An interesting study out Monday suggests that sexual attractions direct primary appraisal (unconscious attention). What one pays attention to may relate to one’s sexual orientation. The study, “A gender- and sexual orientation-dependent spatial attentional effect of invisible images” by Jiang, Costello, Fang, Huang & He and published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science masked nude images of men and women in such a way as to make them virtually invisible. They found however, that the attention of the participants were consistent with their sexual attractions. Gay men preferred to look at nude men, straight men at nude women and women were moderately focused on nude men but with a mixed response to pictures of women. I calculated effect sizes for the differences and they are huge. Sexual orientation accounts for nearly half of the variance in attention. Along with the pheromone and serotonin challenge studies, this new work adds to the idea that sexual orientation differences are quite substantial, no matter how they came to be.
I will update this as I am able.