The Pacific Index

Presjak examines students ‘gaydars’

Dascha Marenco

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Gender orientation does not have a set appearance, mannerism or lifestyle. Although some gay people reflect feminine or masculine characteristics, there are those that may appear to conform to a certain stereotype but identify as being straight.

Psychology major Tyler Presjak revolved his senior project around the question of whether both gay and straight people have a “gaydar,” best described as how an individual can sense another person’s sexual orientation.

Presjak selected a range of photos he found on a dating site of people that openly identified themselves as either gay or straight. He then asked student participants to rate the 40 different faces twice based off of their own personal orientation.

During the first round, students were asked to rate on a scale of one to seven how attractive they believed the person in the photograph to be, while the second round asked students how likely they would be to date them.

Presjak found that most of his participants felt uncomfortable rating the photos, saying that swiping left or right felt like “real life tinder!” He also found that without knowing the sexual orientation of the individual, women rated gay men higher in attraction.

He was inspired to conduct this study after taking a face perception class his junior year; saying it was the “most interesting class” he had taken at Pacific University.

Presjak will be flying to Chicago this May to present his project at the 28th annual convention for the Association for Psychological Science.

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Presjak examines students ‘gaydars’