Dr Gerulf Rieger
Reader, Department of Psychology
My work focuses on sexual orientation: how it is organized, how it develops, and how it affects a persons life. I use a diversity of methodologies, including self-report, behavioural observations, physiological activity and neurological correlates, and employ an array of quantitative skills in order to pursue my research. I use videos and photos from childhood to examine whether masculine and feminine behaviours during early development predict adult sexual orientation. I also investigate the social impact of these signals. I have used large data sets of family members to investigate potential evolutionary reasons for sexual orientation. In another line of research, I study the association of sexual orientation with physiological sexual arousal in order to illuminate sex differences in sexual response. With a different methodology, pupil dilation, I am currently conducting research that will aid in explaining how early sex and sexual orientation differences in sexual attraction emerge. These studies have broad relevance for understanding how people perceive themselves and others, for the consequences of these perceptions, and for the development of differences between and within the sexes.