Heterosexual women better judges of orientation than lesbian women in study

May 5, 2014, Taylor & Francis

Previous research has proven the 'gaydar' to be a real phenomenon. Reliable predictions of sexual orientation have been made simply by hearing a voice or seeing a face. This article in Cognition & Emotion asks who has better gaydar? Lesbian women or straight? The expectation was that lesbians due to their experience of choosing partners would be more tuned in to others orientation. The authors conducted a study which revealed some thought-provoking insights into who has greater interpersonal sensitivity.

The study entailed a mixture of lesbian and straight watching video clips of a target group of women discussing family relationships and future life. The watchers were asked to rate multiple aspects of the target group; what were they thinking? What emotions they experienced? What type of personality did they have and overall were they gay or straight on a continuous scale of homosexuality? This ground-breaking research stands out from previous studies which have primarily considered sexuality of men. Thoughts, emotions and personality gave fascinating extra dimension.

Contrary to expectation, it was observed that straight judges were more accurate assessors of thoughts and emotions. Could lesbians be easier to read due to non-verbal communication? Lesbians won out in terms of gaydar, they spotted their own orientation more easily. Does the prominence of sexuality for lesbians enable a fine-tuned awareness of others sexuality? Straight women appear more interested in thoughts and emotions: sexuality of other women seems to bear less importance for them. This insightful article has given us a snapshot of how guides perceptions of multiple aspects of other individuals. The authors urge more research on gay vs. straight communication methods and on how city vs. rural location affects outcomes.

Explore further: 'Gaydar' revisited: New insight into how women perceive emotions, thoughts, personality, and sexual orientation

More information: "How women's sexual orientation guides accuracy of interpersonal judgements of other women," Mollie A. Ruben, Krista M. Hill & Judith A. Hall, Cognition & Emotion, 10.1080/02699931.2014.890093

Related Stories

'Gaydar' revisited: New insight into how women perceive emotions, thoughts, personality, and sexual orientation

March 4, 2014
A recent study sheds new light on the phenomenon known as "gaydar," or the ability to determine another person's sexual orientation.

'Gaydar' automatic and more accurate for women's faces, psychologists find

May 16, 2012
After seeing faces for less than a blink of an eye, college students have accuracy greater than mere chance in judging others' sexual orientation. Their "gaydar" persisted even when they saw the photos upside-down, and gay ...

Gay-straight alliances in schools reduce suicide risk for all students

January 21, 2014
Canadian schools with explicit anti-homophobia interventions such as gay-straight alliances (GSAs) may reduce the odds of suicidal thoughts and attempts among both sexual minority and straight students, according to a new ...

Sexual orientation has 'in between' groups, study shows

May 9, 2012
Sexual orientation is best represented as a continuum that has two new categories -- "mostly heterosexual" and "mostly gay/lesbian" -- in addition to heterosexual, bisexual or gay/lesbian, according to a new Cornell study.

Health inequalities seen in gays and lesbians

February 12, 2014
Gay, lesbian and bisexual people face several health disparities relative to their heterosexual peers, finds a new study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Recommended for you

Intensive behavior therapy no better than conventional support in treating teenagers with antisocial behavior

January 19, 2018
Research led by UCL has found that intensive and costly multisystemic therapy is no better than conventional therapy in treating teenagers with moderate to severe antisocial behaviour.

Babies' babbling betters brains, language

January 18, 2018
Babies are adept at getting what they need - including an education. New research shows that babies organize mothers' verbal responses, which promotes more effective language instruction, and infant babbling is the key.

College branding makes beer more salient to underage students

January 18, 2018
In recent years, major beer companies have tried to capitalize on the salience of students' university affiliations, unveiling marketing campaigns and products—such as "fan cans," store displays, and billboard ads—that ...

Inherited IQ can increase in early childhood

January 18, 2018
When it comes to intelligence, environment and education matter – more than we think.

Modulating molecules: Study shows oxytocin helps the brain to modulate social signals

January 17, 2018
Between sights, sounds, smells and other senses, the brain is flooded with stimuli on a moment-to-moment basis. How can it sort through the flood of information to decide what is important and what can be relegated to the ...

Baby brains help infants figure it out before they try it out

January 17, 2018
Babies often amaze their parents when they seemingly learn new skills overnight—how to walk, for example. But their brains were probably prepping for those tasks long before their first steps occurred, according to researchers.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.