But on the other hand, remember that Rule and his co-authors largely controlled for these superficial giveaways in their stimulus photos. Gay men showed an even stronger preference than women for facial hair. But when it came to choosing a long-term partner, a guy with whom a woman could have babies or settle in for the duration, the more facial hair the better. 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. That is to say, people seem to have honed and calibrated their gaydar without knowing they've done so. Findings from a recent study published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychologyhowever, suggest I may be underestimating my gaydar abilities. All Rights Reserved.
Wary of these possible criticisms, Rule and Ambady conducted a second experiment that controlled for such extraneous variables as self-presentation and hairstyle. Women attracted to men preferred light stubble for a one-night stand. That is to say, people seem to have honed and calibrated their gaydar without knowing they've done so.
In this new column presented by Scientific American Mind magazine, research psychologist Jesse Bering of Queen's University Belfast ponders some of the more obscure aspects of everyday human behavior.