Who are the 7 Proponents of the Schema Theory?

When it comes to our brains, we have the idea that they are very complex and complicated. Our brains are constantly changing and evolving as we learn new things and grow older. In the past, the brain was thought to be a static thing. 

However, a new theory called schema theory has emerged which suggests that our brains are actually structured by schemas which are mental models of how the world works. These mental models are constantly changing and adapting as we learn new things and grow older. In this article, we will learn about schema from the 7 proponents of this theory.

Who are the 7 Proponents of the Schema Theory?

The following are the 7  Proponents of the Schema Theory:

  • Jean Piaget (1896-1980)
  • F. C. Bartlett (1932)
  • David Rumelhart (1975)
  • Roger Schank and Abelson (1977)
  • Brewer and Treyens (1981)
  • Alba and Hasher (1983)
  • John R. Anderson (1983)

What is Schema Theory?

The theory of schema theory is the idea that humans form mental schemas that shape their perceptions of the world. Schemas can be positive or negative, and they can be specific or general. 

Schemas are the fundamental building blocks of our cognition. They are the mental structures that organize, structure, and guide our thoughts and perceptions. 

Schemas are also referred to as schemata, schemata, or schemata. Schemas are often unconscious and can be activated by external stimuli.

When we learn something new, we create a schema that organizes the information for easy retrieval. This process is automatic and unconscious, so it is a lot like riding a bike. 

Schemas are highly dependent on contextual cues, which means that they change when the context changes. Schemas are like blueprints that guide our thinking and behavior. They are not just limited to the way we think about ourselves, but also how we think about other people, objects, and events.

This is why it is so important to have a working memory and actively engage in the process of creating schemas because your schema’s effectiveness will be greatly enhanced.

Jean Piaget (1896-1980)

Jean Piaget’s schema theory is a theory that explains the development of the human mind. Jean Piaget was a Swiss psychologist who studied children’s cognitive development and showed how children develop their understanding of the world through a series of stages. 

These stages are called “schemas.” Schemas are mental structures that guide behavior and thought. They are also the basis for our understanding of reality. For example, when a child is born, they have a schema for what it means to be alive and what it means to be a human being. 

These schemas can evolve over time and shape our perceptions of the world. This theory states that children develop their thinking skills through four stages: sensorimotor, preoperational, concrete operational, and formal operational. 

The sensorimotor stage is when children are still developing their senses, such as sight and hearing. The preoperational stage is when children have developed the ability to think logically and are able to use symbols. 

The concrete operational stage is when children are able to understand the logic of things and can reason abstractly. The final stage is the formal operational stage, which is when children are able to reason with abstractions and think about consequences.

F. C. Bartlett (1932)

F. C. Bartlett, a professor at Columbia University, hypothesized that people have a limited number of “schemas” that they use to remember procedural memories. 

The schemas are the mental structures that the person uses to make sense of the world and the events that happen in it. In this paper, he argues that memories are stored in a certain order and that procedural memories are not stored in the same way as declarative memories. 

For example, if you were asked to remember a list of words, you would probably be able to recall them in a linear manner. If you were asked to remember a list of procedural memories, such as riding a bike or tying your shoes, you would have to replay them in your head in a different order than the list you were given.

“As soon as the task was learned, the knowledge of how to do it was stored in memory, which is known as procedural memory.”

– F. C. Bartlett

David Rumelhart (1975)

David Rumelhart proposed the idea of an underlying grammar of stories in 1975. He argued that there is an underlying grammar that is used in our understanding of stories and this would help us understand narratives that do not follow a familiar structure. 

Rumelhart argued that there are three types of stories: “narrative,” “procedural,” and “iconic.” He also argued that these three types of stories have different underlying grammar, which helps us understand the structure of the story.

Roger Schank and Abelson (1977)

In 1977, Roger Schank and Robert Abelson published a paper in Psychological Review that proposed that humans develop a grammar for procedural knowledge or knowledge of how to do something. 

They argued that procedural knowledge is not directly represented in the brain as a set of neural circuits and that instead, it is represented in the form of an internal grammar. 

The paper suggests that this grammar can be broken down into three parts: descriptions of the procedures, representations of the procedures, and rules for performing the procedures.

Brewer and Treyens (1981)

A study conducted by Brewer and Treyens (1981) shows that most people’s schemas of “office” include books. They surveyed over 10,000 workers in the United States and found that “books” was the most common schema for “office.” 

They also found that people who had more than one schema for “office” were more likely to have a “workplace” schema as well.

Alba and Hasher (1983)

According to Alba and Hasher (1983), there are four ways in which schemas might affect memory. The first is by guiding attention to relevant information. 

When people are exposed to the same information over and over again, they will start to remember it better. The second way in which schemas might affect memory is by providing a structure for memory retrieval. 

Third, schemas can provide information that is needed to make sense of new information. The fourth way in which schemas might affect memory is by creating a framework for interpreting events.

John R. Anderson (1983)

John R. Anderson (1983) formulated a model of cognition know

n as ACT-R (Adaptive Control of Thought-Rational) This model is based on the idea that there are three basic functions of cognition: situation awareness, control of attention, and goal setting. 

The model also suggests that people have three types of cognitive abilities: declarative, procedural, and creative. The model of cognition is used in many different fields such as education, psychology, and computer science.


Schemas are a huge part of our lives and they can be incredibly helpful in navigating our world. However, the more we know, the bigger and more complex our schemas become. In order to keep up with all of the information, it’s important to use your schemas to learn new things.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): Who are the 7 Proponents of the Schema Theory?

Why is schema theory important?

Schema theory is important because it is a psychological theory that states that people have a pre-existing mental map of how they think the world works. These schemas dictate the way people interpret and respond to the world around them.

How does schema theory help students?

Schema theory is a theory of how memory works and how our memories are formed. It helps students learn by having them create mental images of the information they are learning. This helps students to remember the information better and more easily.

What is another name for schema?

Other words for schema are outline, framework, and model. These three words are all synonyms for schema and are used interchangeably in many contexts.


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Widmayer, S. A. (2004). Schema theory: An introduction. Retrieved December, 26, 2004

McVee, M. B., Dunsmore, K., & Gavelek, J. R. (2005). Schema theory revisited. Review of educational research, 75(4), 531-566.

A Complete Guide to Schema Theory and its Role in Education. Retrieved July 14, 2022, from https://www.educationcorner.com/schema-theory/

The Role of a Schema in Psychology – Simply Psychology. Retrieved from https://www.simplypsychology.org/what-is-a-schema.html