Ryan Gosling Internet meme

Ryan Gosling's image is used for the popular Internet meme.

Hey girl, Ryan Gosling is changing views on feminism.

Not intentionally. In fact, the famed Canadian actor may not even realize the role he`s playing. It`s the Ryan Gosling meme that`s doing all the work. 

University of Saskatchewan PhD students Sarah Sangster and Linzi Williamson have researched the impact the images of the Canadian actor that feature a feminist quote have on people.  

"We definitely thought that they were fun, you know, they've been circulated around our research lab, but we really wondered as well as being cute and funny, are they a real persuasive device?" said Sangster, who is in the applied social psychology program in the College of Arts and Science.

So they showed a group of people the Gosling meme and found that they had a significantly higher endorsement of feminist beliefs than the controlled group. The study also concluded that it was more pronounced in men.

"Some of our hypothesis were related to, you know, did [men] just think Ryan is a really cool dude, or somebody to admire or look up to," Williamson said. "We don't know for certain, but that was just one of our main guesses."

What both took away from the study was that looking at a lighter subject matter has merit.

"It just kind of shows that, at least for us, it shows that research doesn't always have to be really really heavy," Williamson said.

"I think there is room for both types of research."