Dissecting "gaydar": Accuracy and the role of masculinity-femininity

Gerulf Rieger*, Joan A W Linsenmeier, Lorenz Gygax, Steven Garcia, J. Michael Bailey

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

112 Scopus citations

Abstract

"Gaydar" is the ability to distinguish homosexual and heterosexual people using indirect cues. We investigated the accuracy of gaydar and the nature of "gaydar signals" conveying information about sexual orientation. Homosexual people tend to be more sex atypical than heterosexual people in some behaviors, feelings, and interests. We hypothesized that indicators of sex atypicality might function as gaydar signals. In Study 1, raters judged targets' sexual orientation from pictures, brief videos, and sound recordings. Sexual orientation was assessed with high, though imperfect, accuracy. In Study 2, different raters judged targets' sex atypicality from the same stimuli. Ratings of sexual orientation from Study 1 corresponded highly with targets' self-reports of sex atypicality and with observer ratings of sex atypicality from Study 2. Thus, brief samples of sex-atypical behavior may function as effective gaydar signals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)124-140
Number of pages17
JournalArchives of Sexual Behavior
Volume39
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2010

Keywords

  • Person perception
  • Sex-typed behavior
  • Sexual orientation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Psychology(all)

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