Schema is used in different aspects and disciplines to mean different things. Schema in psychology is used to refer to a structure in the mind that symbolizes some features of the world. Schema is a learning theory that examines how the structure in the mind of an individual arranges knowledge to enable him or her to understand the world. Schema theory was developed by an educational psychologist named Anderson.
Schemata is used by individual to enable them to arrange their present understanding and provide a structure for future understanding. There are different types of schemata. Some of the examples may include, scripts, task schemata, person schema, scripts, world views, stereotypes, academic, scripts and social roles. There are several features displayed by the schema. Some of them are that schemas are unified and each one of them has sub schema and is entrenched within other schemata, schemata are systematically organized and are developed as more knowledge are gained by individual, schemas are rearranged when need is displayed by new information and they change continuously as more and new data is received.
How schema impact individual thoughts, feelings and behavior
Schema has a great impact on the individual thoughts given that it is the effective tool used for understanding the world. When using schemata individual do not need to put much exertion in thinking but rather the thoughts comes automatically. Individuals can easily put together their perceptions and thoughts when using their schemas and without putting much effort act very efficiently. For instance, a person can use his or her schema to climb a staircase that he or she has never seen earlier (D’Andrade, 1987).
Nevertheless, the impact of schemata on an individual thought can be negative. For instance, it can manipulate how one perceive and take information which may result to inadequate outlook. When this happens an individual may find him or herself having in memory or vision something that has never happened or something that he or she has never seen, but in his or her schema he or she finds it very real and believable. For example in a situation where a well-dressed person pulls out a knife on a itinerant the schema of the of the viewers can direct them to remember the itinerant pulling the knife.
Different schemas work together and numerous contradicting schemata can work on similar information. Schemas have certain levels of activation, which can be applied on interrelated schemata. Selection of schemas can be done putting into consideration factors like how easy it can come into the mind, current activation and priming. The development of feelings is faced by certain consequences that reflect different emotional difficulties. Individuals who have trouble in developing feelings need an exposure to a therapy that will help them develop a relevant schema. An individual need to acquire a schema to enable him or her to convey personal feelings and induce responses (Friedman, 1992).
An individual who comprehends his or her behavior will understand his or her past behavior, see logic in his or her present behavior and predict his or her future behavior. This can be made easier when an individual can identify his or her schemas, understand his or her past and the effect the past has had on his or her life and how they can actually change their schemas. The idea of understanding how a person can learn to understand his or her world is an important component in behavior.
This is also referred to as event schema and is mainly concerned with the events taking place in a particular situation. For example in behaviorism, the script schema is referred to as behavioral scripts. Behavioral scripts can be defined as a progression of behaviors that are anticipated for a given circumstances. The scripts that are usually followed by individual are those obtained through habit and practice. Scripts are therefore of great significance as those who stick to them spend less time and limited mental endeavor in outlining an appropriate behavior every time he or she is faced with a new situation ( Weischrott, 1992).
Task is sometimes referred to as role schemas. This is mainly concerned with appropriate behaviors in given situations. It involves the knowledge about behaviors that people are supposed to show in given setting. For example showing positive stereotype.
Self-schema is usually used to refer to those ideas, beliefs and principles that an individual has concerning him or her self. When an individual gets information that is important to him or her, he or she can use the ideas and beliefs that he or she has about him or herself to arrange how the information is going to be processed. Self-schema usually vary from one individual to another as people do have diverse cultures and different social backgrounds. Some of the self-schemas that an individual may posses include being lazy or active, quite or noisy, exciting or dull and healthy or sickly.
Self-schemas are in most cases considered to be grounded in the present and based on the past. Individual memories are based on how individual perceives. There are three propositions as portrayed by the self-schema. It implies that continuous data about ones self is more effectively and processed, information related to ones schema is more readily repossessed and information contradicting ones schema is resisted.
Schema for other people
This is referred to as the person schemas. It involves the knowledge we have about different persons concerning their traits, goals and personality. Schema for other people refers to how one feels about beliefs, principles and ideas for other people. It involves how we see other people, judge their behaviors and classify them.
How attribution processes are influenced by schema
Attribution refers to the belief that people have concerning the reason why people tend to behave in a certain way or the cause of a persons behavior. It emphasizes that individual try to rationalize their own behavior and that of others. Schemas in most cases appear in the attribution process. It thus involves the idea of individuals observing the behavior of other persons and coming up with conclusions concerning their character and intentions (Farah, 1991, p. 339).
Individual perception is influenced by schemas, which in turn influences the process of attribution which is initiated by the attention of an individual’s perception. Script schema influences the process of attribution since attribution depends on the anticipated behavior. This applies mainly when an individual is trying to analyze the behavior of others (Chaffee, 1995).
For an individual self, self-schema mainly applies. The process of attribution in this case depends on the beliefs and ideas of an individual and whether the behavior that is portrayed by an individual is positive or negative (Fillmore, 1975, p. 123).
The role of personal values in schema development and activation
Self-schemas that children develop when they are young can negatively impact their lives and lead to very bad behaviors. If such children adopt personal values that are contradictive to such self-schemas then they will have good behaviors. An individual that lacks personal values like relating to people from other ethnic groups may make him or her not to develop the schema of stereotype. A stereotype emphasizes the difference among different racial groups (Schonberger, 2006).
Schemas are usually arranged in a memory that acts as an associated network. Activation of one schema therefore leads to an activation of other related schemas. An activation of some aspects of schema may cause a change in some personal values though an individual may not be aware when the schema is activated. In some situations individuals may not influence the process of activation. This happens in a case where the activation process happens automatically (Johnson, 1987).
How schema can be measured
Schema can be important in the understanding of depression as well as other disorder nevertheless the measurement of schema has been questionable. As a result Young Schema Questionnaire was invented. The young schema questionnaire scale has shown some psychometric properties whose validity and reliability were to be reviewed. The young schema questionnaire was divided into young schema short form and young schema long form which have been used as research materials. According to measurements made by young schema questionnaire there is evidence that schemas like shame have predictive validity for depression (Smith, 1987).
How schemas are developed and how they can be changed
Changing of schemas usually happen when the new information received is not relevant to the schemata. The irrelevant information received in most cases is ignored and thus forgotten quickly. Sometimes when the information coming in is irrelevant the perceiver remains unconscious. In a situation where the information coming in is irrelevant and cannot be ignored then the existing schemata has to be changed.
Schema can be changed through accommodation which follows the process of assimilation. Assimilation refers to where the present schemata is adjusted to fit the new information i.e. is the process of taking in new experiences from the environment and interpreting them by incorporating them into our existing schemata. Accommodation on the other hand is the process of modifying or altering the existing schemata in order to incorporate new experiences.
An example of how a schema can be changed is for instance seeing an animal like a cat which is not familiar to you and assimilating it your cat schema, but if it does not behave like your own cat, then you will have to modify your schema to fit the cat. Some schemas are however not easy to change and the change of schemas depends on specific individuals as others are open about changing their schemas as compared to others (Hutchins, 1980).
Schema is indeed a very important part of our lives as it is the overall aspect to our understanding of our world and the people we live with. It is by schema that we can interpret things, express proper behaviors, develop our thoughts, classify things, remember things, predict the future and make wise decisions.
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