The Schema theory which was derived by Sir Frederic Bartlet (1886-1969) ascertains that the mind is organised into units called schemata.
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Evaluating the Schema Theory The "Schema theory" which was derived by Sir Frederic Bartlet (1886-1969) ascertains that the mind is organised into units called schemata. Schemata are "Organised structures that capture knowledge and expectations of some aspect of the world." (Bartlett, 1932). These units represent single concepts such as "dog" they are abstract and leave room for interpretation. For example within the schema of a dog, most people have teeth, fur, four legs, tail, etc. Therefore, if a person has a dog in front of them and only sees the front of the dog with the snout, fur and ears he can deduce that most likely the dog will have a tail even though he cannot see it. This is the result of default values, which fill in the missing slot when one even only sees the front of a dog and which tells a person that the dog probably has a tail. The "Schema theory" also relies on how we process memory; the process is shown below; Encoding Storage Retrieval Added to memory Maintained in memory Recovered from Memory The schema theory is useful and elucidates many things that would otherwise be extremely confounding. One of the main advantages of the schema theory is that it shows how humans categorise and interpret information.
On the other hand, it is a disadvantage because memory distortions can be hindering, as if a person remembers events, which never happened, it can inhibit court cases and otherwise serve to be a disadvantage in different situations. A research study by Jacqueline E. Pickrell, 1997 in Seattle, Washington outlines the concept of distorted memories. Pickrell gave 24 individuals between the ages of 18 and 53 a personal with three stories, which had been recounted by a family member or a close friend, and one story about the individual lost at a shopping mall, which was fictional. She told the participants that all four stories were true events of their childhood. The participants were told that they were tested on how good their memory was. The story of being lost in a maul included plausible events; lost for an extended period, crying, aid and comfort by an elderly woman and, finally, reunion with the family. The participants recalled about 49 of the 72 true events (68 percent) immediately after the initial reading of the booklet and also in the two follow-up interviews, which were conducted. After reading the booklet, seven of the 24 participants (29 percent) remembered either partially or fully the false event constructed for them and in the two follow-up interviews, six participants (25 percent)
This is a big advantage of the schema theory that it explains such adaptions and flexibility, as through this many psychologists and behavioural scientists are able to comprehend such concepts. On the other hand, the schema theory has restrictions as well though, as for example it is unclear how schemata are acquired in the first place. Research has shown that they do not always require the slow, repetitive reinforcement. Rather, people have the ability to pick up prototypical situations, even with one exposure. However, also here the schema theory leaves room for interpretations and it is extremely difficult to show how a schema is produced by the mind. This is one of the restrictions of the schema theory and makes it weaker. Another problem with the schema theory is that is slightly too vague. This means that it is extremely difficult to comprehend to the full extent what a schema actually is. This again makes the theory weaker because the theory is not clear enough, and leaves too much room for interpretation. Overall, the schema theory is a theory, which explains many things that would otherwise still be clandestine to psychologists. Though it can be decried at places for example at the fact that it is too vague, overall the notion which it elucidates is a great help to science and psychology as it explains mysteries such as racism, prejudice and associations within the human mind.
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