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When it comes to marriage proposals, tradition rules

Narrator: This is Science Today. These days, holding traditional views about gender roles whether in the workplace or at home is often not popular or expected. Yet, when it comes to marriage proposals, tradition seems to rule. Graduate student Rachael Robnett of University of California, Santa Cruz, was surprised by her survey-based study of over 250 heterosexual undergrads.

Robnett: I mean, we didn't have anybody in our sample who said that they wanted to be the man in the relationship or they wanted the woman in the relationship to propose. And so, that was surprising to not have anybody express that type of a preference. In addition, when we asked participants to explain why they held the preferences that they do, often times what they would say is that they want to adhere to gender roles and so the woman would say, "No, I don't want to propose because that's the man's job and I'm the woman. Why would I want to do that?" And this is one of few domains that I've come across where people are very overt in saying they want to do something because they want to adhere to gender roles.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.