Friday, September 04, 2015

"Gaydar" may not be scientific

Thinking you can tell whether someone is gay or straight based on appearance--gaydar--was boosted by a 2008 study that seemed to show people could accurately tell based on people's faces.

A new paper in J of Sex Research, challenges this gaydar myth. First, say the researchers at the Univ of Wisconsin Madison, this is stereotyping and can be harmful.

Instead of stereotyping, people call it gaydar, which sounds kind of cute.

They also questioned the earlier study, saying the gay and lesbian pictures were of higher quality. When all were of the same quality, the participants did not choose as accurately.

They also told the study participants three different things. One group was told gaydar was real, another was told it was stereotyping and the third did not define gaydar.

The group that was told it was real picked "gay" people more than did other groups, often based on other clues--such as "he likes shopping."

Stereotyping can encourage aggression--studies also show this.

People can be prejudiced, one researcher said, but not want to seem like they are--they exercise prejudice when they think they can get away with it.

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