Schemas

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A schema is a mental structure, a framework, used to organise our knowledge of the social world around themes or subjects. There are various schemas (or schemata) which work in many different ways such as role schemas (e.g. how to be a mother), situational schemas (or scripts) and person (self) schemas. Schemas are important because they affect how we see the world, they help guide us through it, influencing how we feel and behave in certain individual and group situations, and also towards certain individuals and groups of people. Studies show that schema have wide-ranging scope and application, from status schemas such as those used by doormen at a nightclub, influencing whether or not they allow people entry (Rivera, Lauren 2010 ) to gender-schema, and their effect on how consumer's identify with brands and also how the brand in turn effects the person's self-schema ( Lau, Kong Cheen ; Phau, Ian 2010). We use schemas all the time, every day, such as in understanding what a door is. However, a primary use of schemas relates to our emotions and to our sense of ourselves i.e. our self-schemas. A self-schema is a mental model or a representation, containing knowledge about our identity, our self-concept, essentially who we are. The self-schema is a cognitive or a mental structure that integrates and organises the knowledge, feelings and ideas that make up the self-schema. Much of our self-schemas are developed mainly from how others treat us and their expectations of how we will behave. Studies show that people behave in keeping with the expectations others hold of them e.g. participants in a study behaved in a more extrovert manner because other participants had been led to believe that they were extroverts (Synder as cited in Introductory Psychology ;G.Neil Martin,Neil R.Carson and William Buskist, 2010,Ch.15 ). Similarly, a study by Terry Marks, Arlene Mayol and Robert de Mayo (1984 and 85) showed that a combination of depressive self-schemas and...
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