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Gaydar, the Me Generation, IQ tests and learning disabilities

Duration:
28 minutes
First broadcast:
Tuesday 13 November 2012

Sexuality and Faces - How does our "Gaydar" work ?

Most of us think we're pretty good at guessing when somebody's gay or straight, but what signals are we using to make our decision, and how often are we right ?
Psychologists at Queen Mary University of London are, for the first time, trying to isolate the individual signals and patterns in somebody's face, in order to work out exactly what motivates us to make a snap decision about sexuality.
Using cutting edge computer imagery, researchers have found a way of transferring male facial expressions onto female faces and vice versa, which means they can work out exactly how our "gaydar" works.
Dr Qazi Rahman, assistant professor in Cognitive Biology, and PHd student, William Jolly, are hoping that their research will challenge stereotypes and prejudice by increasing awareness of how quickly, and often inaccurately, people classify each other.

The Me Generation

Professor Jean Twenge from San Diego State University in California has already coined the phrase, "Generation Me", describing the growing number of people who take it for granted that the self comes first. And she's less than flattering abut the downsides of this fundamental cultural shift.
She talks to Claudia Hammond about her latest research using data mined from the American Freshman Survey. This study captures students' attitudes right back to 1966, and compares how current students rate themselves and their abilities compared to the generation 45 years ago. Unsurprisingly, she finds that the younger generation is more likely to view themselves as above average, even though these attitudes aren't born out by the facts.

IQ Tests and Learning Disabilities

Psychologists are considering whether guidelines on how learning disabilities are assessed should be revised, following concerns that IQ test scores could be depriving people of a formal diagnosis, and therefore access to services.
Dr Simon Whitaker, consultant clinical psychologist and senior visiting research fellow at Huddersfield University, has completed research which raises questions about the reliability and consistency of IQ scores for people with learning difficulties.
Current rules mean people must score less than 70 on an IQ test as well as fulfilling other criteria but Dr Whitaker claims IQ tests aren't reliable enough and that those missing out on a diagnosis are also missing out on access to services.
Dr Theresa Joyce, consultant clinical psychologist and the person leading the British Psychological Society Review on how learning disabilities are diagnosed and assessed, tells Claudia Hammond that a range of scores is used before a diagnosis is reached.

Producer: Fiona Hill.

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