Dr Gerulf Rieger
Reader, Department of Psychology
General Research Interests: My work has focused on sexual orientation: how it develops, how it is organized, and how it affects a person’s life. I use a wide diversity of methodologies, ranging from behavioral observation, to physiological sexual activity, to twin designs, and employ an array of quantitative skills, in order to pursue my research. I have used childhood videos and photographs to examine how behavioral signals of early masculinity-femininity predict adult sexual orientation. I have studied identical twins with discordant sexual orientations to quantify the nongenetic impact on their development. I study genital sexual arousal to gather objective information on sex differences that pure self-report studies could never reveal: in women bisexual arousal is common across sexual orientations, whereas in men bisexual arousal is possible, but rare. I validated a non-intrusive measure of sexual arousal, pupil dilation, which will allow studying diverse age groups or different cultures, and for whom genital arousal measures are unsuitable. My studies have broad relevance for understanding the development of differences between and within the sexes, and for how people perceive themselves and others.