The degree and manner in which a sociology course might affect the way a student sees him or her self depends to a great degree on the individual student and course. In general, sociology should help students understand how they are part of multiple simultaneous groups. For example, one can group people by gender, age, sexual preference, religion, ethnicity, income, education, and many cultural factors. Often people share many characteristics and many assumptions with members of their peer group. By studying groups outside their own, students learn about many alternative life styles and belief systems, ideally making them more understanding of how other cultures work.