Konrad Zacharias Lorenz was an Austrian zoologist and ornithologist. He shared the 1973 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Nikolaas Tinbergen and Karl von Frisch, he is regarded as one of the founders of modern ethology, the study of animal behaviour. He developed an approach that began with an earlier generation, including his teacher Oskar Heinroth. Lorenz studied instinctive behavior in animals in greylag geese and jackdaws. Working with geese, he investigated the principle of imprinting, the process by which some nidifugous birds bond instinctively with the first moving object that they see within the first hours of hatching. Although Lorenz did not discover the topic, he became known for his descriptions of imprinting as an instinctive bond. In 1936 he met Tinbergen, the two collaborated in developing ethology as a separate sub-discipline of biology. A Review of General Psychology survey, published in 2002, ranked Lorenz as the 65th most cited scholar of the 20th century in the technical psychology journals, introductory psychology textbooks, survey responses.
Lorenz's work was interrupted by the onset of World War-II and in 1941 he was recruited into the German army as a medic. In 1944 he was sent to the Eastern Front where he was captured and spent four years as a Soviet prisoner of war. After the war he regretted his membership in the Nazi party. Lorenz wrote numerous books, some of which, such as King Solomon's Ring, On Aggression, Man Meets Dog, became popular reading, his last work "Here I Am – Where Are You?" is a summary of his life's work and focuses on his famous studies of greylag geese. In his autobiographical essay, published in 1973 in Les Prix Nobel, Lorenz credits his career to his parents, who "were supremely tolerant of my inordinate love for animals", to his childhood encounter with Selma Lagerlöf's The Wonderful Adventures of Nils, which filled him with a great enthusiasm about wild geese. " At the request of his father, Adolf Lorenz, he began a premedical curriculum in 1922 at Columbia University, but he returned to Vienna in 1923 to continue his studies at the University of Vienna.
He graduated as Doctor of Medicine in 1928 and became an assistant professor at the Institute of Anatomy until 1935. He received his second doctorate. While still a student, Lorenz began developing what would become a large menagerie, ranging from domestic to exotic animals. In his popular book King Solomon's Ring, Lorenz recounts that while studying at the University of Vienna he kept a variety of animals at his parents' apartment, ranging from fish to a capuchin monkey named Gloria. In 1936, at an international scientific symposium on instinct, Lorenz met his great friend and colleague Nikolaas Tinbergen. Together they studied geese—wild and hybrid. One result of these studies was that Lorenz "realized that an overpowering increase in the drives of feeding as well as of copulation and a waning of more differentiated social instincts is characteristic of many domestic animals". Lorenz began to suspect and fear "that analogous processes of deterioration may be at work with civilized humanity."
This observation of bird hybrids caused Lorenz to believe that domestication resulting from urbanisation in humans might cause dysgenic effects, to argue in two papers that the Nazi eugenics policies against this were therefore scientifically justified. In 1940 he became a professor of psychology at the University of Königsberg, he was drafted into the Wehrmacht in 1941. He sought to be a motorcycle mechanic, but instead he was assigned as a military psychologist, conducting racial studies on humans in occupied Poznań under Rudolf Hippius; the objective was to study the biological characteristics of "German-Polish half-breeds" to determine whether they'benefitted' from the same work ethics as'pure' Germans. The degree to which Lorenz participated in the project is unknown, but the project director Hippius referred a couple of times to Lorenz as an "examining psychologist". Lorenz described that he once saw transports of concentration camp inmates near Poznań, which made him "fully realize the complete inhumanity of the Nazis".
He was sent to the Russian front in 1944 where he became a prisoner of war in the Soviet Union from 1944 to 1948. In captivity he continued to work as a medic and "got quite friendly with some Russians doctors"; when he was repatriated, he was allowed to keep the manuscript of a book he had been writing, his pet starling. He arrived back in Altenberg both "with manuscript and bird intact." The manuscript became his 1973 book Behind the Mirror. The Max Planck Society established the Lorenz Institute for Behavioral Physiology in Buldern, Germany, in 1950. In his memoirs Lorenz described the chronology of his war years differently from what historians have been able to document after his death, he himself claimed that he was captured in 1942, where in reality he was only sent to the front and captured in 1944, leaving out his involvement with the Poznań project. In 1958, Lorenz transferred to the Max Planck Institute for Behavioral Physiology in Seewiesen, he shared the 1973 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine "for discoveries in individual and social behavior patterns" with two other important early ethologists, Nikolaas Tinbergen and Karl von Frisch.
In 1969, he became the first recipient of the Prix mondial Cino Del Duca. He was a student of renowned biologist Sir Julian Huxley. Famed psychoanalyst Ralph Greenson and Sir Peter
In sociology, a peer group is both a social group and a primary group of people who have similar interests, background, or social status. The members of this group are to influence the person's beliefs and behaviour. Peer groups contain distinct patterns of behavior. In a high school setting for example,18 year olds are a peer group with 14 year olds because they share similar and paralleled life experiences in school together. In contrast, teachers do not share students as a peer group because teachers and students fall into two different roles and experiences. During adolescence, peer groups tend to face dramatic changes. Adolescents tend to have less adult supervision. Adolescents’ communication shifts during this time as well, they prefer to talk about school and their careers with their parents, they enjoy talking about sex and other interpersonal relationships with their peers. Children look to join peer groups who accept them if the group is involved in negative activities. Children are less to accept those who are different from them.
Cliques are small groups defined by common interests or by friendship. Cliques have 2-12 members and tend to be formed by age, gender and social class. Clique members are the same in terms of academics and risk behaviors. Cliques can serve as an agent of socialization and social control. Being part of a clique can be advantageous since it may provide a sense of autonomy, a secure social environment, overall well-being. Crowds are larger. Crowds serve as peer groups, they increase in importance during early adolescence, decrease by late adolescents; the level of involvement in adult institutions and peer culture describes crowds. At an early age, the peer group becomes an important part of socialization as supported by a 2002 study titled "Adolescents' Peer Groups and Social Identity" published in the journal Social Development. Unlike other agents of socialization, such as family and school, peer groups allow children to escape the direct supervision of adults. Among peers, children learn to form relationships on their own, have the chance to discuss interests that adults may not share with children, such as clothing and popular music, or may not permit, such as drugs and sex.
Developmental psychologists, Lev Vygotsky, Jean Piaget, Erik Erikson, Harry Stack Sullivan, social learning theorists have all argued that peer relationships provide a unique context for cognitive and emotional development. Modern research echoes these sentiments, showing that social and emotional gains are indeed provided by peer interaction. Vygotsky's Sociocultural Theory focuses on the importance of a child's culture and notes that a child is continually acting in social interactions with others, he focuses on language development and identifies the zone of proximal development. The Zone of Proximal development is defined as the gap between what a student can do alone and what the student can achieve through teacher assistance; the values and attitudes of the peer group are essential elements in learning. Those who surround themselves with academically focused peers will be more to internalize this type of behavior. Piaget's theory of cognitive development identifies four stages of cognitive development.
He believes that children construct their understanding of the world based on their own experiences. In addition Piaget identified with aspects of development, occurring from middle childhood onwards, for which peer groups are essential, he suggested. Egocentric speech is referring to the speech, not adapted to what the listener just said. Erikson's stages of psychosocial development include eight stages ranging from birth to old age, he has emphasized the idea that the society, not just the family, influences one's ego and identity through developmental stages. Erikson went on to describe how peer pressure is a key event during the adolescences stage of psychosocial development. In his Latency stage, which includes children from 6–12 years old and this is when the adolescents begin to develop relationships among their peers. Harry Stack Sullivan has developed the Theory of Interpersonal Relations. Sullivan described friendships as providing the following functions: offering consensual validation, bolstering feelings of self-worth, providing affection and a context for intimate disclosure, promoting interpersonal sensitivity, setting the foundation for romantic and parental relationships.
Sullivan believed these functions developed during childhood and that true friendships were formed around the age of 9 or 10. Social learning theorists such as John B. Watson, B. F. Skinner, Albert Bandura, all argue for the influences of the social group in learning and development. Behaviourism, Operant Learning Theory, Cognitive Social Learning Theory all consider the role the social world plays on development. In The Nurture Assumption and No Two Alike, psychologist Judith Rich Harris suggests that an individual's peer group influences their intellectual and personal development. Several longitudinal studies support the conjecture that peer groups affect scholastic achievement, but few studies have examined the effect peer groups have on tests of cognitive ability. However, there is some evidence. Peer groups provide perspective outside of the individual's viewpoints. Members inside peer groups learn to develop relationships with others in the social system. Peers group members, become important social referents for teachi
Harassment covers a wide range of behaviors of an offensive nature. It is understood as behavior that demeans, humiliates or embarrasses a person, it is characteristically identified by its unlikelihood in terms of social and moral reasonableness. In the legal sense, these are behaviors that appear to be upsetting or threatening, they evolve from discriminatory grounds, have an effect of nullifying or impairing a person from benefiting their rights. When these behaviors become repetitive they are defined as bullying. Sexual harassment refers to persistent and unwanted sexual advances after refusing in the workplace, where the consequences are very disadvantageous to the victim if there is a power imbalance between the perpetrator; the word is based in English since circa 1618 as a loan word from the French, in turn attested in 1572 meaning torment, bother, trouble and as of 1609 was referred to the condition of being exhausted, overtired. Of the French verb harasser itself there are the first records in a Latin to French translation of 1527 of Thucydides’ History of the war, between the Peloponnesians and the Athenians both in the countries of the Greeks and the Romans and the neighbouring places wherein the translator writes harasser meaning harceler.
A hypothesis about the origin of the verb harasser is harace/harache, used in the 14th century in expressions like courre à la harache and prendre aucun par la harache. The Französisches Etymologisches Wörterbuch, a German etymological dictionary of the French language compares phonetically and syntactically both harace and harache to the interjection hare and haro by alleging a pejorative and augmentative form; the latter was an exclamation indicating distress and emergency but is reported in 1529 in the expression crier haro sur. hare's use is reported in 1204 as an order to finish public activities as fairs or markets and still as command but referred to dogs. This dictionary suggests a relation of haro/hare with the old lower franconian *hara. While the pejorative of an exclamation and in particular of such an exclamation is theoretically possible for the first word and maybe phonetically plausible for harache, a semantic and phonetic similarity of the verb harasser as used in the first popular attestation with the word haras should be kept in mind: Already in 1160 haras indicated a group of horses constrained together for the purpose of reproduction and in 1280 it indicated the enclosure facility itself, where those horses are constrained.
The origin itself of harass is thought to be the old Scandinavian hârr with the Romanic suffix –as, which meant grey or dimmish horsehair. Controversial is the etymological relation to the Arabic word for horse whose roman transliteration is faras. Although the French origin of the word'harassment' is beyond all question in the Oxford English Dictionary and those dictionaries basing on it, a supposed Old French verb harer should be the origin of the French verb harasser, despite the fact that this verb cannot be found in French etymologic dictionaries like that of the Centre national de resources textuelles et lexicales or the Trésor de la langue française informatisé. In those dictionaries the relationship with harassment were an interpretation of the interjection hare as to urge a dog to attack', despite the fact that it should indicate a shout to come and not to go; the American Heritage Dictionary prudently indicates this origin only as possible. Electronic harassment is the unproven belief of the use of electromagnetic waves to harass a victim.
Psychologists have identified evidence of auditory hallucinations, delusional disorders, or other mental disorders in online communities supporting those who claim to be targeted. Landlord harassment is the willing creation, by a landlord or his agents, of conditions that are uncomfortable for one or more tenants in order to induce willing abandonment of a rental contract; such a strategy is sought because it avoids costly legal expenses and potential problems with eviction. This kind of activity is common in regions where rent control laws exist, but which do not allow the direct extension of rent-controlled prices from one tenancy to the subsequent tenancy, thus allowing landlords to set higher prices. Landlord harassment carries specific legal penalties in some jurisdictions, but enforcement can be difficult or impossible in many circumstances. However, when a crime is committed in the process and motives similar to those described above are subsequently proven in court those motives may be considered an aggravating factor in many jurisdictions, thus subjecting the offender to a stiffer sentence.
Harassment directs multiple repeating obscenities and derogatory comments at specific individuals focusing, for example, on the targets' race, gender, disability, or sexual orientation. This occurs in chat rooms, through newsgroups, and
Darwinism is a theory of biological evolution developed by the English naturalist Charles Darwin and others, stating that all species of organisms arise and develop through the natural selection of small, inherited variations that increase the individual's ability to compete and reproduce. Called Darwinian theory, it included the broad concepts of transmutation of species or of evolution which gained general scientific acceptance after Darwin published On the Origin of Species in 1859, including concepts which predated Darwin's theories, it subsequently referred to the specific concepts of natural selection, the Weismann barrier, or the central dogma of molecular biology. Though the term refers to biological evolution, creationists have appropriated it to refer to the origin of life, it has been applied to concepts of cosmic evolution, both of which have no connection to Darwin's work, it is therefore considered the belief and acceptance of Darwin's and of his predecessors' work—in place of other theories, including divine design and extraterrestrial origins.
English biologist Thomas Henry Huxley coined the term Darwinism in April 1860. It was used to describe evolutionary concepts in general, including earlier concepts published by English philosopher Herbert Spencer. Many of the proponents of Darwinism at that time, including Huxley, had reservations about the significance of natural selection, Darwin himself gave credence to what was called Lamarckism; the strict neo-Darwinism of German evolutionary biologist August Weismann gained few supporters in the late 19th century. During the approximate period of the 1880s to about 1920, sometimes called "the eclipse of Darwinism", scientists proposed various alternative evolutionary mechanisms which proved untenable; the development of the modern synthesis in the early 20th century, incorporating natural selection with population genetics and Mendelian genetics, revived Darwinism in an updated form. While the term Darwinism has remained in use amongst the public when referring to modern evolutionary theory, it has been argued by science writers such as Olivia Judson and Eugenie Scott that it is an inappropriate term for modern evolutionary theory.
For example, Darwin was unfamiliar with the work of the Moravian scientist and Augustinian friar Gregor Mendel, as a result had only a vague and inaccurate understanding of heredity. He had no inkling of theoretical developments and, like Mendel himself, knew nothing of genetic drift, for example. In the United States, creationists use the term "Darwinism" as a pejorative term in reference to beliefs such as scientific materialism, but in the United Kingdom the term has no negative connotations, being used as a shorthand for the body of theory dealing with evolution, in particular, with evolution by natural selection. While the term Darwinism had been used to refer to the work of Erasmus Darwin in the late 18th century, the term as understood today was introduced when Charles Darwin's 1859 book On the Origin of Species was reviewed by Thomas Henry Huxley in the April 1860 issue of the Westminster Review. Having hailed the book as "a veritable Whitworth gun in the armoury of liberalism" promoting scientific naturalism over theology, praising the usefulness of Darwin's ideas while expressing professional reservations about Darwin's gradualism and doubting if it could be proved that natural selection could form new species, Huxley compared Darwin's achievement to that of Nicolaus Copernicus in explaining planetary motion: What if the orbit of Darwinism should be a little too circular?
What if species should offer residual phenomena and there, not explicable by natural selection? Twenty years hence naturalists may be in the case, and viewed as a whole, we do not believe that, since the publication of Von Baer's "Researches on Development," thirty years ago, any work has appeared calculated to exert so large an influence, not only on the future of Biology, but in extending the domination of Science over regions of thought into which she has, as yet, hardly penetrated. These are the basic tenets of evolution by natural selection as defined by Darwin: More individuals are produced each generation than can survive. Phenotypic variation exists among individuals and the variation is heritable; those individuals with heritable traits better suited to the environment will survive. When reproductive isolation occurs new species will form. Another important evolutionary theorist of the same period was the Russian geographer and prominent anarchist Peter Kropotkin who, in his book Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution, advocated a conception of Darwinism counter to that of Huxley.
His conception was centred around what he saw as the widespread use of co-operation as a survival mechanism in human societies and animals. He used biological and sociological arguments in an attempt to show that the main factor in facilitating evolution is cooperation between individuals in free-associated societies and groups; this was in order to counteract the conception of fierce competition as the core of evolution, which provided a rationalization for the dominant political and social theories of the time. Kropotkin's conception of Darwinism could be summed up by the following quote: In the animal world we have seen that the vast majority of species live in societies, that they find in association the best arms for the struggle for life: understood, of course, in its wide Darwinian sense—not as a s
A hierarchy is an arrangement of items in which the items are represented as being "above", "below", or "at the same level as" one another. Hierarchy is an important concept in a wide variety of fields, such as philosophy, computer science, organizational theory, systems theory, the social sciences. A hierarchy can link entities either directly or indirectly, either vertically or diagonally; the only direct links in a hierarchy, insofar as they are hierarchical, are to one's immediate superior or to one of one's subordinates, although a system, hierarchical can incorporate alternative hierarchies. Hierarchical links can extend "vertically" upwards or downwards via multiple links in the same direction, following a path. All parts of the hierarchy which are not linked vertically to one another can be "horizontally" linked through a path by traveling up the hierarchy to find a common direct or indirect superior, down again; this is akin to colleagues. Organizational forms exist that are both complementary to hierarchy.
Heterarchy is one such form. Hierarchies have their own special vocabulary; these terms are easiest to understand. In an organizational context, the following terms are used related to hierarchies: Object: one entity System: the entire set of objects that are being arranged hierarchically Dimension: another word for "system" from on-line analytical processing Member: an at any in a Terms about Positioning Rank: the relative value, complexity, importance, level etc. of an object Level or Tier: a set of objects with the same rank OR importance Ordering: the arrangement of the Hierarchy: the arrangement of a particular set of members into. Multiple hierarchies are possible per, in which selected levels of the dimension are omitted to flatten the structure Terms about Placement Hierarch, the apex of the hierarchy, consisting of one single orphan in the top level of a dimension; the root of an inverted-tree structure Member, a in any level of a hierarchy in a dimension to which members are attached Orphan, a member in any level of a dimension without a parent member.
The apex of a disconnected branch. Orphans can be grafted back into the hierarchy by creating a relationship with a parent in the superior level Leaf, a member in any level of a dimension without subordinates in the hierarchy Neighbour: a member adjacent to another member in the same. Always a peer. Superior: a higher level or an object ranked at a higher level Subordinate: a lower level or an object ranked at a lower level Collection: all of the objects at one level Peer: an object with the same rank Interaction: the relationship between an object and its direct superior or subordinate a direct interaction occurs when one object is on a level one higher or one lower than the other Distance: the minimum number of connections between two objects, i.e. one less than the number of objects that need to be "crossed" to trace a path from one object to another Span: a qualitative description of the width of a level when diagrammed, i.e. the number of subordinates an object has Terms about Nature Attribute: a heritable characteristic of in a level Attribute-value: the specific value of a heritable characteristic In a mathematical context, the general terminology used is different.
Most hierarchies use a more specific vocabulary pertaining to their subject, but the idea behind them is the same. For example, with data structures, objects are known as nodes, superiors are called parents and subordinates are called children. In a business setting, a superior is a supervisor/boss and a peer is a colleague. Degree of branching refers to the number of direct subordinates or children an object has a node has. Hierarchies can be categorized based on the "maximum degree", the highest degree present in the system as a whole. Categorization in this way yields two broad classes: branching. In a linear hierarchy, the maximum degree is 1. In other words, all of the objects can be visualized in a line-up, each object has one direct subordinate and one direct superior. Note that this is referring to the objects and not the levels. An example of a linear hierarchy is the hierarchy of life. In a branching hierarchy, one or more objects has a degree of 2 or more. For many people, the word "hierarchy" automatically evokes an image of a branching hierarchy.
Branching hierarchies are present within numerous systems, including organizations and classification schemes. The broad category of branching hierarchies can be furt
Social rejection occurs when an individual is deliberately excluded from a social relationship or social interaction. The topic includes romantic rejection and familial estrangement. A person can be rejected by an entire group of people. Furthermore, rejection can be either active, by bullying, teasing, or ridiculing, or passive, by ignoring a person, or giving the "silent treatment"; the experience of being rejected is subjective for the recipient, it can be perceived when it is not present. The word ostracism is used for the process. Although humans are social beings, some level of rejection is an inevitable part of life. Rejection can become a problem when it is prolonged or consistent, when the relationship is important, or when the individual is sensitive to rejection. Rejection by an entire group of people can have negative effects when it results in social isolation; the experience of rejection can lead to a number of adverse psychological consequences such as loneliness, low self-esteem and depression.
It can lead to feelings of insecurity and a heightened sensitivity to future rejection. Rejection may be painful because of the social nature of human beings and the need of social interaction between other humans is essential. Abraham Maslow and other theorists have suggested that the need for love and belongingness is a fundamental human motivation. According to Maslow, all humans introverts, need to be able to give and receive affection to be psychologically healthy. Psychologists believe that simple contact or social interaction with others is not enough to fulfill this need. Instead, people have a strong motivational drive to form and maintain caring interpersonal relationships. People need both stable relationships and satisfying interactions with the people in those relationships. If either of these two ingredients is missing, people will begin to feel unhappy. Thus, rejection is a significant threat. In fact, the majority of human anxieties appear to reflect concerns over social exclusion.
Being a member of a group is important for social identity, a key component of the self-concept. Mark Leary of Duke University has suggested that the main purpose of self-esteem is to monitor social relations and detect social rejection. In this view, self-esteem is a sociometer which activates negative emotions when signs of exclusion appear. Social psychological research confirms the motivational basis of the need for acceptance. Fear of rejection leads to conformity to peer pressure, compliance to the demands of others. Our need for affiliation and social interaction appears to be strong when we are under stress. Peer rejection has been measured using sociometry and other rating methods. Studies show that some children are popular, receiving high ratings, many children are in the middle, with moderate ratings, a minority of children are rejected, showing low ratings. One measure of rejection asks children to list peers they dislike. Rejected children receive many "dislike" nominations. Children classified.
According to Karen Bierman of Pennsylvania State University, most children who are rejected by their peers display one or more of the following behavior patterns: Low rates of prosocial behavior, e.g. taking turns, sharing. High rates of aggressive or disruptive behavior. High rates of inattentive, immature, or impulsive behavior. High rates of social anxiety. Bierman states that well-liked children know when and how to join play groups. Children who are at risk for rejection are more to barge in disruptively, or hang back without joining at all. Aggressive children who are athletic or have good social skills are to be accepted by peers, they may become ringleaders in the harassment of less skilled children. Minority children, children with disabilities, or children who have unusual characteristics or behavior may face greater risks of rejection. Depending on the norms of the peer group, sometimes minor differences among children lead to rejection or neglect. Children who are less outgoing or prefer solitary play are less to be rejected than children who are inhibited and show signs of insecurity or anxiety.
Peer rejection, once established, tends to be stable over time, thus difficult for a child to overcome. Researchers have found that active rejection is more stable, more harmful, more to persist after a child transfers to another school, than simple neglect. One reason for this is that peer groups establish reputational biases that act as stereotypes and influence subsequent social interaction, thus when rejected and popular children show similar behavior and accomplishments, popular children are treated much more favorably. Rejected children are to have lower self-esteem, to be at greater risk for internalizing problems like depression; some rejected children display externalizing show aggression rather than depression. The research is correlational, but there is evidence of reciprocal effects; this means that children with problems are more to be rejected, this rejection leads to greater problems for them. Chronic peer rejection may lead to a negative developmental cycle. Rejected children are more to be bullied and to have fewer friends than popular children, but these conditions are not always present.
For example, some popular children do not have close friends, whereas some reject
In the context of human society, a family is a group of people related either by consanguinity, affinity, or co-residence or some combination of these. Members of the immediate family may include spouses, brothers, sisters and daughters. Members of the extended family may include grandparents, uncles, nephews and siblings-in-law. Sometimes these are considered members of the immediate family, depending on an individual's specific relationship with them. In most societies, the family is the principal institution for the socialization of children; as the basic unit for raising children, anthropologists classify most family organizations as matrifocal. Sexual relations among the members are regulated by rules concerning incest such as the incest taboo; the word "family" can be used metaphorically to create more inclusive categories such as community, global village, humanism. The field of genealogy aims to trace family lineages through history; the family is an important economic unit studied in family economics.
One of the primary functions of the family involves providing a framework for the production and reproduction of persons biologically and socially. This can occur through the sharing of material substances. Thus, one's experience of one's family shifts over time. From the perspective of children, the family is G "family of orientation": the family serves to locate children and plays a major role in their enculturation and socialization. From the point of view of the parent, the family is a "family of procreation", the goal of, to produce and enculturate and socialize children. However, producing children is not the only function of the family. Christopher Harris notes that the western conception of family is ambiguous and confused with the household, as revealed in the different contexts in which the word is used. Olivia Harris states this confusion is not accidental, but indicative of the familial ideology of capitalist, western countries that pass social legislation that insists members of a nuclear family should live together, that those not so related should not live together.
The total fertility rate of women varies from country to country, from a high of 6.76 children born/woman in Niger to a low of 0.81 in Singapore. Fertility is low in most Eastern Southern European countries. In some cultures, the mother's preference of family size influences that of the children through early adulthood. A parent's number of children correlates with the number of children that they will have. Although early western cultural anthropologists and sociologists considered family and kinship to be universally associated with relations by "blood" research has shown that many societies instead understand family through ideas of living together, the sharing of food and sharing care and nurture. Sociologists have a special interest in the function and status of family forms in stratified societies. According to the work of scholars Max Weber, Alan Macfarlane, Steven Ozment, Jack Goody and Peter Laslett, the huge transformation that led to modern marriage in Western democracies was "fueled by the religio-cultural value system provided by elements of Judaism, early Christianity, Roman Catholic canon law and the Protestant Reformation".
Much sociological and anthropological research dedicates itself to the understanding of this variation, of changes in the family that form over time. Levitan claims: "Times have changed; the way roles are balanced between the parents will help children grow and learn valuable life lessons. There is great importance of communication and equality in families, in order to avoid role strain." The term "nuclear family" is used in the United States of America, to refer to conjugal families. A "conjugal" family includes only the unmarried children who are not of age; some sociologists distinguish between nuclear families. Other family structures - with blended parents, single parents, domestic partnerships - have begun to challenge the normality of the nuclear family. A single-parent family consist one parent together with his or her children, where the parent is either widowed and not remarried, or never married; the parent may either have sole custody of the children, or, the parents may have a shared parenting arrangement, where the children divide their time between two different single-parent families or between one single-parent family and one blended family.