How do we organize the information in our mind? Schemes and categories
Every second that we are awake, our senses collect information from the outside and from our internal organs . All this information is not in our brain in a random and chaotic, on the contrary, our brain is a great machine of association that organizes our perception of the world thanks to two cognitive structures: schemes Y categories.
Both are structures that associate and manage the information we receive by providing valuable representations and interpretations of reality, fundamental to guide and guide our behavior towards the objectives we propose.
The cognitive schemes are the cognitive tools that people have to organize knowledge about a concept, be it a person, situation, role or group. The human being has the need to synthesize and organize information. We are not able to integrate everything that comes to us at every moment, so we have to select, simplify and emphasize what is important. But then, under what criteria is this distribution of the information carried out by the schemes carried out? This simplification is in charge of our interests, values, emotions and tastes.
The schemes are activated by situations of daily life. The stimuli activate the scheme, and once activated the scheme fills in the missing information or creates expectations about what is surely going to happen or what is surely something. They are filtering reality.
Having schemes always involves having expectations about how people act and how different events are going to happen . For example, our scheme of a master class implies a series of expectations about how a class will pass, if something new occurred during the course of the class, this new information would activate our attention and would be added as a possible new element in the scheme after a previous break of the scheme since that new information was not in the scheme so it surprises us and we may not know how to react.
There are very schematic subjects who are guided by very few schemes and only use these few to organize all the information and to act. Eg: someone who relates everything to football, and always acts directed and felt this.
Schemes of people
The schemes of people to they organize organized information about the different traits, objectives, motivations and behaviors associated with different types of people. Having schemes of people determines what I expect from each person depending on the label we have established on it. These schemes determine the type of relationship we maintain with others.
Schemes of causality
The causality schemes are c experiences based on how certain types of causes interact to cause an effect. It is a way for our brain to establish associations between acts and consequences, between causes and effects.
The auto schemes are the r Structured presentation of knowledge about oneself . Can be understood as theories that the person has about itself in different areas. That is, cognitive generalizations about oneself.
Schemes of events or situations
The schemes of events or situations they are organized knowledge about a sequence of events that appear in certain situations everyday social They impose a linear-temporal order by representing the sequence of interactions that occur in the scenario. They are shared by people who belong to the same cultural groups.
In psychology, when we talk about categories, we refer to the structures responsible for classifying elements according to their similarity . Categorize simplifies as the categories relate elements.
The elements that share the category are grouped around a prototype that is the element that best represents the category. The prototype can be defined as the most representative specimens of the category, that is, a set of characteristics significantly associated with the members of the category . A cognitive representation of the typical / ideal characteristics that define a category. The assignment of an object, person or social situation to a category is made from its similarity with the prototype.
As we move away from the prototype, the members become increasingly less representative examples of the category.
The consequences of categorizing
Intuitively categorizing people and without taking into account all the information available in the environment, can lead us to fall into the representation bias, which is to classify a person in a social category simply by having attributes that belong to the prototype of that category . Not all those who wear glasses are intellectuals or all those who wear beards are more manly.
Also, according to the paradigm of the Tajfel minimum group, the simple fact of categorizing someone in a social group is a sufficient condition for discriminatory behaviors to occur and to accentuate the similarities between members of the same group and to differentiate between members belonging to different categories. social.
Categorization is a process of social adaptation, but one of the most important consequences of dividing the world into categories (race, age, sex, religion, social groups) is that it gives rise to stereotypes, prejudices and discrimination.
This leads to a conclusion as sad as real that was already postulated by Henri Tajfel in the early 1970s: discriminating is not typical of bad people, but is a human condition by the mere fact of socially categorizing others.