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Cognition: Schemas and Scripts

  • By: Esther Calvete
  • In: Encyclopedia of Media Violence
  • Edited by: Matthew S. Eastin
  • Subject:Mass Communication, Aggression & Violence, Violence & Society

Humans use cognitions to give meaning to their social world. Cognitions play a determinant role in interpreting situations, remembering the past, and guiding our behavior. Although in general, this process is adaptive, cognitions are sometimes dysfunctional, leading to behavioral problems such as aggressive behaviors. This entry describes the concept of schemas and some of the modalities of schemas that are relevant to understanding aggressive behavior, including person schemas, self-schemas, normative beliefs about aggression, relational schemas, and scripts.

The Concept of Schemas

Schemas are conceptualized as mental structures that contain expectations and general category knowledge—that is, knowledge about certain kinds of objects that we believe to be grouped together. This may include general expectations about oneself, others, social roles, and events. The theory of schemas suggests that ...

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