Education

University Of Wisconsin Studies ‘Gaydar’

Youtube Screenshot/Nicholas Ritz/ The University of Wisconsin-Madison

David Hookstead Smoke Room Editor-in-Chief
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The University of Wisconsin has finally answered the question of whether or not “gaydar” is real, according to a press release on September 3. Gaydar is the alleged ability to determine if a person is gay or not by simply being around them.

According to the University of Wisconsin’s study, which was published in the Journal of Sex Research, gaydar is not real. William Cox, an assistant scientist in the Department of Psychology and the lead author, chose to do this study in order to dispel the stereotype that some people might have gaydar and thus can determine who is gay and who isn’t.

In the press release Cox said, “Most people think of stereotyping as inappropriate. But if you’re not calling it ‘stereotyping,’ if you’re giving it this other label and camouflaging it as ‘gaydar,’ it appears to be more socially and personally acceptable.”

Cox was also critical of a 2008 study that suggested that gaydar was a real thing. He argued that the study was flawed because the pictures of homosexual individuals were presented in a much higher quality than the pictures of heterosexuals, thus manipulating the outcome. (RELATED: Taxpayer-Funded Professor: ‘Terrifying’ ‘Similarities’ Between Scott Walker And HITLER)

The limited amount of gay people in society might also have affect people’s judgement, according to Cox.

Cox explained by saying, “Imagine that 100 percent of gay men wear pink shirts all the time, and 10 percent of straight men wear pink shirts all the time. Even though all gay men wear pink shirts, there would still be twice as many straight men wearing pink shirts. So, even in this extreme example, people who rely on pink shirts as a stereotypic cue to assume men are gay will be wrong two-thirds of the time.”

Cox’s study revealed that the test subjects who were led to believe that gaydar was real were much more likely to believe it was a real thing from social cues such as a man might like shopping.

Cox is hoping that the study disproves stereotypes and said, “Recognizing when a stereotype is activated can help you overcome it and make sure that it doesn’t influence your actions.”

A University of Wisconsin official told The Daily Caller that no direct tax payer funding was used for the study, but tax payer funded material such as University of Wisconsin office space and computers were used in the study. (RELATED: Walker Wins: New Budget Will Repeal University Tenure)

In a statement to TheDC, Cox confirmed that no tax money was directly used in the study. He was also critical of the media’s coverage of his work saying, “The point of the studies were never to ‘determine if gaydar was a real thing;’ that is just how the media has sensationalized the work. My research more generally focuses on how stereotypes are perpetuated, and one way gay stereotypes are perpetuated is by relabeling the stereotyping process as ‘gaydar.’ These stereotypes promote prejudice and negatively affect people’s lives, as we discuss in the paper.”

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