Schemas and Expectations and their Influence on Interpretation of events

Schemas can be defined as cognitive structures or mental templates, which represent a person’s knowledge about objects, people or situations. Schemas are gotten from what persons knew and experienced in the past. They make reality simple, set up expectations on what is expected in respected to social contexts. We use schemas to organize our knowledge, to assist recall, to guide our behavior, to predict likely happenings and to help us to make sense of what we are currently experiencing(Chandler 1).The primary role of a schema is, to summarize, past experiences by deriving the vital and stable aspects. This essay will discuss the effects of schemas and expectations on how people interpret events. It will also describe a personal encounter with schemas and expectation and how they influenced my interpretation of the event.

A schema influences what we see, the way we interpret issues, and our decision-making and actions. They perform the function of filtering various aspects. They help in forecasting and making predictions about the outcome of an event. People use schemas to remember things and in encoding memories. Schemas assist in filling in the gaps. In the classification of an observation, the schema will give the meaning and the behavior. It will hence, assist in the assessment of threat and planning ahead.

Once a schema is created or accepted, people tend to struggle to sustain it. They will not take note of any observations that are outside the schema. They will only change their schema upon proving without reasonable doubt that there exists evidence that is against the schema. Schemas are often shared within cultures, giving room for short-cut communications. Every person has a schema that he or she loves using. When making interpretations of issues in the world, people use schemas and then apply other sources if the schemas are not adequate for the analysis. Schemas are self-sustaining, and persist even when there is evidence that shows that the schema is untrue. This is because if something does not match the schema, such as evidence against it, it is ignored. It is a difficult task changing the schema of a person. People trust what they know and are stored in their minds; they apply this knowledge to the interpretation of future occurrences.

A situation where schemas and expectation influenced my interpretation is in a wedding, function. In a wedding I expect to find the bride, groom, guests, cake, drinks and plenty of food. Schema fills in what is naturally expected to be present in a wedding ceremony. This helps in reduction of cognitive load. A schema also allows prediction or understanding of information that is not known in an entirely new situation. For example, if I read about a wedding of a princess I will use my established wedding schema to predict aspects of its appearance. Schemas are based on our general world knowledge and experiences. They operate in the selection of memories; they encourage memory abstraction, influence interpretations of our memory for information, and lead to integration of information in memory.

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