Schemas are cognitive framework or concepts that help us to organize and interpret information. The plural of Schema is Schemata (UK) or Schemas (USA). Schemas are also known as mental images or concepts, mental representations and knowledge structures. We use mental structure to organize and simplify our knowledge of the world around us. We have schemas about ourselves, other people, and the world. In fact, we have schemas for almost everything.

Basically schemas are routine ways in which we see things. For example one individual focuses on issue of achievement, another on fears of being abandoned and someone else on issues regarding rejection.

talhaa1Muhammad Talha Khalidhas been working as a Clinical Psychologist at Willingways since Feb, 2016. His education is M.S Clinical Psychology from International Islamic University, Islamabad, Pakistan. He did his M.Sc. Psychology from University of Sargodha with 3rd position in the university. He has successfully done two individually based projects which are, Non-Formal education program (Punjab Literacy Movement Project) for Clients of Substance Use & Manipulation of “Token Economy” system for Behavior Modification” in Mian Afzal Trust Hospital, Gujranwala.

Editor: Ms. Hameeda Batool

Types of schema include:

  • Person schemas are about individual people.
  • Idealized person schemas are called prototypes. The word is also used for any generalized schema.
  • Self-schemas are about self. We also hold idealized or projected selves, or possible selves.
  • Social schemas are about general social knowledge.
  • Role schemas are about proper behaviors in given situations.
  • Trait schemas about the innate characteristics people have.
  • Event schemas (or scripts) are about what happens in specific situations.
  • Object schemas about inanimate things and how they work.


Schemas influence what we observe, how we understand things and how we make decisions and do actions. They act like filters, highlight and downplay various elements. They help us to classify things and predicting what will happen. Schemas also help us to remember and recall things, by using them to ‘encode’ memories.

Schemas help us fill in the gaps. When a schema is created or accepted, then the individual will fight hard to sustain it, by ignoring or force-fitting observations that do not follow the schema, for example. They are often shared within cultures, allowing short-cut communications. We tend to have favorite schema which we use often. While understanding the world, we try to use those schemas first, going on to others if they do not adequately fit.