Graduation Date

Summer 2019

Document Type



Master of Arts degree with a major in Psychology, option Academic Research

Committee Chair Name

Amanda Hahn

Committee Chair Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Second Committee Member Name

Amber Gaffney

Second Committee Member Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Third Committee Member Name

Chris Aberson

Third Committee Member Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Subject Categories



“Gaydar” is the colloquial term for identifying someone’s sexual orientation from physical cues. Past literature has shown that people can identify someone’s sexual orientation at above chance levels. Past literature has used a 50/50 split of gay and straight faces and used non-standardized images, which can induce confounds in the results. The present study examined gaydar accuracy in a realistic distribution of straight and gay faces using standardized images and examined facial morphology for differences between gay and straight men. Participants were not found to have above chance accuracy for identifying gay faces. PCA did not identify reliable shape differences between gay and straight men’s faces. Participants past contact with gay men did not affect their gaydar accuracy. When examining perceived sexual orientation of the faces, faces that were rated as more masculine by a separate sample tended to be rated as gay less often than the feminine faces by those in the rating task. The finding that femininity is associated with being perceived as gay is supported by previous literature. The current study calls into question the idea that people have accurate gaydar abilities and the idea that there are reliable facial differences between gay and straight men.

Citation Style



Thesis/Project Location