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Cognitive Schemas: An Introduction

by: Julia Caine

Cognitive Schemas: An Introduction Soc 201

Marketplace > New York University > Sociology > Soc 201 > Cognitive Schemas An Introduction
Julia Caine
GPA 3.5

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About this Document

These notes cover the basis of schemas and touch upon some different types of schemas
Social Psychology
Blaine Robbins
Class Notes
Schema, sociology, Psychology
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This 3 page Class Notes was uploaded by Julia Caine on Tuesday September 27, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to Soc 201 at New York University taught by Blaine Robbins in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 3 views. For similar materials see Social Psychology in Sociology at New York University.


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Date Created: 09/27/16
Cognitive Schemas: An Introduction  Introduction o Each time we encounter a person, object, or event, we filter this info through a variety of mental structures and clusters and, in essence, make a gamble  The issue is that we can call on wrong categories or rely on heuristics that gets us in trouble  This is what makes it possible to categorize incorrectly  Guesses that are closer to 100% are ones that we encounter more frequently  We consistently filter people, objects, and events through a variety of mental structures and clusters  Happens automatically  Categories o Category  A group of distinctive abstract or concrete items that a cognitive system treat as equivalent  Each item consists of a set of dimensions that can take on one or a number of values o Category label  The symbol that denotes a particular group of items o Category feature  The symbol that denotes the value an item has along a particular dimension o When we label and identify a new experience as an instance of a category label or category feature were familiar with, we have categorized the experience  Called categorization o All social cognition is based on categories and categorization o Features of categories and categorization  Categories are fuzzy  Often try to make things fit into categories they don’t necessarily fit in  Categories are socially shared  Basis of culture  Categories need not be accurate  Lots of variance in expected values  Creates harmful stereotypes  Categories need not correspond to outer reality  i.e., characters in movies/TV shows o We might all know who they are but that doesn’t mean they exist  Categorization is an act of inference  Often incorrect  Categorizations typically proceeds automatically  Schemas o Regardless of form, the proposed organizational structure for the knowledge that compromises one’s categories is called a schema  Defined by the fact that category labels and features are stored in abstract form, and they describe generalized types as well as specific instances  They contain relationships that exist among category labels and features  Guide manner in which new information is processed o Example  Mother  Schema for parents may include mother  Schema for kindness may include mother  Schemas differ for each individual o Or we could have schemas organized vertically with schemas embedded within schemas  Self-Schemas o How we organize our sense of self o Allows us to  Process schema-consistent cognitions efficiently  Recall or predict schema-consistent behaviors fairly accurately  Resist schema-inconsistent information o Markus (1977)  First study  Participants rated themselves as traits consistent with independence, dependence, and neither  Later exposed to set of adjectives o Determine whether adjectives were self-descriptive o 15 independent adjectives o 15 dependent adjectives o 30 creativity/non-creativity adjectives (control)  Later presented with sub-sets of adjectives and example of why  Results  Self-schemas, adjectives, self-definition related  Self-schemes, adjectives, response times related  Aschematics (people who don’t identify as independent or dependent) did not respond faster or self-identify with more traits  Second study  Are self-schematic assistant to receiving information that is counter-schematic o Asked to take test that assesses suggestibility  Wasn’t real test  Told people opposite of self-schema  Aschematics were randomly assigned a result  Schematics more likely to question results  Aschematics found tests to be more accurate  Two fundamental processes identified  Individuals attend to schema-consistent information  More likely to reject and see as invalid information that is inconsistent with their existing schemas  Role and Relationship Schemas o What role is and the relationship between roles  Parent-child  Professor-student o Provide us with knowledge about rules, norms, and expected behaviors associated with:  Broad social categories  Gender, race  Social position  Doctor, professor  Relationship status  Friend, brother, daughter o Cohen study (1961)  Role schemas bias how we perceive and recall information  Participants watched video of a woman going about her daily activities  Conditions  Group one- told woman was a waitress  Group two- told woman was a librarian  Results  Recalled information consistent with schema  Event Schemas o Schemas that dictate feelings and behaviors in specific situations  How to behave at funeral  Can also think about them as scripts of frames


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