Pub. date: 2011 | Online Pub. Date: October 04, 2011 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412994163 | Print ISBN: 9781412959636 | Online ISBN: 9781412994163| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
A schema (plural schemata ) in the field of social science represents a person's mental structure used to organize current knowledge about the world and to guide cognitive processes and behavior. In this way, we use schemata to categorize objects and events, based on their elements and characteristics, to interpret and predict the world. While evaluating the world, new information is being processed according to how it fits into the mental structures, or rules. In the field of social science, and particularly in cognitive science, we retrieve knowledge from various areas, such as artificial intelligence, with the main goal of developing simplified mental structures about our knowledge to draw conclusions about missing or nonevidential information, such as during decision making or political evaluation. Examples of schemata include rubrics, social roles, stereotypes, and worldviews. This entry discusses meanings and the use of schemata, as well as their application to social science. ...