Veddy interesting... could this be proof of gaydar?

The findings of the Karolinska Institute are all over the net and were referenced in this post in this thread among other places. Synopsizing: when exposed to the sex pheremones of males and females, the hypothalamæ*of gay men responded to the pheremones of men rather than of women, while heterosexuals responded to the pheremones of the opposite gender.

The study has been taken a bit further. Gay men respond more strongly to the pheremones of other gay men than they do to the pheremones of straight men. From the abstract of the article in the 7-5-05 issue of The Advocate:

The article is entitled Scents and sexuality by Lisa Neff and is available through a keyword search of the magazine’s homepage but does not have a direct link.

So, could it be that there really is a biological basis for gaydar? Of course, I’m quite attracted to photographs of guys whose scents I could never guess, but this is quite interesting and could provide a hypothesis about how a few times I’ve clocked a fellow traveler even though nothing about him was identifiably gay. Odd.

  • Old joke: The hypothalamus is one of the most important parts of the brain, involved in many kinds of motivation, among other functions. The hypothalamus controls the “Four F’s”: 1. fighting; 2. fleeing; 3. feeding; and 4. mating. –
    Psychology professor in neuropsychology intro course

Go On hypothalamus, Go On pheremones, Hallelujah, Sister Science!

I’m far too tired to fully comprehend a post with that many big words. But does this also mean that I could scientifically figure out the sexual orientation of another person who I thought might be deeply in the closet?

Because every time we argue over whether homosexuals make up 5% or 8% or whatever fraction of the general population, someone always says “We’ll never know for sure, because there’s no way to be sure whether someone’s gay, and just asking them doesn’t always produce accurate results.”

Perhaps, but you would have to sniff their armpits or crotch…so…well, I’ll leave it to you.

This is an interesting idea, but not quite what I meant.

I mean, say you took a random sample of people from a population, told them some BS like that you were testing the effect of age on pheremones, then analyzed their various bodily odors using a fancy machine with lots of blinking lights. Then you would know exactly what percentage of the population is gay, right?

If the same experiment were repeated 50 years from now, and the number had changed drastically, we could conclude that something else which had changed during that time was a factor in causing homosexuality, and then form hypotheses about why homosexuality exists.

Does the report in the OP imply that something like this is theoretically possible, even in the distant future?