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Society has a strong influence on how we think and behave. A result of societal norms is toxic masculinity, which addresses harmful effects that conforming to ideal masculine standards can have on a man. In this study, we analyzed the effects that masculine social norms would have on a male college population. The hypothesis was that heterosexual White males in the sample would conform to societal male norms, a topic covered in RW Connell’s “Masculinities”, and show influence of toxic masculinity. The study is preregistered at Participants (N = 65) were asked to answer the Conformity to Masculine Norms inventory consisting of ninety-three items on a computer in three phases. Before each condition, the research assistant explained that the submitted responses would be sent to either a close family member, close friend, or random stranger. To execute this, participants entered an email address for a family member or friend. For the random condition, participants were instructed to type the word “random” in the box. In reality, no email addresses were recorded or used after the experiment concluded. The design was a one-way repeated measures design. The experiment’s results showed there was not a significant difference between conditions relating to participant conformity to masculine norms. We explored closeness and comfort participants felt sending their responses to family, friends, or strangers. There was a significant difference here: Participants were less comfortable sending responses to family than random people. This study contradicted the idea of toxic masculinity by showing that participants did not conform to societal male standards to appear more masculine even while thinking their responses would be sent to family or friends. Some limitations were participants’ dishonesty in their responses, whether they believed responses were sent, and whether they would continue or abandon the experiment while it was being conducted.


File nameDate UploadedVisibilityFile size
19 Jul 2022
143 kB



  • Event location
    • Cleveland Ballroom

  • Event date
    • 2 November 2019

  • Date submitted

    19 July 2022