Name: Anelsa Duquesnay
Student number: D1385944
Discuss whether the idea of social schemas has helped psychologists to understand social perception.
Social Psychology views society as a social entity that consists of many social factors such as people, events and issues. These issues are measured and or evaluated by psychologists. This fosters greater understanding of social issues and insight into the process of how the human mind works. Research and experimental methods are pivotal to the work of social psychologists it builds on previous findings and challenges others. One such area of investigation is the idea that people’s social perceptions are governed by cognitive structures known as schema. These cognitive structures, process, retain and forms a person’s perception based on prior knowledge and experiences. This essay will focus on the idea of social schema and how it has helped psychologists to understand social perception.
Fritz Heider an Austrian born Psychologists has made valuable contributions in the area of social cognition theory. He argued that “in order to understand social behaviour we must pay attention to how people perceive and struggle to make sense of their social worlds, usually in terms of cause and effect” (Miell, Phoenix and Thomas, 2007). This supports the argument that prior knowledge and experiences gained from our social environment influences the way in which people and situations are perceived due to possessing similar general characteristics further evidence of this can be seen in an experiment that Heider and Simmel conducted. This study used 3 geometrical cartoon shapes placed around a larger rectangular shape that had one side that opens like a door on a hinge. There were three groups with a total of forty participants. The first group was asked to write a description of what they saw and the other two were told to describe the movements of the object as that of people. Interestingly the...