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## Gaydar Is Real!

• Bunjamon

Posts: 3161
http://www.courant.com/features/lifestyle/hc-gaydar.artaug21,0,1062750.story

Personally I think my gaydar is atrocious. What do you guys think of this study? Do you think gaydar is something that can be scientifically proven?
• Posted by a hidden member.
Bunjamon saidhttp://www.courant.com/features/lifestyle/hc-gaydar.artaug21,0,1062750.story

Personally I think my gaydar is atrocious. What do you guys think of this study? Do you think gaydar is something that can be scientifically proven?

Atrocious? If I stumbled across two naked men fucking on the sidewalk I still wouldn't be sure either of them was gay.
• MSUBioNerd

Posts: 1813
From the summary of the article, I'm skeptical about drawing many conclusions. For one, his sample size is clearly low--15 students, 90 faces they looked at. For another, his effect size is small--60% probability of guessing correctly when 50% would be expected by a coin flip means barely better than chance.

Yes, it's statistically significant if you look at it as a simple binomial test, but not by much: each student individually tested would be deemed as statistically insignificant at the standard alpha = 0.05 if they got only 53 correct (p = 0.0567), and 60% correct means 54 correct (p = 0.0363). If you do a Bonferroni correction for multiple tests, you find that a student needs to get 59 correct to be statistically significant in this group, which means at least 1 student did better than chance, but possibly only 1 of the 15. And this is all based on assuming it's a simple binomial distribution, rather than running a contingency table. If the subjects knew that half the faces were of gay men and half were of straight men, that can change the probability calculations.

Even if it is significant, you also need to look at effect size. If the average person can indeed guess right 60% of the time under conditions constructed that random luck would expect a 50% success rate, that means that people are 20% more likely to be right than a coin is. (Yes, 20%, not 10%--probabilities are multiplicative, not additive, so you need to divide 60 by 50, not subtract 50 from 60.) But that person will still be wrong 40% of the time. That's right around the cusp of an F versus a D-, depending on your school district. Not exactly something to write home about.
• Posted by a hidden member.
Whoa, MSUBioNerd, that's the way to lay down the statistical mack!

I would be curious about which faces prompted the most consistent responses. I wonder if what the test subjects were picking up was cultural cues--like a rainbow necklace or something.
• MSUBioNerd

Posts: 1813
Additionally, it might be interesting if someone were to do a study involving more realistic probabilities. Gay and bi men are somewhere around 5-10% of all men. If you were to show people a set of 200 pictures of men, and somewhere between 10 and 20 were gay and bi, while the remaining 180-190 were straight, and asked the subject to determine whether each picture was of a straight man or a gay/bi man, you'd be more closely approximating realities outside of Castro street or the equivalent. I, at least, would be interested to see how the statistics would change under such circumstances. The actual skew in probabilities might make noticing a statistically significant difference more difficult, but it would also make any differences observed that much more meaningful.
• Delivis

Posts: 2332
As someone who regularily reads scientific studies, i must say i pretty much agree with MSU's analysis. It is a good enough study to warrant further research with better controls and real-life sexuality ratios.
• morholt

Posts: 57
Horrible gaydar... I didn't even know I was gay until my boyfriend confronted me!
• Posted by a hidden member.
The statistical skepticism is well-placed. In addition, one has to be a bit cautious of using photos from Facebook and Internet personal ads as the sole source of pictorial data. Those photos are posted by individuals for the express purpose of conveying something about themselves, and can't be taken as a random or standard representation of their faces in regular situations in the real world. People will smile and display facial expressions that are different in a personal ad (just as they would in a gay bar, for example) than in a passport photo (or at work).

And college students process more faces on a yearly basis than most people, as folks in typical full-time jobs or retired and hanging out at the local senior center don't have classes, clubs, parties, etc. that regularly cycle through new people. Plus, college students may be more likely to have their guesses confirmed or denied, because there are more out gay and lesbian people in their social network. Both factors should improve students' gaydar/guessing relative to the general adult population.

Given that, I was actually surprised that the effect size of gaydar wasn't higher in the results.
• Posted by a hidden member.
jprichva said
Bunjamon saidhttp://www.courant.com/features/lifestyle/hc-gaydar.artaug21,0,1062750.story

Personally I think my gaydar is atrocious. What do you guys think of this study? Do you think gaydar is something that can be scientifically proven?

Atrocious? If I stumbled across two naked men fucking on the sidewalk I still wouldn't be sure either of them was gay.

I agree totally!

Like...

They could be g0ys, y'know!
• Posted by a hidden member.
Sedative said

I agree totally!

Like...

They could be g0ys, y'know!

Except they wouldn't be fucking because g0ys don't fuck. They would simply be inserting organs into orifices in a totally manly way.
• Posted by a hidden member.
dowal said
Sedative said

I agree totally!

Like...

They could be g0ys, y'know!

Except they wouldn't be fucking because g0ys don't fuck. They would simply be inserting organs into orifices in a totally manly way.

Good point!

• Posted by a hidden member.
There's frot too, ya know... it's not all about orifices o.0
• Posted by a hidden member.
I can't speak for others, but my own gaydar is preternatural. I can tell a gay from a straight almost as easily as I can tell a man from a woman. And I could even before I came out of denial myself, and entered the gay world.
• Posted by a hidden member.
Red_Vespa saidI can't speak for others, but my own gaydar is preternatural. I can tell a gay from a straight almost as easily as I can tell a man from a woman. And I could even before I came out of denial myself, and entered the gay world.

ok, you and I are going out some wkend, I want proof.

I just go for this method:
Walk up to the stranger and say - "There's a guy over there who said you were gay"
When the stranger responds, "WHO!"
You say, "I don't know him, but he was a really hot guy over in that direction"
If the stranger responds, "really?? where is he??" the guys gay

If the stranger responds, "yeah, where is this dick, I'll kick his ass!"
chances are he's not
• Posted by a hidden member.
BodyWork4 saidok, you and I are going out some wkend, I want proof.

Not that I'd object, far from it. But if I went out with a hottie like you, I doubt I'd have eyes for anyone else.
• Posted by a hidden member.
Here's another article on gaydar:

http://nymag.com/news/features/33520/

• Posted by a hidden member.
Red_Vespa said
BodyWork4 saidok, you and I are going out some wkend, I want proof.

Not that I'd object, far from it. But if I went out with a hottie like you, I doubt I'd have eyes for anyone else. />

well thanks Red, you're quite the cute lil' scooter yourself
• Posted by a hidden member.
My sister thinks she's got gaydar. She could pick Richard Simmons out of a Nascar rally, but that's about the extent of it - yet she thinks she's got a finely tuned ability!

This ability of hers has nothing to do with using me as a model - she got it from bad Adam Sandler movies (apologies for the redundancy.)

My own gaydar is plenty good - but it's preposterous to assume it is a matter of looking a photographs. And certainly more than 1/2 the gay men I know (zillions!) don't "look gay" in a photograph.

But then radar doesn't work in two dimensions, either!
• 1AlanZSky

Posts: 1505
Gaydar is real, yes.
• 1AlanZSky

Posts: 1505
pazzy saidgaydar is not real.

Yes it is. I can tell if you are gay or not. If you look at men then obviously you are gay.
• Posted by a hidden member.
A good illustration of how the quality of the forum has changed over the years.
• Paperless_Pen

Posts: 573
mindgarden saidA good illustration of how the quality of the forum has changed over the years.

Good people have left. No proper maintenance of the boards. Chat function has gone. Testimonials.
• HottJoe

Posts: 21366
I have excellent Gaydar. I can usually tell if someone is gay even they don't know they're gay.
• Posted by a hidden member.