Judgments of Sexual Orientation and Masculinity-Femininity Based on Thin Slices of Behavior: A Cross-Cultural Comparison.

Published: August 31, 2011

Abstract

Studies of North Americans suggest that laypeople can judge the sexual orientation of others with greater than chance accuracy based on brief observations of their behavior (i.e., "gaydar" exists). One factor that appears to contribute to these judgments is targets’ degree of masculinity-femininity. However, behaviors related to sexual orientation and to masculinity-femininity might vary across cultures. Thus, cross-cultural work is needed to test whether judgments of sexual orientation are more accurate when targets and raters are from the same culture. American and Czech male targets, 38 homosexual and 41 heterosexual, were videotaped and brief segments of the videotapes were presented to American and Czech raters. Overall, raters’ judgments of targets’ sexual orientation were related to targets’ self-reported sexual orientation. However, the relationship was stronger when targets were judged by raters from their own country. In general, results suggest that there are both cross-cultural similarities and differences in gaydar and in cues related to sexual orientation.

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