The survey included 249 participants, who averaged 35 years in age. The individuals were asked to analyze 36 photographs, half containing people who use cannabis regularly and the other half containing photos of people with no prior history of cannabis use. The participants then had to decide by a person’s physical features whether they use cannabis or not.
The purpose of the study was to see if people have a ‘jay-dar’—a term combining the slang for joint (jay) with the word ‘radar.’ The conclusion of the study found that cannabis users are identified primarily by their physical features, which tended to line up with the negative characteristics often associated with the stoner stereotype.
For example, the highest ranking attributes that alerted people’s jay-dars were the photographed subject’s eyes (49.2%) and their age (28.7%). Additional factors included a person’s general appearance (27.9%), their facial expression (24.8%), and their smile (20.5%).
Less common characteristics individuals used to identify cannabis users were not based on looks, but rather a sort of hunch about who the person is. Of the individuals who identified cannabis users, not based on looks, 7.8% said they used their intuition about the person, 6.6% said they analyzed the subject’s demeanor, and 6.6% said they made assumptions about the person’s personality.
An earlier version of the study, conducted in 2016, provides some insight into the risks of the jay-dar phenomenon. Even though it may sound self-evident, the stigma often associated with cannabis can have a negative impact on the lives of people who appear to be cannabis users. This can affect people in both their social and professional spheres.
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