Accuracy and Awareness in the Perception and Categorization of Male Sexual Orientation

Nicholas O. Rule, Nalini Ambady, Reginald B. Adams, C. Neil Macrae

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

165 Scopus citations


For clear and unambiguous social categories, person perception occurs quite accurately from minimal cues. This article addresses the perception of an ambiguous social category (male sexual orientation) from minimal cues. Across 5 studies, the authors examined individuals' actual and self-assessed accuracy when judging male sexual orientation from faces and facial features. Although participants were able to make accurate judgments from multiple facial features (i.e., hair, the eyes, and the mouth area), their perceived accuracy was calibrated with their actual accuracy only when making judgments based on hairstyle, a controllable feature. These findings provide evidence that suggests different processes for extracting social category information during perception: explicit judgments based on obvious cues (hairstyle) and intuitive judgments based on nonobvious cues (information from the eyes and mouth area). Differences in the accuracy of judgments based on targets' controllability and perceivers' awareness of cues provides insight into the processes underlying intuitive predictions and intuitive judgments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1019-1028
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Personality and Social Psychology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Accuracy and Awareness in the Perception and Categorization of Male Sexual Orientation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this