The Role of a Schema in Psychology

A schema is a cognitive framework or concept that helps organize and interpret information.Schemas can be useful because they allow us to take shortcuts in interpreting the vast amount of information that is available in our environment.

However,these mental frameworks also cause us to exclude pertinent information to focus instead only on things that confirm our pre-existing beliefs and ideas.Schemas can contribute to stereotypes and make it difficult to retain new information that does not conform to our established ideas about the world.

Schemas: A Historical Background

The use of schemas as a basic concept was first used by a British psychologist named Frederic Bartlett as part of his learning theory.巴特利特的理论认为,我们对世界的理解是由一个抽象的心理结构网络构成的。

Theorist让皮亚杰引入了术语模式,and its use was popularized through his work.According to his theory of cognitive development,孩子们经历了一系列智力成长的阶段。

InPiaget's theory,图式既是知识的范畴,也是获取知识的过程。他相信人们在接受新信息和学习新事物时,会不断地适应环境。随着经验的发生和新信息的呈现,开发新模式,更改或修改旧模式。

Schema Examples

例如,一个年幼的孩子可能会首先为一匹马开发一个模式。She knows that a horse is large,有头发,four legs,and a tail.When the little girl encounters a cow for the first time,she might initially call it a horse.

毕竟,它符合她的马的特征图式;它是一种有毛的大动物,four legs,and a tail.一旦她被告知这是另一种叫奶牛的动物,她将修改现有的马模式,并为奶牛创建新的模式。


Her parents explain to her that the animal is actually a very small type of horse,so the little girl must at this time modify her existing schema for horses.She now realizes that while some horses are very large animals,其他的可能非常小。通过她的新经历,她修改了现有的模式,并学习了新的信息。

皮亚杰关注儿童发展,schemas are something that all people possess and continue to form and change throughout life.对象模式只是关注无生命对象是什么以及它如何工作的模式的一种类型。例如,大多数工业化国家的人都有一个汽车的模式。您的汽车总体方案可能包括不同类型汽车的子类别,例如紧凑型汽车,sedan,或者跑车。


  • 个人图式专注于特定的个人。例如,your schema for your friend might include information about her appearance,her behaviors,她的个性,and her preferences.
  • 社会图式包括人们在某些社会场合的行为的一般知识。
  • 自我图式专注于你对自己的了解。This can include both what you know about your current self as well as ideas about your idealized or future self.
  • 事件模式关注特定事件应遵循的行为模式。这就像一个脚本,告诉你应该做什么,你应该怎么做,在特定情况下你应该说什么。




In住宿,existing schemas might be altered or new schemas might be formed as a person learns new information and has new experiences.

Schemas tend to be easier to change during childhood but can become increasingly rigid and difficult to modify as people grow older.Schemas will often persist even when people are presented with evidence that contradicts their beliefs.In many cases,当大量的证据表明需要修改模式时,人们只会开始慢慢地改变模式。


Schemas also play a role in the learning process.例如:

  • Schemas influence what we pay注意去。People are more likely to pay attention to things that fit in with their current schemas.
  • 模式还影响人们学习的速度。People also learn information more readily when it fits in with the existing schemas.
  • 模式有助于简化世界。Schemas can often make it easier for people to learn about the world around them.新的信息可以通过比较新的经验和现有的模式来分类和分类。
  • 模式允许我们快速思考。即使在情况发生迅速变化的情况下,我们的新信息也会迅速到来,人们通常不必花很多时间来解释它。因为现有的模式,人们能够快速、自动地吸收这些新信息。
  • 模式还可以改变我们解释传入信息的方式。When learning new information that does not fit with existing schemas,people sometimes distort or alter the new information to make it fit with what they already know.
  • 模式也很难改变。即使面对矛盾的信息,人们也经常坚持现有的模式。

Problems With Schemas

While the use of schemas to learn in most situations occurs automatically or with little effort,有时,现有的模式会阻碍新信息的学习。偏见is one example of schema that prevents people from seeing the world as it is and inhibits them from taking in new information.

By holding certain beliefs about a particular group of people,这个现有的模式可能会导致人们错误地解释情况。当发生挑战现有信仰的事件时,人们可能会提出支持和支持他们现有模式的替代解释,而不是调整或改变他们的信仰。

Consider how this might work for gender expectations and stereotypes.在他们的文化中,每个人都有一个被认为是阳刚和阴柔的模式。Such schemas can also lead to stereotypes about how we expect men and women to behave and the roles we expect them to fill.

在一项有趣的研究中,researchers showed children images that were either consistent with gender expectations (such as a man working on a car and woman washing dishes) while others saw images that were inconsistent with gender stereotypes (a man washing dishes and a woman fixing a car).

当后来问起他们在照片中看到了什么,children who help very stereotypes views of gender were more likely to change the gender of the people they saw in the gender-inconsistent images.例如,如果他们看到一个男人在洗碗,they were more likely to remember it as an image of a woman washing dishes.


皮亚杰的认知发展理论为我们理解儿童如何发展和学习提供了一个重要的维度。Though the processes of adaptation,住处,and equilibration,we build,变化,发展我们的模式,为我们了解周围的世界提供一个框架。

Article Sources
  • Levine,LE & Munsch,J.儿童发展。Los Angeles: Sage;2014.
  • Lindon布罗迪K了解儿童发育0-8岁,第四版:理论联系实际。伦敦:霍德教育;2016。