If you think you’ve got a good “gaydar”, that is, the ability to divine someone’s sexual orientation from a casual glance in their direction and nothing more, it may have less to do with some preternatural sixth sense and more to do with the shape of that person’s face, according to a new study.
The new study showed that people who identified as heterosexual tended to have more symmetrical faces than those who self-identified as homosexual. Furthermore, some 40 subjects were presented with photos of 60 people in the study by an evolutionary psychologist. Those asked to look at photographs of subjects considered those with symmetrical faces to be heterosexual more often than not.
“We were surprised to find that symmetry played a larger role than masculine/feminine features in assessing sexual orientation,” says the lead researcher, who notes that “the ability to assess the sexual orientation of others may be an adaptive trait. In terms of mate selection and romance, it’s crucial to recognize” sexual orientation. Furthermore, the study states:
“We found differences in measures of facial symmetry between self-identified heterosexual and homosexual individuals, [...] We also found that the more likely raters perceived males as being attracted to women (i.e. holding more of a heterosexual orientation), the more symmetrical the males’ facial features were.”
Though not statistically relevant, straight women tended to be more symmetrical.
They say beauty is based on symmetry. I’ve also heard women bemoan that “all the hot guys are gay”. Have hope, single ladies. Doesn’t look like that last part is true at all!
Do you have a good “gaydar”?