Voice and Prejudice: The Social Costs of Auditory Gaydar

Fabio Fasoli, Anne Maass

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


It is a widespread belief that individuals are able to detect other people’s sexual orientation from vocal information alone (auditory gaydar). We argue that auditory gaydar, although often inaccurate, leads to stereotyping, avoidance, and discrimination of gay/lesbian-sounding speakers. Much like “social vision,” these voice-based inferences are driven by two distinct processes—a direct feature-based path and an indirect path mediated by categorization. As a way to either underline their social identity or prevent stigmatization, gay/lesbian speakers tend to modulate their voice depending on the interlocutor and on their conversational goals. Together, our findings suggest that vocal information plays a subtle but powerful role in intra- and intergroup communication.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)98-110
Number of pages13
JournalAtlantic Journal of Communication
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 15 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication


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