Scientists have found that gay people are more aware of details than straight people, which could explain their uncanny ability to recognise one another.
The results were documented in a study, by researchers at Leiden University and the University of Amsterdam, which has been published in the journal Frontiers in Cognition.
According to the research, in a task that requires the processing of complex visual stimuli, male and female gay subjects showed a significantly stronger preference for detail than heterosexuals, indicating that a homosexual orientation is associated with a “more analytic perceptual/attentional style”.
When 42 people were asked questions about pictures of various rectangles and blocks filled with smaller rectangles and blocks, heterosexual people answered more quickly but were less accurate than the gay or lesbian subjects.
The scientists said that this suggests that gays and lesbians are more aware of details and are able to detect subtle cues indicative of the sexual orientation of others, which they said facilitates “identifying like-minded, social peers, and potential friends and sex mates”.
“Homosexuals are apparently better trained in making use of the subtle, but distinctive features that they tend to share, including body-movement, gesturing style, and speech patterns. Their attentional control is faster and more efficiently tuned to pick up the visual cues correlated with sexual orientation,” said the researchers.
They added that this skill may not be limited to sexuality but suggest that this could be shared by members of any distinct social group, including some religious groups.