## People have inbuilt "gaydar"

Discussions about society in general and social activity.

### Re: People have inbuilt "gaydar"

I'm not 100% convinced about this paper, there seems to be a glaring methodological flaw in experiment 1, though I can't find a table of their data to see how much of a difference it makes.

The participants in the experiment were presented with cropped images from facebook users who identified themselves as gay or straight (which incidentally presents another interpretation than the one John P M identified, that people can identify "gay poses" rather than "gay faces"). The particpants then had to categorise each face as "straight" or "gay", meaning that there were 4 possible response-answer combinations:-

- Guess gay and "hit" correctly that the person identified as gay, H
- Guess gay and have a "false alarm" when the person identified as straight, FA
- Guess straight and "hit" correctly that the person identified as straight, H*
- Guess straight and have a "false alarm" when the person identified as gay, FA*

Now, there is a difficulty in treating this data to create a probability by chance of some given combination of guesses, so an aggregate measure A' is used which accounts for the fact that people may not estimate the correct proportion of the sample as being gay (it was in fact 50/50). A' is described here: http://www.amsciepub.com/doi/abs/10.246 ... 76.42.1.98

It is important to note that the test principle - that people can identify the difference between straight faces and gay faces - is neutral, if participants can tell them apart, they should do equally well both when they choose "straight" and when they choose "gay".

However, we notice that the only results presented relate to the smaller (and thus more susceptible to noise) data set of gay guess, H and FA. The other data is simply disregarded. This seems to be a grave concern, if the results had been different, there would have been nothing preventing the authors disregarding the data they presented and using the data they disregarded instead. This represents a selection bias and potential source of error, though it's impossible to tell without more information how serious this may be.
jamest wrote:Taken as a whole, I've talked quite a lot of bollocks.
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### Re: People have inbuilt "gaydar"

There's also a consideration that with the small number of participants, potentially small number of assignments to the "gay face" category that taking the mean proportion A'f (the A' considering only those female faces that were guessed to be gay) will lead to excessive susceptibility to noise. I suppose it's possible that a weighted mean was used (which would appear to be the statistically valid thing to do) but they don't state that's what they did.

jamest wrote:Taken as a whole, I've talked quite a lot of bollocks.
Thommo

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### Re: People have inbuilt "gaydar"

horacerumpole wrote:
Animavore wrote:
Bathynomus Giganteus wrote:Umm, ok.......This is an ability I seem lack.

You really lack this?

I can usually tell a gay straight away.

How do you go about verifying if your judgment is correct? Taste test?

I just ask them. It's good to get it out of the way. Though probably not fair on them. You should see their little eyes light up.
With regard to heretics two points must be observed (heretic and Church).. On their own side there is the sin, whereby they deserve not only to be separated from the Church by excommunication, but also to be severed from the world by death.

- Aquinas.

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### Re: People have inbuilt "gaydar"

Animavore wrote:I just ask them. It's good to get it out of the way. Though probably not fair on them. You should see their little eyes light up.

You little stud, you!
jamest wrote:Taken as a whole, I've talked quite a lot of bollocks.
Thommo

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### Re: People have inbuilt "gaydar"

Actually gay folk come on to me all the time so I'm not fully convinced by the gaydar thing.
With regard to heretics two points must be observed (heretic and Church).. On their own side there is the sin, whereby they deserve not only to be separated from the Church by excommunication, but also to be severed from the world by death.

- Aquinas.

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### Re: People have inbuilt "gaydar"

Triangles are my favourite shape. ∆

No motion has she now, no force,
She neither hears nor sees,
Roll'd round in Earth's diurnal course
With rocks, and stones, and trees.

Fallible
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### Re: People have inbuilt "gaydar"

Teachers don't count. They're not gay. Just weird.
With regard to heretics two points must be observed (heretic and Church).. On their own side there is the sin, whereby they deserve not only to be separated from the Church by excommunication, but also to be severed from the world by death.

- Aquinas.

Animavore

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### Re: People have inbuilt "gaydar"

Animavore wrote::smug:

Actually gay folk come on to me all the time so I'm not fully convinced by the gaydar thing.

Yeah, but if you will go around dressed like this ...

The truth may be out there, but the lies are inside your head. Terry Pratchett

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### Re: People have inbuilt "gaydar"

Eww, you can see where he parks his bike!
Triangles are my favourite shape. ∆

No motion has she now, no force,
She neither hears nor sees,
Roll'd round in Earth's diurnal course
With rocks, and stones, and trees.

Fallible
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### Re: People have inbuilt "gaydar"

Ah. The auld dick through the pot-o-gold trick.
With regard to heretics two points must be observed (heretic and Church).. On their own side there is the sin, whereby they deserve not only to be separated from the Church by excommunication, but also to be severed from the world by death.

- Aquinas.

Animavore

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### Re: People have inbuilt "gaydar"

"accuracy greater than mere chance" is hardly groundbreaking though, is it?

I don't really understand the whole gaydar thing. Apart from when people are on the pull (so need to know the potential mate's sexuality to know whether they'd be wasting their time pursuing), why does anyone care? What difference should it make to me whether someone's gay or straight? And sexuality being quite a personal thing (and with a good many grey areas), I feel like it's none of my business anyway.

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### Re: People have inbuilt "gaydar"

Before engaging in any intellectual queries, that is drilling down the different orders of logic of different positions on a topic, one should ask themselves whether the topic is worth discussing. Would having or not having the obviously satirically and adbsurdly named 'gaydar' change your behaviour towards an individual who is perceived as homosexual? If you are respectful of others and of fundamental human rights, the ideal answer would be no. Striving for the operationalisation of that answer in our own lives, it can be said that this topic is completely pointless. Whenever hearing an assertion of fact, there are two basic questions that must be asked: (1) How was this assertion verified; and (2) If the assertion was correct, what would be its significance. The first question you ask should be the one that is easiest to answer, thus potentially saving you from a lot of irrelevant work.

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### Re: People have inbuilt "gaydar"

horacerumpole wrote:
Animavore wrote:
Bathynomus Giganteus wrote:Umm, ok.......This is an ability I seem lack.

You really lack this?

I can usually tell a gay straight away.

How do you go about verifying if your judgment is correct? Taste test?

Kinky.
Fallible wrote:Oh no, I can't live without my bollocks.

Animavore wrote:I like dick too.

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### Re: People have inbuilt "gaydar"

SeriousCat wrote:Before engaging in any intellectual queries, that is drilling down the different orders of logic of different positions on a topic, one should ask themselves whether the topic is worth discussing. Would having or not having the obviously satirically and adbsurdly named 'gaydar' change your behaviour towards an individual who is perceived as homosexual? If you are respectful of others and of fundamental human rights, the ideal answer would be no. Striving for the operationalisation of that answer in our own lives, it can be said that this topic is completely pointless. Whenever hearing an assertion of fact, there are two basic questions that must be asked: (1) How was this assertion verified; and (2) If the assertion was correct, what would be its significance. The first question you ask should be the one that is easiest to answer, thus potentially saving you from a lot of irrelevant work.

Seems pretty relevant to gay people. It's embarassing to hit on people and be rejected.

More generally I don't agree with the principle anyway, there are lots of areas of intellectual discussion, investigation and discovery that are fascinating, discussed and worthy of discussion that have not one shred of potential interaction with behaviour for anyone. What would the behavioural consequences of truth of the continuum hypothesis be?
jamest wrote:Taken as a whole, I've talked quite a lot of bollocks.
Thommo

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### Re: People have inbuilt "gaydar"

Thommo wrote:Seems pretty relevant to gay people. It's embarassing to hit on people and be rejected. More generally I don't agree with the principle anyway, there are lots of areas of intellectual discussion, investigation and discovery that are fascinating, discussed and worthy of discussion that have not one shred of potential interaction with behaviour for anyone. What would the behavioural consequences of truth of the continuum hypothesis be?

Yes, I suppose it would be a little embarassing, but it's not the end of the world. I've been approached before and faced the situation you've described. As long as both parties are mature about it, there is no issue. That in itself isn't a useful reason for thinking of the implications of 'gaydar'.

For your second point, I will admit I am a pragmatist and the reasoning I put forth was for pragmatic application. However, if you enjoy vexing your mind with complicated issues, then you aren't looking for application but mental exercise and play. It becomes an entirely different beast, like a piece of music.

SeriousCat

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### Re: People have inbuilt "gaydar"

SeriousCat wrote:
Thommo wrote:Seems pretty relevant to gay people. It's embarassing to hit on people and be rejected. More generally I don't agree with the principle anyway, there are lots of areas of intellectual discussion, investigation and discovery that are fascinating, discussed and worthy of discussion that have not one shred of potential interaction with behaviour for anyone. What would the behavioural consequences of truth of the continuum hypothesis be?

Yes, I suppose it would be a little embarassing, but it's not the end of the world. I've been approached before and faced the situation you've described. As long as both parties are mature about it, there is no issue. That in itself isn't a useful reason for thinking of the implications of 'gaydar'.

For your second point, I will admit I am a pragmatist and the reasoning I put forth was for pragmatic application. However, if you enjoy vexing your mind with complicated issues, then you aren't looking for application but mental exercise and play. It becomes an entirely different beast, like a piece of music.

Or like scientific research.

It's simply not true that something needs to have direct consequences for ones behaviour to be of interest or value to one.

Arguing on an internet forum that things are only valuable if they are pragmatic seems like an exercise in self-defeat.
jamest wrote:Taken as a whole, I've talked quite a lot of bollocks.
Thommo

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### Re: People have inbuilt "gaydar"

Thommo wrote:
SeriousCat wrote:
Thommo wrote:Seems pretty relevant to gay people. It's embarassing to hit on people and be rejected. More generally I don't agree with the principle anyway, there are lots of areas of intellectual discussion, investigation and discovery that are fascinating, discussed and worthy of discussion that have not one shred of potential interaction with behaviour for anyone. What would the behavioural consequences of truth of the continuum hypothesis be?

Yes, I suppose it would be a little embarassing, but it's not the end of the world. I've been approached before and faced the situation you've described. As long as both parties are mature about it, there is no issue. That in itself isn't a useful reason for thinking of the implications of 'gaydar'.

For your second point, I will admit I am a pragmatist and the reasoning I put forth was for pragmatic application. However, if you enjoy vexing your mind with complicated issues, then you aren't looking for application but mental exercise and play. It becomes an entirely different beast, like a piece of music.

Or like scientific research.

It's simply not true that something needs to have direct consequences for ones behaviour to be of interest or value to one.

Arguing on an internet forum that things are only valuable if they are pragmatic seems like an exercise in self-defeat.

You're misunderstanding what I'm saying. I'm talking about there being no difference in the consequences whether it is true or not. You're going off in a completely different direction. Also, consequences are rarely direct. Indirect consequences, such as the impetus to travel to the moon, are valid too.

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### Re: People have inbuilt "gaydar"

Animavore wrote:
Bathynomus Giganteus wrote:Umm, ok.......This is an ability I seem lack.

You really lack this?

I can usually tell a gay straight away.

Perhaps, but can you tell a straight straight away?

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### Re: People have inbuilt "gaydar"

SeriousCat wrote:You're misunderstanding what I'm saying. I'm talking about there being no difference in the consequences whether it is true or not. You're going off in a completely different direction. Also, consequences are rarely direct. Indirect consequences, such as the impetus to travel to the moon, are valid too.

There are consequences of whether people can identify the sexuality of others, regardless of the fact people should not be discriminated against on the basis of their sexuality. Indeed the consequences are not "the end of the world", but then, few things are.

People value the truth, there does not need to be a consideration of "If the assertion was correct, what would be its significance" before something becomes interesting or worth discussing. Although in this case the consequences of how people form perceptions of others, what visual cues people give regarding their sexual proclivities and so on are all interesting and relevantly affected by the truth or falsity of this proposition.
jamest wrote:Taken as a whole, I've talked quite a lot of bollocks.
Thommo

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### Re: People have inbuilt "gaydar"

Thommo wrote:
SeriousCat wrote:Before engaging in any intellectual queries, that is drilling down the different orders of logic of different positions on a topic, one should ask themselves whether the topic is worth discussing. Would having or not having the obviously satirically and adbsurdly named 'gaydar' change your behaviour towards an individual who is perceived as homosexual? If you are respectful of others and of fundamental human rights, the ideal answer would be no. Striving for the operationalisation of that answer in our own lives, it can be said that this topic is completely pointless. Whenever hearing an assertion of fact, there are two basic questions that must be asked: (1) How was this assertion verified; and (2) If the assertion was correct, what would be its significance. The first question you ask should be the one that is easiest to answer, thus potentially saving you from a lot of irrelevant work.

Seems pretty relevant to gay people. It's embarassing to hit on people and be rejected.

Yeah, like I said I can see the point of it from that practical POV.

More generally I don't agree with the principle anyway, there are lots of areas of intellectual discussion, investigation and discovery that are fascinating, discussed and worthy of discussion that have not one shred of potential interaction with behaviour for anyone. What would the behavioural consequences of truth of the continuum hypothesis be?

But what's "fascinating and worthy of discussion" about whether an individual likes having sex with men or women. It seems to me that people only see it that way because they load some kind of great significance onto the fact which it doesn't really deserve.

Suppose we were in a pub, and a guy walked in, and I said "oooh, I bet he likes having sex from underneath, you can just tell he's that kind of guy". And you said, "oh no, he's OBVIOUSLY a missionary-position type!". Apart from the absurdity of categorising everyone in such a black and white fashion (also applicable to the false gay/straight dichotomy), do you really think we'd be interested enough, or see enough significance in it, to still be arguing about three hours later? Or a month later, if we made friends with the guy but still couldn't work out which "side of the fence" he was on?

We wouldn't care. Just like we wouldn't care about whether he likes blondes or brunettes, or about most similar aspects of what he likes. Sure, it might be enough of a topic of conversation to pass the time for a while, but then that would be all and we'd move on. Yet whether someone likes men or women is apparently so much more than that. It's this huge determining factor that puts them in one or the other category that people just NEED to know in order to make sense of other people and their friendships with other people. Why? Isn't this dependent on the completely misguided idea that being gay or straight implies all kinds of other things about a person that reliably cluster together, and that we need to know about in order to befriend them?

When really, all it means is that they prefer dicks or fannies, more than 50% of the time.

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