Marriage makes men seem less competent, study shows

Single men are perceived to be significantly more competent than their married counterparts, according to new research by PhD student Mariana Pinho.

The revealing study was conducted to shed light on the gender belief system and its implications for the social judgement of individuals, based on their marital status and sexual orientation. The results revealed that women are much more likely than men to show positive emotions towards an unknown individual. In whatever manner he was described, female participants were more likely to perceive the subject as friendly, be curious about his character, interested in his background and express fewer negative emotions towards him.When the subject was described as single, regardless of his sexual orientation, participants’ replies revealed that marriage made him seem less competent.

Research in this area is important, because it is vital to understand the impact our internal preconceptions can have on the way we approach other members of society.

Mariana presented her findings at the British Psychological Society (BPS) Annual Conference on Thursday 8th May 2014.

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