Waste Study Cites Academic Research Proving The Existence of “Gaydar”

Republican Senator Tom Coburn has issued a report on waste in government — a two hundred page report of excessive spending in the millions and as small as $300. As a former intern for Sen. William Proxmire (D., Wis.) who used to issue his Golden Fleece Award, I always find such reports interesting. However, one small item caught my eye: $30,000 to the University of Washington and Cornell University for a study that proved that “Gaydar” actually exists. Of course, you might ask why the government has an interest in such a study but do not be surprised if the next DoD budget has $30 billion in research and development of a stealth gay project for the evasion of Gaydar.

The National Science Foundation contributed $30,000 to fund a study done by the University of Washington and Cornell University to measure “Gaydar.” They found it to be 60 percent accurate. That is only 10 percent over a random 50-50 bet, it would seem. However, the result were considered significant. According to the Science Daily, the study found “After seeing faces for less than a blink of an eye, college students have accuracy greater than mere chance in judging others’ sexual orientation.” The authors argue that this may assist in establishing the basis for discrimination claims.

The study involved 129 college students who were given 96 photos each of young adult men and women. Notably, the selection of gay women showed a higher percentage of accuracy: 65 percent. Even when the faces were flipped upside down, participants were 61 percent accurate in telling the gay and straight women apart. That means, that we can still peg the sexual preference of “Silly Sally” even after she “Went to Town Walking Backwards Upside Down.”

For men, the accuracy rate was only 57 percent. So there you have it. I am just not sure what it is except that I am pretty sure we could have used the money better in adding more science books in one of our struggling public schools. This is particularly the case when the limitations of the study are considered. Even assuming that this is a valuable exercise for federal funding, the subjects were shown simply still pictures of individuals. These pictures were further made more uniform by removing facial hair and other characteristics. I am not sure how such a display offers a real measure. Of course, the researchers could note that the percentage of accuracy is all the more remarkable given the lack of such distinguishing characteristics or the use of moving images.

Here is one serious concern that I have. The study actually shows slightly over random selection for males and a bit better for women. However, while I see the marginal value for a discrimination lawsuit (though I am skeptical of its admissibility in a given case), it also will likely reinforce the belief of many (including many homophobes) that they can tell someone is gay. Such suspicions are often wrong and based on stereotypes. From secondary school to employment environments, people are often subject to such rumors or harassment. I take from this study that there is actually a high level of inaccuracy in such assumptions.

I do not object to the universities pursuing such research. This is a major social and political segment of our population and the perception of the sexual orientation of individuals has, as the authors note, significance in a variety of different contexts. However, there is a legitimate question of whether public funds are justified.

Source: Townhall

119 thoughts on “Waste Study Cites Academic Research Proving The Existence of “Gaydar””

  1. AnobymouslyPosted,

    Someone said that I was a tad daft.
    I say that you have to be in this day’s world.
    To believe that logic will get you through this age, is like sucking on the teat of a roman male statue, as some are want to do. Good stuff you come with.

  2. Anonymously Posted,

    It is posts like yours that restores my belief in humanity, what you did and what the creators of the vid showed. There is hope for us after all. At least we will leave this behind us—-far better than pyramids.

  3. Enoch:

    You arent going to get anywhere with Gene H. No matter what you write.

    Gene is very good at “speaking” to the jury [so to speak].

    I would hope you stay around, maybe you and I could debate the relative merits of Hobbes and Locke and maybe even Hooker and Pufendorf.

  4. Hopefully worth your while reading. Taking others thoughts and taking a mini-step further is my specialty.

    64 idealist707
    1, October 21, 2012 at 4:05 am

    There are as usual several more themes to be found in the TEC versus Hanauer story. TED does good work, it makes money off its frequent worldwide staged conferences.

    And like all successful channels, it wants to make more and may well accept money from those who wish to guide its program choices, and its info spreading actions.

    The reception which Hanauer got was enthusiastic but mild in comparison to what most top mini-speechs receive.

    This reception shows it was not popular with many in the audience. All in the audience are essentially old or mostly new moneyed folks. People with money like to believe they are “deserving” of success, a point Hanauer made.

    In fact, to summarize him, you are either an insider or you are a luckily placed outsider in time, place or connections—-and maybe, just maybe, a good entrepreneur….. If the latter, come back and tell me how many winners you’ve “made” in the meantime.

    This is one explanation of how TED works, how our society controls info flow, and why/how we are steered.

    It’s a pain to have to search for snippets of real news, to search the Guardian, RT, your favo anti-system channel, etc.

    But MSM is totally, repeat, TOTALLY dependent on the powers that pay them via ads; and powers which collude with other ad buyers. AND the powers that pay are however dependent on whoever is in the majority position—-even if it is a democrat regime.

    They will lobby the official powers, and will need the medias’ support in that task. So they will support with the admin when the admin/congress supports their line, and also quieten the medias voice, suppressing what we need to know otherwise.

    Sorry it takes a while to get my message across. Hope it was worth reading.

    65 idealist707
    1, October 21, 2012 at 4:23 am
    Want to become an internet person? Want to be modern.
    Then specialize in “watching” some question that interests you, at whatever level or subject you like.

    And spread whatever that needs a summary, a newsflash, a viral item, a loss for the moneyed (seldom) or a win for the 99% (seldom).

    Use your time and your skills to acquire more skills and become an internet reporter to JT’s to begin with.

    Be it oil depletion allowances, corporations impeding EPA functions, destroying our education system, our paying via our taxes for exportation of American jobs,
    the Pacific Free Trade Agreement which will allow international corps to control what has been areas of governent sovereignty, the World’s Bank policies and actions, etc, etc.

    Become an extension of Elaine Magliaro. You don’t have to write to do a significant report. Elaine would be glad for the chance to help—-as long as there is media space here at JT’s.

    My suggestion to the Professor is that we can eventually establish a permanent weekend blog (if the interest and report volume motivates it) for “reports from the net”, or some other way to let readers get a wider range of news.

    Not law, you object. It bloody well is.
    They use law to get what they want; be it tax rebates or agrobusiness crop supports.

    Readers? Poténtial reporters? Professor?

    Whaddaya say?

    From the eternal activist, but a tired do-er.

  5. Thanks all for the kind wishes for recovery. Csn report several good signs since the convertion after homecoming. The constant brain hypoxia symptoms have disappeared. Etc.

    Nice to feel the “family” here is supporting me.

    And now for that I will do my morning thing. Two long
    comments which are full of chewies. One on Hanauer and society; and one on you, who wish, becoming “reporters” on internet happenings in your favo subject area.
    They are in the next comment.

    Thanks again, and that was to all, even those who aren’t here now.

    Purposes in life, keep us alive longer and happier. And homilies is one of my hobbies. 😉

  6. Narcissist says what? (I kid! Except when I don’t.)

    Sorry. Others have tried to play the “words mean what I say they mean instead of what they actually mean” game before. It was funny then and its funny now. Words have meaning and terms of art have very specific meanings and usages. Using the language of commercial contracts to discuss the social compact leads to disaster. Some analogies carry, but some don’t. Privity is an inexact match because of the issue of implied consent in social compacts. Social compacts simply don’t operate in a one-for-one way like standard business contracts do. But saying pragmatism isn’t a philosophy? Well that is laugh out loud funny it is so wrong.

    I’ve had my head shrunk plenty of times, Enoch. I spent most of my formative years as a lab rat for the school’s G&T programs. I’ve seen them as an adult too when going through a nasty divorce. I talk to three psychological professionals on a regular basis (some of them almost daily).

    Not one of them has ever mentioned NPD.

    Thanks for caring though! Now that I’ve had my fun screwing with you had the last word? I’m going to bed.

  7. Gene,

    Some 20 years back, Josephine’s yard was taken from her. What was taken from Josephine?

    You can’t answer that question, Gene. There are at least 2 possible answers – Josephine is a boat, and she lost a horizontal wooden member that had depended from one of her masts; or, Josephine is a widow, compelled to sell her yard toward the discharge of debts arising from her husband’s death. You can’t even ask which is the true case without conceding that, “yard,” may correctly refer to more than one notion – and that it’s, “yard,” as I mean it that matters.

    One of these constructions is, in fact, true.

    Josephine’s yard stands fairly well to represent our entire exchange. It doesn’t matter how many meanings there may be for the words, “privity,” “contract,” “compact” or “pragmatism:” whether or not I have used any of these properly does not depend on your choice of definition, but mine. And if there is an accepted definition of any of these words that agrees with how I’ve used them, I’ve used them properly…no matter what you say.

    I seem to have disappointed Bron by posting the Mayo Clinic’s clinical definition of a narcissist. He complains that too many others have sunk to the level of armchair psychologist, and that such amateur psychological diagnoses cheapen the debate. Well, Bron is just going to have to be disappointed, then: one no more needs to be a psychologist or psychiatrist to correctly identify the presentation of the indications of narcissism than one needs to be be a cardiologist to correctly identify the presentation of the symptoms of cardiac arrest. Lives are saved each year by just such lay diagnoses of that latter complaint.

    You may now have the last word, Gene. A narcissist must.

  8. id707,

    Copy that on the well wishes for recovery and the congratulations on listening to your body (and the pacemaker) instead of just taking the words of the doctors unchallenged.

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