Date of Award

January 2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Alan King


The validity of gaydar as a psychological construct has been evaluated in the LGBQIA2S+ literature with general agreement that an unclearly specified subset of the population has a better than chance probability of detecting the sexuality of others. The real-world implications of such a skill could be far-reaching. Gaydar could assist people identify and attract potential mates or life partners. It could also provide protection against the risks posed by making advances on an individual (e.g., a heterosexual man) who could react violently. The current study examined factors that impacted cis-male gaydar hit rates for queer and heterosexual targets in a snap judgment paradigm where there was limited target information and exposure time. Utilizing cis-male actors, participants were randomly assigned to one of three modalities: a video with the audio, only the audio of the corresponding video, or only the video without any audio. Actors (i.e., targets) consisted of five self-identified straight and five self-identified queer men. Following the media, participants made determinations as to whether the model was a member of the heterosexual or queer community (i.e., gay, bisexual, pansexual). Hit rates and confidence ratings were used to quantify gaydar accuracy. The results indicated that gaydar accuracy was low but relatively higher among the queer (27.4%) versus the straight (14.5%) participants. Over 60% of the straight men were substantially inaccurate in their predictions. The media modality of the depictions did not impact gaydar accuracy in either subset. Gaydar was moderately higher among homophobic straight men who expressed confidence in their predictions. Queer community involvement was inversely related to homophobia. The prevalence of gaydar snap judgment accuracy in the straight male population appeared in this study to be quite low. The implications of these findings were discussed within the context of teaching society the limits of sexuality inferences especially when they occur as a matter of snap judgments.