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Is It Possible That ‘Gaydar’ Is Real?

'The Office' - "Gaydar"
NBC

It is highly likely that throughout the years you have heard someone at one point or another talk about having “gaydar.”

This is a term that some use for having the ability to detect a person’s sexual orientation as if by having radar. It’s always been kind of a joke, but a new study suggests that not only is it real and that some who possess it may be about 80 percent accurate.

According to a study involving college students at the University of Washington, researchers found that most people were able to identify a person’s sexuality with great accuracy simply based on a black-and-white photograph flashed in front of them for just 50 milliseconds. That is faster than the blink of an eye.

The photographs were all digitally altered to remove the “self-presentational” aspects of a person, which suggests that there may be such a thing as a “gay face” according to head researcher Joshua Tabak.

The world’s best lie detection experts top out at around 80 percent accuracy. Being at 80 percent accuracy on this type of judgment — just seeing a picture of a face in grayscale — that’s pretty amazing.”

Although it may be amazing, the research also suggests that not everyone’s “gaydar” is as accurate as others. Some of the students involved in the study were not able to guess sexuality at all, while others scored well above the 80 percent accuracy in identifying nearly 100 photos of randomly gay and straight people.

Even though Tabak believes “gaydar” is real, he also suggests that the ability to guess a person’s sexual preference is something most people likely learn from social exposure and experience.

[US News & World Report]

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