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Schema Theory

Agent Intellect

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was lurking (out of boredom) on INTPc, and found a thread with a link to a site about Schema Theory. it looks interesting, i was wondering if anyone else has heard of it and if its any good or not.
 

EloquentBohemian

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I have come across it briefly when reading Paiget, I think. He mentions it or refers to it, I can't remember. It is on my reading list. I may have come across it in my research on archetypes also. Looks like it will move to the top of my list.:D
 

*Stabbity*

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Interesting. Investigating now. Thanks for this.
 

eudemonia

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I looked into it 5 years ago but in a business/adult learning context. It comes from cognitive psychology and was very popular in the 70's. Another term for schema is mental model and I think this term is perhaps more widely known. People in business got very excited about schema theory and there was a phase during the 80's and 90's when people developed software to 'map' executives mental models. It was felt, naively, that if you could map a mental model and compare it to what was happening in the real world (!) you could correct people's inaccurate maps. Unfortunately, the people promoting these ideas, did not recognise the importance of the role of emotion in changing schemas. Psychology had split really, into behavioural, cognitive and emotional/psycho-dynamics and they became different academic camps.

I remember going to a conference where someone was speaking about changing people's mental models or schemas. I raised a point along the lines of 'you can't look at cognitive maps in isolation from the emotions that permeate them.' It was really funny to see all these academics in an uproar - horrified at the notion of having to study emotion alongside cognition. Of course, their very reaction illustrated what I was saying - that constructs are permeated with emotion. Our schemas are our truth - they provide us with identity, meaning, competence and control over our environment. People do not give up their constructs easily; they do not change their schemas in the face of someone else's reality!

I think now we understand these things more. John Sterman is an academic at MIT - I like what he says about mental models. 'Here are a few quotes:

All decisions are based on models and all models are wrong.

‘a model is a simplification, an abstraction, a selection, because our models are inevitably incomplete, incorrect – wrong.’

‘Recognizing the limitations of our knowledge…is deeply threatening (Meadows 1980). It’s one thing to point out that someone else’s opinions are ‘just a model; - it’s quite something else to recognize the limitations of our own beliefs’

‘we might solve an important problem if we can help people see through a new lens, improve their mental models, and thus make better decisions. But in a deeper sense, we fail our clients and students when all we do is facilitate the old organizational change recipe of “unfreeze, change, refreeze.” We may only succeed in replacing one dogma with another, whiles strengthening people’s belief that the scales have now fallen away from their eyes, that now they have the Truth. We must strive for more: helping people develop the critical thinking skills and confidence to continually challenge their own models, to uncover their own biases”

‘What thwarts us is our lack of a meaningful systems thinking capability ….(which) requires that we listen with respect and empathy to others. It requires the curiosity to keep asking those “why” questions. It requires the humility we need to learn and the courage we need to lead, though all our maps are wrong”

One person I really like is John Kelly [EDIT: MEANT TO SAY GEORGE KELLY]. Though not coming from a schema background, his notion of constructs is essentially the same. I mentioned him in the thread on open mindedness (if I knew how I would post the link). His ideas are rich and complex and he understands just how interconnected emotions and schemas are.

If it were really so easy to change people's schemas then you would be a Christian by now :D Seriously, though, think about the role played in your life by your 'atheist' schema. If you were to change your schema of God and your self schema of atheist, how would this change 'you'? And if you even contemplate changing your self schema from atheist to Christian, what emotions are provoked?

This is why Max Planck said:
A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents, but rather because its opponents die and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it
Max Planck 1936 The Philosophy of Physics
 
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fullerene

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wow I'm stealing that for my signature, if you and Planck don't mind too much. That's fantastic.
 

eudemonia

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I love that quote too - its both hilarious and deadly serious. Max says 'go for it':D
 

zxc

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I don't know anything about Schema theory, but those simulations were quite good at demonstrating how S, N, T and F work.
 

EloquentBohemian

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One person I really like is John Kelly. Though not coming from a schema background, his notion of constructs is essentially the same. I mentioned him in the thread on open mindedness (if I knew how I would post the link). His ideas are rich and complex and he understands just how interconnected emotions and schemas are.
Do you mean George Kelly, the author of The Psychology of Personal Constructs published in 1955?
 

eudemonia

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How embarrassing yes! It was late last night andI was rushing. I know a John Kelly!
 
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