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Lecture 7

Psychology 46-358 Lecture 7: Schemas and Scripts

Course Code
PSYC 3580
Anne Baird

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Schemas and Scripts
Schema: bigger packets of knowledge. They help us predict what will happen. They help
us make conclusions quickly. They often lead to the right answer.
Scripts: schemas that refer to narratives or sequences of events.
Schemas are involved at different points in memory of an experience:
1. Memory selection: how do schemas help determine how information from a current
episode is selected for initial storage?
2. Boundary extension: tendency to remember a greater portion of information than
what is shown.
3. Memory abstraction
4. Integration in memory
Schema-consistent memory information
- Schema consistent information that was present is usually recalled more than schema
inconsistent material in incidental learning situations and after brief exposure to
minor event
- Schema consistent false memories may occur too and are usually more prominent
than schema inconsistent false memories in these situations
- Schema consistent false memories are likely to crop up more as time passes after
Schema inconsistent information
- Accurately recalled after exposure to major and lengthy event or a description thereof
- Accurately recalled when schema-inconsistent information is vivid and surprising
- False lengthy schema-inconsistent memories seldom occur in experimental settings at
selection stage.
Rapid cognitions: largely unconscious top-down influences
In daily life, anything in a person’s current mental context can activate conscious and
unconscious schemas
In order to counter our implicit biases:
- Slow down responses
- Mask irrelevant information
- Get more experience with examples counter to the schema
- Get factual knowledge
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