Functional Perceptions of Relational Success and Infidelity Concerns For Violators of Gendered Naming Conventions In Marriage

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Replicating and extending previous findings, we report two high-powered studies exploring how heterosexual men and women’s decisions to change or keep their surnames following marriage influence perceptions of various marital outcomes as a function of perceivers’ sexist attitudes. Participants in Study 1 evaluated men and women who indicated keeping or changing their surname after marriage, along with an articulated reason for their decision, specifically either to disrupt or reinforce gender norms. Study 2 removed the reasoning of their choice. Independent of participant gender or whether decision reasoning was provided, both studies demonstrated that targets who violated gendered naming norms (e.g., female keepers and male changers) were perceived more negatively than those who adhered to these norms (e.g., male keepers and female changers), particularly for participants higher in hostile sexism. We frame these findings from complementary evolutionary and sociocultural perspectives.

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Journal of Social and Personal Relationships

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