Any hopes of fine-tuning our Gaydar to make for less awkward moments at the gym have been dashed by a new study out of the University of Washington.
The study, lead by psychology graduate student Joshua Tabak, finds that it's easier to pick up on subconscious queues and determine a woman's sexuality than it is to place an unknown man on the Kinsey Scale.
According to ScienceCodex:
In the study, 129 college students viewed 96 photos each of young adult men and women who identified themselves as gay or straight.
Concerned that facial hair, glasses, makeup and piercings might provide easy clues, the researchers only used photos of people who did not have such embellishments. They cropped the grayscale photos so that only faces, not hairstyles, were visible.
For women's faces, participants were 65 percent accurate in telling the difference between gay and straight faces when the photos flashed on a computer screen. Even when the faces were flipped upside down, participants were 61 percent accurate in telling the two apart.
Conversely, respondents were able to correctly guess a man's sexual orientation 57 percent of the time (53 percent of the time when the photographs were upside down).
"Gaydar may be similar to how we don't have to think about whether someone is a man or a woman or black or white," said Tabak. "This information confronts us in everyday life."