New Study Reveals Inaccuracy of “Gaydar” Based On Voice

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A recent study has found that both gay and straight individuals have similar abilities when it comes to detecting the sexuality of others based solely on their voice.

The study was conducted by Fabio Fasoli, a researcher at the University of Surrey in England, and was published in the Journal of Homosexuality.

In the study, approximately 130 participants were asked to listen to audio recordings of individuals and identify whether they thought the speakers were gay or heterosexual. In a second study, participants were asked to rate the speakers on a Kinsey-like scale, rather than a binary “gay/straight” choice.

The study focused specifically on audio clues to sexuality, rather than visual presentation or mannerisms. Fasoli noted that some gay people may speak more naturally and openly with their gay friends, but may adapt their speech around straight individuals. This could potentially lead to the idea that gay individuals have a better ability to pick up on “queer cues” via speech. However, the study found that both gay and straight individuals were more likely to categorise speakers as straight, and even missed identifying the gay speakers.

Furthermore, both groups were slightly better at identifying gay women than gay men. While gay participants were slightly more likely to identify speakers as gay, their ability to do so accurately was not significantly better than that of straight participants. Fasoli suggests that this may be due to gay individuals being less inhibited in labelling others as gay, while straight individuals may be more cautious due to the stigma still associated with being queer.

The study is important because individuals judged to have a “gay voice” often face discrimination. A recent study in Sydney found that both gay and straight individuals were more likely to judge a straight-sounding man as more competent and professional. This study looked specifically at men in higher-status job roles and found that participants judged traditionally masculine men as more suitable candidates for high-profile positions.

Fasoli concludes that “both LGB and heterosexual individuals appear to be quite inaccurate in their gaydar judgments,” particularly when based solely on voices.



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