Schema Theory and Myers Briggs
Skip this page and go straight to the first schema theory demonstration (intuition).
What is Schema Theory?
Schema Theory describes how we create psychological representations to perceive and understand reality, whether it be reality in the outer world of people and things, or reality in the inner world of the psyche.
According to schema theory, we do not observe any reality directly, but only through a perceptual framework. A psychological schema is the perceptual framework we use to make sense of the world around us.
How does it work?
Everyone has their own personal schema. When they receive a perception, they try to fit it into their own schema. The perceptual framework, plus the context, gives meaning to what we perceive.
For example, suppose you were in a conversation and someone used the word "Speed", what would you think they meant? Could it be:
- the rate at which you move (distance/time)
- going faster than the speed limit
- the film with Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock
- the drug
- Gary Speed, the Welsh footballer
It is likely that some of these would occur to you, but others not.
For example, you may never have heard of the footballer, Gary Speed, but you may be aware of the others. This means that in your psychological schema the word "speed" is connected to a number of different things - rate of movement, the drug, the film. But those things are not necessarily connected, that is you might not immediately associate rate of movement is not necessarily associated with drugs.
A schema is therefore like a network, where different ideas and perceptions are connected in different ways.
Why is it useful?
Schema Theory is important in many areas, such as learning or communication.
For example, if two people have different schemas then they can easily misunderstand each other. When one person says "I like Speed", referring to the footballer, another might think he is saying he likes drugs!
As another example, when we learn we are not able to assimilate information that is too remote from our current understanding. Teachers should use metaphors or illustrations that are closely related to the pupil's own schema rather than the teacher's, so the pupil is able to assimilate the learning.
This web page contains a number of simulations relating to illustrate the relationship between psychological type and the schema theory.
In these simulations, the psychological schema is represented as a series of nodes, and connections between those nodes.
The simulations show what happens when the different Jungian fuctions are used.
To view the simulation, click on the link, and then wait and watch what happens.
The operation of each of the psychological functions (S, N, T and F) is assumed as follows:
- Sensing 'seizes and shapes' entities. This gives entities greater clarity and realism, represented by a node becoming blacker - the more it is shaped, the 'clearer' it becomes, so the blacker it becomes.
- Intuition creates new entities that are not directly connected to the existing schema. However, neither are these entities divorced from it - they are created in 'proximity' to the schema - ie their relation or connection to it is implied (it is an "unconscious" connection).
- Thinking creates conscious connections between entities. This is represented by lines between the nodes. The more effort Thinking puts into building a connection, the blacker it becomes.
- Feeling moves entitites away from the self or draws them closer, depending on their value. This is represented by entities become smaller or larger, to represent moving away or closer.
To see the simulation of each of the functions on the schema, following them through in sequence, starting with: intuition.