According to a new study, gaydar works faster than we thought.
They showed men and women photos of 90 faces belonging to homosexual men and heterosexual men for intervals ranging from 33 milliseconds to 10 seconds. When given 100 milliseconds or more to view a face, participants correctly identified sexual orientation nearly 70% of the time. Volunteers were less accurate at shorter durations, and their accuracy did not get better at durations beyond 100 milliseconds, the team reports in an upcoming issue of the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology. "What is most interesting is that increased exposure time did not improve the results," says Ambady.Just 100 milliseconds to clock a 'mo. The story doesn't mention the orientation of the testers, but I'd bet you and I could cut that down to 50 milliseconds, easy.
Romantic attraction likely works just as fast, notes psychologist Paul Eastwick of Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. "If people make accurate judgments about sexually relevant aspects of a person this quickly," he says, "you have to stop and wonder how we size up one another's romantic potential in a matter of milliseconds."