In our daily life, unconsciously we are tremendously influenced by schema. And we cannot not avoid having schema because its so natural and inevitable. So, what is Schema?
Schemas are mental structure that play its role as mental representations about the world. The information that we acquire (based from observations, own experience or other people's experience that we see, hear or feel) from the world will be organized by the mind and create schemas.
The schemas will remain as mental representation and has its own network in the mind. When new information is found, schemas will be activated and help us to understand the world better and faster. However, schemas that are created in our mind could be conscious and unconsciously aware by us.
There are many types of schemas. Schemas created in the mind are categorized accordingly to its own themes and functions that are easy for the mind to access the information when needed. Some of the schemas are as follows:
Schemas about objects:
Schemas about objects are the the information we have about objects around us. Object is referred as anything that can support us with information to form schemas. Examples of object schema are such as credit cards, advertisements, manual instructions, shopping mall and many others. In relation to the present situation, when alternative media (internet, mms, sms) is getting popular among Malaysian youth, advertisement company begin to think ways to lure their attention.
Porter and Lewis (2010) instance, found that advertising featuring in the online game could trigger the awareness of the targeted advertisement. Even though the advertisement in the on-line game may look trivial for some people, but it does effect the youth. This is because the schema formed in the mind is associated with the game (eg: the soccer on-line game with sports' wear brands).
For instance, my son's PS2 (PlayStation 2) soccer game, I observed brands such as ADIDAS, NIKE, Redbull, and 100Plus – thus, now I can relate why he only wants NIKE shoes, drink 100Plus and always asking about 'what is energy drink?'.
The object schema has 'implanted' in his mind while he is playing the PS2. The object we see indirectly give impact to the brain to store the information as schema which later on will be used by us (unconsciously) in the future.
Thus, schema object is very common and we are unaware that we are being manipulated particularly by the advertising companies so our brain will indirectly command us what to 'do', to 'follow' and to 'feel'.
Schemas about ourselves
Schemas about ourselves is also referred as 'self-schemata'. The self schemata includes the personality (eg: artistics, enterprising) appearances (eg: related to body image) and behavior (aggressive, sensitive, caring).
The most current popular self schema that can be observed in present situation is body image among teenagers. This is perhaps due to the vast exposure to the western culture about being slim, tall and beautiful face.
During the last festive season (Hari Raya Eidul Fitri), I can see that young teenagers prefer to wear tight cloths that show their body shape with high heels. In fact, children as young as 7 years old have use high heels style shoes.
The concept that has been shown in media particularly what is represent 'true and ideal beauty' in women has become a 'self schemata' to the audiences. The ideal appearances and body image do influence the way teenagers in their shopping styles (Jung, Lennon & Rudd, 2010).
Sometimes, from my observation, schema about ourselves could be deceiving because it may and may not suitable for us. Clear example is that when we go for shopping, we see the mannequins with beautiful dresses and when we bought the same dress, and put on us, it does not look as beautiful as in the mannequins.
Thus, it is important for us not to be deceived by our eyes, and schemas in the mind because sometimes it may not true.
Schemas about other people
Person schema is schemas about other people concerning their traits, common behavior and types of people they represent. This type of schema normally occurs toward individual who carries certain status or attributes that we give them.
Normally we use our little knowledge to make generalization about other people. It is how we perceive other people and try to make sense about them. Example of person schema are our schema about people based on their race, belief system, sex, age or even country.
In our present, person schema is obviously can be observed when we refer to the aging process. We tend to have our own schema about old people. We said that old people like to nag, repeatedly say the same thing over and over again, forgetful, overly sensitive, self-centered and many other attributes. These attributes are created in our mind without we realizing it. And sadly, not all elderly or old people will possess such attributes.
In the light of schema towards old people, there is association between age and chronic illness which diminishing the well-being of the elderly (Lacruz et al, 2010). However, studies on successful aging demonstrates that even the old people may have chronic diseases but they still can be happy and highlight positive attirbutes (Pruchno et al, 2010)
Schemas about groups of people
Role schema or schemas about group of people is when the information we have are based on the people and their typical behavior in certain situation. There are many types of role schema, such as a role as mother, father, student, teacher, salesman and others.
For example, if we refer to a person who is a teacher, we normally would say that the person has various good personalities and behaviors. The society put the qualities in them of what they should behave and react.
Teachers, for instance, to many of us are wise, clever, good spouse, tolerant, will have brilliant children, and many others. This is because the information we gather at earlier stage is always positive and finally we create a schema about teachers, and as the brain starts its own network in the mind, we automatically link to his/her profession/career.
We also regards the profession as educator (teacher) is noble and hold certain social status in the community. Furthermore the profession as teacher is seen as good-income profession because teachers are not only paid by the government, but teachers can get side-income by giving home-tuition to the pupil, without neglecting personal responsibilities at home.
They are the person that we have to respect and adore. That is why (I think) once you are called as 'teacher' (cikgu), even though you are no longer working as a teacher, people will keep on calling you 'teacher' (cikgu).
Abd-El-Fattah (2010) for instance, found that teachers are individuals that are motivated not only by the internal factors (eg:interest) but also the external factors (salary, reward). He also found that female teachers experience higher job-satisfaction compared to male teachers.
This research also stated that the career as teachers has weight more for female compared to male due to its nature of job, responsibilities and commitment. These qualities are given by us to the profession as teachers.
In the nutshell, role schema is vital for the society to hold up certain qualities an responsibilities. Sometimes, the role schema could help people become a better person just because to fulfill the qualities that the society has built up.
Schemas about events
Event schema or schemas about events (scripts) is basically about the knowledge about the expected sequence of event. It is when we already know what to do when the time comes or at particular situation. There are many examples on event schema that is happening around us.
For example, if we go to the bank, to bank in some money, we already know what to do (such as filling the form, take the que-number, wait to be called, present the fill-up form to the counter, and take the receipt from the teller, its done!), to the restaurant, post-office, petrol station and many others.
I want take a simple situation, when we go and visit the public hospital for instance. We already anticipate that the time will take longer than a day, thus we have to take a leave or request a 'time-slip' or get 'medical certificate' from the doctor,we will be treated badly if we do not dress-up, we will be given paracetamol for all kind of illnesses and we have to wait hours at the waiting area, and the doctor only spend time with us less than 10 minutes.
To conclude, schema about event is depending on the event or situation that certain incidences happen and the incidences give greater impact to once live which finally will create schema about the event and will be used as short cut by the mind in the situation related to it.
In conclusion, schema can play such a big role for us. It is important for us to understand the concept of schema especially when raising our own children, so that they could develop correct, appropriate, and logic schema which later on will help them to understand the world better.
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