosexual. And it's again easy to spot a guarded person vs a more open person. Gay men also tend to dress with a different (and better) sense of style than most straight men, but that's not always the case.
Straightdar exists too. People call guys like Roger gay because he's into fashion and stuff, but I know with complete confidence he's straight. Guys like David Beckham. He's clearly straight. When I KNOW a guy is 100% straight I lose interest. Like, I know whether if a guy is straight or not if I feel like I'm into him. Some attractive straight boys I'm not into because I know I don't have a chance, so it's basically like automatic friend zone. These types of guys tend to be more secure in their sexuality too because they know they can have whatever they want so they make great friends. A lot of these guys like to have gay friends because gay men are often fashionable and they can learn from us, and they can use us as wingmen and vice versa.
So monologue over, how is your gaydar/straightdar, bitches? Answer up!