Schemas

With massive amounts of information stored in our heads [MEMORY] , how does our mind know what information to recall when faced with a task or a problem? For instance, say you enter a movie theater. Do you start to think critically about how you should act inside the theater? Are you actively asking yourself questions such as: How loud should I be? Should I have a phone conversation during the movie? It is a bad idea to run down and up the aisles? There are endless questions we can ask ourselves about how to behave in the theater, yet we never need to do such. Given that you have been to a movie theater before and were taught how to act inside one, your mind does not need to start from scratch trying to figure out what behaviors are appropriate. Our minds are able to pull up relevant thoughts quickly to help us understand how to behave in a theater. It should be noted and emphasized that we are quickly able to do such. Our brains do not think about one thing at a time until we reach the correct or most relevant thought; our brains heuristically bring a handful of thoughts that are relevant to the topic at hand. If you were tasked to think about movie theaters, your mind would start to think of things that are related: popcorn, quiet, fun, etc. In other words, we with in an organized manner. Psychologists have coined this organization of thought as "schemas". Schema theory states that our minds contain mental frameworks that help us organize, process, and store thoughts.

Schemas are not static but dynamic. When we are presented with new information it can be "adopted" into our schemas in two different ways. If the new information goes along well with an existing schema, the new information is "assimilated" into the schema. If the new information contradicts or does not relate well, that schema is modified to "accommodate" the information. There are many different types of schemas that help us throughout our daily lives: Person Schemes, Social Schemas, Self-schemas, and Event Schemas.