• Rezultati Niso Bili Najdeni

In this chapter, I aim to provide support for the claim that sociocultural factors influence the perception of categories and their prototypes. In order to provide this support, I conducted a short questionnaire connected to the term 'family'. The questionnaire examines 40 people, taking into consideration their age, language, culture, and other factors. My assumption was that their sociocultural differences influence their perception of the term 'family', which the questionnaire results successfully confirm. I would also like to note that what I am interested in is not the meaning of the word 'family', but rather the applicability of the words to that referent.

Experiment: Tasks connected to the perception of the category 'family' and its prototype Participants

The total number of the participants is 40 and they are divided into four groups;

 a) 10 participants are individuals who live in Slovenia and are between the ages of 22 and 27,

 b) 10 participants are individuals who live in England and are between the ages of 22 and 27,

 c) 10 participants are individuals who live in Slovenia and are between the ages of 60 and 80, and

 d) 10 participants are individuals who live in England and are between the ages of 60 and 80.

41 Materials and Procedure

The participants received the questionnaire in digital form. Based on their mother tongue, they were given either the Slovenian or the English version. The questionnaire was anonymous and it provided the participants with all the necessary instructions. Some participants, however, needed monitoring and aid; these were mainly older participants who had trouble understanding the technical part of the questionnaire (such as its digital form and some of the questions).

The questionnaire posed questions regarding the structure of the category 'family' and questions connected to the participants' main sociocultural features. The participants were instructed to answer a) six (+ one optional) objective questions and b) several personal questions that allowed me to take a glance at their sociocultural backgrounds, which was helpful in the analysis of their answers for questions under a).

a) Six (+ one optional) 'objective' questionnaire questions

Since different sociocultural backgrounds hinder people from answering questions objectively, the participants were instructed to think of a (proto)typical family while answering the questions. The purpose of this instruction was to optimize the participants' impartiality in order to create a basis for deducting a prototype.

The questions were in several different forms:

1. The first question was open-ended, asking the participants to list who they think the main members of a family are. They were, however, limited to a maximum of eight members.

2. The second question was a yes-no question, with a rating feature. The participants were asked whether certain family members, in their opinion, belong to a family. If marked with


'yes', the participants had to rate from 1 to 5 to which extent they think a family member in question belongs to a family; 1 indicating 'to a small extent', 5 indicating 'to a large extent'.

3. The third question required the participants to list one family member they think most typically suits a given description, i.e. a given set of adjectives. The intention of this question was to examine some stereotypical beliefs.

4. The fourth question provided a list of family members which the participants had to mark as MC (more central), LC (less central), or NF (not family).

5. The fifth question was closed-ended. The participants were given ten statements, which they had to mark with 'yes', 'no', or 'I am not sure'. The statements aimed to examine their views on family laws, same-sex marriage, stereotypes, the impact of society and the Internet on the perception of family, and overall the concept of family in general.

6. The sixth question provided seven sets of families, which the participants had to mark as T (a typical family), LT (a less typical family), or NF (not a family).

7. The seventh question was optional since it was lengthy and some of the older participants had trouble concentrating. This question provided various adjectives, which the participants had to join with the given family members. They were instructed to think which adjective(s) would most typically suit a certain family member. They were not required to use all of the adjectives. This question revealed and confirmed some already suspected stereotypes.

b) Personal questions

After answering the questions mentioned above, the participants were required to fill in their personal information. This information revealed a little bit about their sociocultural backgrounds, which allowed me to connect different sociocultural factors with some of the


answers. Some of the questions, for example those connected to religion and sexual orientation, were optional in case the participants felt uncomfortable answering them.


The results of the questionnaire correspond to the theoretical part of the thesis, which claims that sociocultural factors influence people's perception of the concept 'family'. Furthermore, some of the answers support the thesis' assumption regarding some family and gender-based stereotypical beliefs.

What follows is an analysis of the answers and a discussion of the overall results.

1. Which members do you think are the main members of a family? (Write max. 8 members.)

While reviewing the answers, the first two things I noticed were that 1) the vast majority of the participants included 'mother' and 'father' (or 'parents') and 'children' in the list, and 2) they put 'mother' in the initial place. Even though this task did not have a ranking feature, the frequency of 'mother' being written first does indicate a high degree of prototypicality of 'mother' in the category 'family'. There were, however, not many answers allowing space for same-sex parents; while only four of the younger Slovenian participants, one younger English participant, and one older English participant wrote 'parents' (instead of 'mother' and 'father'), the rest of the participants wrote either 'mother' and 'father' or 'husband' and 'wife'. This points to a potential lack of awareness of same-sex parents.

As mentioned previously, the majority included parents and children as the main members of a family. Those who did not include parents wrote 'partners' instead, and those who did not include children listed siblings instead. Even though we cannot draw any conclusions, writing 'siblings' might have implied 'children'.


The biggest difference in answers was in including the grandparents. While the younger Slovenian group had the smallest number of lists containing grandparents, the older English group had the highest number. The next group with the highest frequency of listing grandparents was the younger English group, followed by the older Slovenian group.

Therefore, when it comes to including grandparents in the central circle of members of a family, we could rank the participating groups as follows:

1. English participants, 60-80 years old: highest inclusivity of grandparents 2. English participants, 22-27 years old

3. Slovenian participants, 60-80 years old

4. Slovenian participants, 22-27 years old: lowest inclusivity of grandparents

This points to a potential cultural difference between the participants, making the English participants more inclusive when it comes to perceiving grandparents as some of the main members of a family.

Furthermore, uncles, aunts, cousins, and nephews had a low frequency of mentioning.

 Uncles and aunts were only listed by a few younger Slovenian and older English participants.

 Cousins were only listed by one younger English participant.

 Nephews were only listed by one older Slovenian participant.

Brothers and sisters were mentioned now and then, but often (most likely) in place of 'children'. A similar situation happened with 'husband' and 'wife' (or 'partners'), who were listed in place of 'parents'.


2. According to you, are the following members of a family? (Mark with YES or NO.

For the members you marked with YES: rate from 1 to 5 to what extent you think these members belong to a family. (1 – to a small extent, 5 – to a large extent))

All of the participants marked 'mother', 'father', 'husband', 'wife', 'son', and 'daughter' with 'yes'. While the average rating number for parents and partners was between 4.8 and 5, and between 4.6 and 5 for children, there were some bigger differences between the groups regarding the other members.

When it comes to grandparents, all of the participants, except half of the older Slovenian group, marked them with 'yes'. The highest rating number was given by the younger English group (4.5), followed by the older English group (4.3), followed by the younger Slovenian group (4.2.), and the lowest number was given by the remaining half of the older Slovenian group (3.5). This again points to culture as a potential factor in the creation of the prototype of 'family'. A similar show of numbers occurred with great-grandparents, but the numbers were overall lower (between 2.4 and 3.3).

Another interesting difference occurred with 'cousins'. While all of the other participants marked them with 'yes', 9 out of 10 older Slovenian participants marked them with 'no'. The average rating number was between 2.8 and 3 (the older English participants providing the lowest numbers).

Furthermore, while almost all participants from the older English group and younger Slovenian and English group marked uncles and aunts with 'yes' (only one younger Slovenian participant marked them with 'no'), more than half of the older Slovenian group marked them with 'no'. The rest of the group rated uncles and aunts with the average number of 3.4. The highest number was given by the younger English group (3.4) (and the already mentioned half of the older Slovenian group), followed by the younger Slovenian group (3),


and the lowest number was given by the older English group (2.8). It is obvious that the most inclusive were the younger generations, especially the English ones.

The biggest difference, however, is seen in the answers concerning godparents. The older Slovenian participants were once again the most restrictive; all of them marked godparents with 'no'. Regarding the rest of the groups:

 more than half of the younger Slovenian group also marked them with 'no' (the remaining part of the group gave the average number of 2.3),

 the older English group split in half; the 'yes' half gave the average number of 2,

 the younger English group showed to be the most inclusive one, the majority of them marking godparents with 'yes', with the average number of 2.3.

Lastly, inspired by my mentor's quick experiment conducted in one of her classes, I decided to examine the participants' thoughts on pets and their role in families. Based on some of the quite restrictive answers given by the participants, I was quite surprised to see that most of the participants included pets in the 'family' category. While only one participant in both younger groups marked pets with 'no', the rest of them marked them with 'yes', giving them an average rating number between 3.3 and 3.5. Furthermore, the otherwise most restrictive out of the four groups (i.e. the older Slovenian group), prevalently marked pets with 'yes' (average number 3.4); only three participants marked them with 'no'. The lowest inclusivity was provided by the older English group split in half; the 'yes' half, however, gave the highest rating number of 3.5. Even though the theoretical part of the thesis does not cover pets and their role in families, this statistic shows an interesting hierarchy in the family membership degree and inclusivity; while many did not include grandparents (and other members) in the family structure, they did include pets.


To conclude, the older Slovenian group had the most restrictive and least inclusive perception of family members. The results distinguish this group from the rest of the groups, indicating cultural and generational differences. On the other end of the spectrum is the younger English group, demonstrating the highest level of family membership inclusivity.

3. Based on your opinion, write 1 family member for each description.

This question created a good basis for examining the stereotypical ascription of certain characteristics to family members.

The first cluster of adjectives (patient, kind, protective) was ascribed by all participants to female family members; while the majority wrote 'mother', two older Slovenian participants wrote 'wife' and 'grandma', and one younger Slovenian participant also wrote 'wife'.

Adjectives 'hard-working, brave, practical' were ascribed by all English participants to fathers. On the other hand, the Slovenian participants had more heterogeneous answers.

While the majority of the older Slovenian group also wrote 'father', two of them wrote 'mother', one of them wrote 'daughter', and one of them wrote 'husband'. Concerning the younger Slovenian group, the majority also wrote 'father', but one of them wrote 'brother', one wrote 'mother', and one wrote 'wife'. The last two were the only participants marking their sexual orientation as homosexual. Even though the sample number of the participants is too small to deduct any definite conclusion, their sexual orientation could be a potential contributor when it comes to such a difference in the ascription of the aforementioned characteristics. Another interesting remark is that the only participant that marked herself as religious in the younger Slovenian group is the only one that wrote 'brother'. However, I was not able to recognize a link between her Christian religious beliefs and her answer.


The last cluster of adjectives (wise, traditional, close-minded) was mostly ascribed to grandparents (mostly grandfathers) and then fathers. While all English participants listed grandparents, the Slovenian groups once again had more diverse answers. The younger Slovenians mostly listed grandparents and four of them wrote 'father', among which are the homosexual participants, who might have experienced a close-minded approach from their fathers regarding their sexual orientation. However, I must mention anew that such conclusions and assumptions are not to be made with such a small sample number. The older Slovenian group had the biggest mix of answers; they did, however, ascribe these characteristics to male members only. While five of them wrote 'grandfather', two wrote 'father', one wrote 'great-grandfather', and one wrote 'husband'.

This question successfully supports the theory that there are some stereotypical gender-based beliefs that usually depict women as patient, kind, protective, while men are described as hard-working, brave, practical, wise, traditional, and close-minded. Marking women with more 'emotional' characteristics and men with more 'practical' characteristics most likely plays a role in the creation of a prototypical family.

4. In your opinion, which family members are more central and which are less central for the category 'family' (or in your opinion do not belong to the category family)?

For each member, write MC for 'more central', LC for 'less central', or NF for 'not family'.

While all of the participants marked parents as more central, they had a different viewpoint on stepparents. The English participants demonstrated the highest level of inclusivity; only one younger member and one older member marked stepparents as less central. On the other hand, almost half of the younger Slovenian participants marked them as 'not family', two marked them as less central, and four marked them as more central. However, the usually


most restrictive group (i.e. the older Slovenian group) only had one participant marking them as 'not family' and only one 'less central' response. What I would like to point out is that the two participants who have a stepfather answered with 'more central'. This could be an indicator of personal experience molding one's perception into the creation of the 'family' category.

When it comes to siblings, all of the younger participants marked them with 'more central', whereas the older Slovenian group split in half (5 'more central', 5 'less central'). The older English group, however, also showed a high degree of inclusivity, by having only one 'less central' response (the rest of them being 'more central'). Since many of the older participants might not have their siblings among the living anymore or simply do not count them as close family members anymore, the younger participants mirrored their current experience; most of them have siblings and still perceive them as close family members.

Talking about grandparents, the older Slovenian group once again demonstrated the lowest degree of inclusivity; 9 out of 10 answers were marked as 'less central' and only one as 'more central'. The older English group split in half; 5 'less central' and 5 'more central' responses.

The younger participants were once again less strict; almost all of them marked grandparents as more central and only one per group marked them as less central. The reason behind these differences could lie in the fact that the younger generations still have grandparents in their lives. Furthermore, the older participants, some of them being grandparents themselves, subconsciously might not have wanted to rate themselves with a high degree of membership.

Speaking of uncles and aunts, only two Slovenian participants (one from the younger group, one from the older group) marked them as 'not family'. The younger Slovenian group had eight 'less central' responses and only one 'more central' response. The rest of the older Slovenian group had all nine remaining answers as 'less central', once again showing strict


inclusivity. Even though none of the English participants marked uncles and aunts as 'not family', they did have a prevalence of 'less central' answers;, only one per group marked them with 'more central'.

Nonetheless, the biggest diversity in answers is seen in marking the godparents. The least restrictive were the younger English participants who had six 'less central' and four 'not family' answers. While the younger Slovenian and older English participants had three 'less central' and seven 'not family' answers, all of the older Slovenian participants marked them with 'not family'. To conclude, the older Slovenians display the most limiting family membership perception and creation, while the younger English group stands out as the most inclusive. We could, therefore, say that older Slovenians might have a more restrictive prototype of the concept 'family' in comparison to younger Slovenian generations and English citizens in general.

5. Based on your opinion, tick 'yes', 'no', or 'I am not sure' for the following statements.

This question served to examine the participants' views on family in a more direct manner. It aimed to examine their definition of 'family', view on stereotypes, and the impact on society and the Internet on one's thoughts and beliefs regarding family.

a) Family is only members connected by blood or marriage ties.

The biggest gap in answers was noted between the younger Slovenian group and the older Slovenian group. While most younger Slovenians (i.e. all except one) answered with 'yes', the older group split in half (5 'yes', 5 'no'). On the other hand, the answers provided by the English groups aligned; in both groups, four participants answered with 'yes', four answered with 'no', and two answered with 'I am not sure'. Therefore, the only group that sticks out


from the rest is the younger Slovenian one; its participants showed the highest degree of inclusivity by not confining the definition of family only by blood or marriage.

b) Friends can count as family too.

Similarly to the first question, this question examines the participants' inclusivity of family members as well. By having only one positive answer, the older Slovenians once again showed a lower degree of inclusivity. The rest of the groups had somewhat moderate answers; the highest inclusivity was demonstrated by the younger English group (6 'yes', 4 'no'), followed by the younger Slovenian group (5 'yes', 5 'no'), and then followed by the older English group (4 'yes', 4 'no', 2 'I am not sure').

c) I agree with the laws that allow same-sex marriages.

Out of all the questions, this one evoked the biggest difference between the examined groups.

While all of the participants unanimously answered with 'yes', more than half of the older English group answered with 'no' (4 'yes', 6 'no'). The reason behind this might be that this group had the highest number of religious participants, and it is no secret that same-sex

While all of the participants unanimously answered with 'yes', more than half of the older English group answered with 'no' (4 'yes', 6 'no'). The reason behind this might be that this group had the highest number of religious participants, and it is no secret that same-sex