David M. “Dave” Sylva (born July 1980) is an American psychologist whose graduate work involved questionable studies about sex and gender minorities.


Sylva did his graduate work with controversial Northwestern University psychologist J. Michael Bailey. Bailey is well known for his work in the field of anti-LGBT eugenics. Bailey’s other students at the time included Gerulf RiegerChris Skidmore, and Elizabeth Latty.

Bailey claimed for years that male bisexuality did not exist. After taking money from the American Institute of Bisexuality, Sylva and his friends Jeremy Jabbour and Luke Holmes magically discovered bisexual orientation among men.

Sylva’s 2012 dissertation was titled “Neural Correlates of Sexual Arousal in Bisexual, Homosexual, and Heterosexual Men.”

Sylva then began working for Kaiser Permanente in the Los Angeles area.


  • NPI Number: #1790106961
  • Medical license: PSY26122 (CA)

Sylva coauthors


Sylva D, Rieger G, Linsenmeier JAW, Bailey JM (2010). Concealment of sexual orientation. Archives of Sexual Behavior. 39: 141-52 DOI: 10.1007/s10508-008-9466-2

Rosenthal AM, Sylva D, Safron A, Bailey JM (2011) Sexual arousal patterns of bisexual men revisited. Biological Psychology. 88: 112-5 DOI: 10.1016/j.biopsycho.2011.06.015

Rosenthal AM, Sylva D, Safron A, Bailey JM (2012). The male bisexuality debate revisited: some bisexual men have bisexual arousal patterns. Archives of Sexual Behavior. 41: 135-47 DOI:10.1007/s10508-011-9881-7

Sylva D, Safron A, Rosenthal AM, et al. (2013) Neural correlates of sexual arousal in heterosexual and homosexual women and men. Hormones and Behavior. 64: 673-84 DOI: 10.1016/j.yhbeh.2013.08.003

Safron A, Sylva D, Klimaj V, Rosenthal AM, Li M, Walter M, Bailey JM (2017). Neural Correlates of Sexual Orientation in Heterosexual, Bisexual, and Homosexual Men. Scientific Reports. 7: 41314 DOI:10.1038/s41598-017-18372-0

Safron A, Sylva D, Klimaj V, Rosenthal AM, Li M, Walter M, Bailey JM (2018). Neural Correlates of Sexual Orientation in Heterosexual, Bisexual, and Homosexual Women. Scientific Reports. 8: 673 doi: 10.1038/srep41314

Safron A, Sylva D, Klimaj V, Rosenthal AM (2019). Neural Responses to Sexual Stimuli in Heterosexual and Homosexual Men and Women: Men’s Responses Are More Specific. Archives of Sexual Behavior 49, pages433–445 (2020) https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-019-01521-z

Jabbour J, Holmes L, Sylva D, Bailey JM (2020). Robust evidence for bisexual orientation among men. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 117 (31) 18369-18377 https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2003631117

Klimaj, Victoria & Safron, Adam & Sylva, David & Rosenthal, A. & li, Meng & Walter, Martin & Bailey, J.. (2021). Sexual Orientation and Neuroanatomy: An MRI Study of Gray Matter Differences in Homosexual, Bisexual, and Heterosexual Women and Men. 10.31234/osf.io/zuyhp.

Klimaj V, Safron A, Sylva D, Rosenthal AM, Li M, Walter M, and Bailey JM (2021). “Comparing the Structure and Function of Social-cognition-related Brain Areas in Bisexual, Heterosexual, and Homosexual Women and Men.” PsyArXiv. August 16. https://doi.org/10.31234/osf.io/62wvd


Northwestern University (northwestern.edu)

  • Psychology Department graduate students
  • http://www.wcas.northwestern.edu/psych/people/graduate_students/ [archive]
  • Though he had a page dedicated on Bailey’s website, it lists no research interests.

Elizabeth Cohen (June 30, 2007). Step by step, researcher looks for sexuality clues. CNN http://www.cnn.com/2007/HEALTH/06/26/sexuality/index.html

Can you tell whether someone’s gay just by the way he or she walks?

nDavid Sylva wants to know. He straps bright red lights to people’s bodies and videotapes them walking in the dark. He then shows the videotape to observers (who won’t be biased by clothing or hairstyles since the walker is in the dark) and asks them to guess the walker’s sexual orientation.

Sylva’s observations focus on the physical characteristics of the individual’s stride, such as the closeness of the knees.

Why does Sylva, a graduate student at Northwestern University, care so much about how gay people walk? Because he’s one of a growing number of researchers who think sexual orientation may be as basic as how you walk, something inborn that you don’t choose.

David Sylva, a graduate student at Northwestern University, has been studying individual walking styles to see if homosexuals’ strides are different from those of their straight counterparts. He hopes the data will give support to the nature side of the sexual orientation argument.

Connie Lee (July 6, 2007). Research points to inherit trait for homosexuality; some dispute. The Purdue Exponent
http://www.purdueexponent.org/index.php?module=article&story_id=6347 [archive]