Women have better Gay-Radar when Ovulating. The study

Psychologists find link between ovulation and women’s ability to identify heterosexual men. A new study by psychologists at the University of Toronto and Tufts University shows that a woman can more accurately identify a man’s sexual orientation when looking at his face, when she is closest to her time of peak ovulation. Further, having romantic thoughts or a mating goal heightens a woman’s ability to discriminate between straight and gay men. “This effect is not apparent when a woman is judging another female’s orientation,” says Professor Nicholas Rule of the Department of Psychology at the University of Toronto, lead author of a new study published in Psychological Science. “This suggests that

fertility influences a heterosexual woman’s attention to potential mates rather than merely increasing sensitivity to sexual orientation or nonverbal cues more generally.” In the first of three experiments, 40 undergraduate women judged the sexual orientation of 80 images of men’s faces. Forty of the photos were of self-identified gay males while the other 40 were of straight men. The men did not differ in emotional expression or attractiveness, and the female participants were encouraged to use their intuition in making judgments. In addition, the women reported the length of time since their last menstrual cycle and its average duration; none were using any systemic contraceptive medications.The researchers correlated the participants’ accuracy in judging sexual orientation with the point at which the women were in their fertility cycle, and found that the nearer women were to peak ovulation, the more accurate they were at judging each male’s sexual orientation.The second experiment featured 34 women who viewed a similar series of female faces, 100 of whom were self-identified lesbians while another 100 were straight. The researchers found no relationship between fertility and accurate judgments of the women’s sexual orientation.”Together, these findings suggest that women’s accuracy

may vary across the fertility cycle because men’s sexual orientation is relevant to conception and thus of greater importance as women are nearer to ovulation.” The researchers tested this hypothesis further with a third experiment in which female participants were primed with a mating goal in order to manipulate reproductive relevance. Half of the 40 participants were asked to read a story which described a romantic encounter while the other half did not, before performing the same tasks in the two previous studies. Rule and his colleagues found that the women primed with a mating goal were significantly more accurate in their judgments than the women who were not, implying that inducing romantic or mating-related thoughts improved accuracy in identifying men’s sexual orientations. –  Dr. Nicholas Rule.   Research; How’s your gaydar? Is your face your fate? What can you tell about someone just by looking at them? These are just some of the questions that Prof. Rule attempts to answer. Nicholas Rule is Assistant Professor of psychology at the University of Toronto and Canada Research Chair in Social Perception and Cognition. Broadly speaking, his work examines questions regarding person perception, focusing largely on information about individuals that can be accurately extracted from their faces. To date, his research has consisted of two key themes: 1. Predicting outcomes from nonverbal and facial cues- In a

series of studies, Prof. Rule has found that individuals’ life outcomes can in some cases be predicted from cues in their faces. For example, judgments of personality traits and leadership ability from the faces of CEOs significantly correlate with their success in leading their companies. Prof. Rule has studied this both at macro-levels, such as differences across cultures, and micro-levels, such as the brain basis for these judgments and perceptions.2. The study of perceptually ambiguous groups- Most of what is currently known about group processes in social psychology has focused on groups with perceptually obvious markers. Yet there are a great many groups for whom the distinctions are not obvious, but ambiguous. One example is sexual orientation: Although people can tell better than chance guessing who is gay and straight, there is a lot of error in these judgments that provides opportunities for understanding how the mind engages in social categorization, more generally. Thus, Prof. Rule has studied many questions surrounding the phenomenon of detecting whether people belong to various perceptually ambiguous groups (e.g., gay/lesbian and straight; Mormon and non-Mormon) based on minimal cues. For more information and representative publications, please see Prof. Rule’s website. News from: University of Toronto

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