Up Learn – A Level Psychology (AQA) – approaches to psychology (Ao1)
When an experience matches our schema, we say it is assimilated into our schema. And when we remember the experience, we might change details to match our schema. On the other hand, when an experience doesn’t match our schema, we must accommodate our schema to make sense of this new experience.
More videos on Approaches to Psychology (AO1):
Approaches to Psychology (AO1)
Last time, we saw that schemas are…
Schemas are mental frameworks built up from our past experiences.
And schemas affect…
Schemas affect our expectations and our behaviour.
For instance, this is Finley. After years of going to see live sport with his dad, Finley has a schema that tells him that, at live sport, everyone makes a lot of noise, insults the opposition, and eats pies. [show Fin thinking these]
So, what would Finley expect the next time he went to a football game?
Finley would expect the football game to follow his schema of live sport. And so, he would know that he was supposed to yell and buy a pie. [stimulus (football) → sport schema → behaviour (yell, pie)]
Now, when Finley turns up at the football match, he sees exactly what he expected – everyone’s standing there, shouting at the opposition, with a pie in hand.
So, Finley gets more information telling him that his schema is correct, and he incorporates this new information into his schema!
Now, when a new experience matches our schema, and is incorporated into our schema, we say it is assimilated into our schema.
And, now that Finley has assimilated this experience into his schema, he will be even more sure that all live sport will involve this [the schema].
So, he’ll know that next time, he should act like this [the behaviour]
So now, which of the following would be assimilated into a schema?
In these cases, the new information matches the schema, so the information would be assimilated.
But in these cases, the new information doesn’t match the schema, so the information wouldn’t be assimilated.
Now, suppose Finley is invited to go see a cricket match.
When Finley goes to the cricket match, he expects it to match his schema for live sports.
And, when he gets there, he finds that, everyone’s yelling and insulting the opposing fielders, as he expected.
However, this time, no-one is actually eating pies.
Now, because the experience mostly matches Finley’s schema, it would still be assimilated into his schema.
And, when he remembers the experience, he might wrongly assume that everyone was eating pies…
Because that’s what his schema says happens at live sports!
So, when we remember an experience, we may change some of the details in order to easily assimilate the experience into our schema.
But, then, Finley goes to Wimbledon, and everyone is sitting very quietly and eating strawberries. This…
This experience doesn’t match his schema for live sport at all!
Finley is very confused! This is completely different from all of his past experiences with sport.
So, Finley needs to change his schema to match this new information.
He now thinks: tennis matches are different from other types of sport
Now, when we change our schema to match new information, we call it accommodation.
So, Finley accommodated his schema to match his new experience.
And so, we can say that through assimilation and accommodation, schemas help us to interpret new experiences…either as matching our schema [assimilation], or being different from our schema [accommodation]
So now, when Sophie meets a cat who is fluffy and friendly – just like her “cat schema” – the experience is…
Here, the experience is assimilated into Sophie’s schema.
But, if she meets a cat who doesn’t have any fur…this doesn’t match her schema, so she gets really confused. She needs to…
She needs to accommodate her cat schema…..cats are friendly and fluffy or not fluffy.
So, now, do these involve assimilation or accommodation?
This involves assimilation…
This involves accommodation…
And this involves both assimilation and accommodation!
So, to sum up…
To sum up, when an experience matches our schema, we say it is assimilated into our schema.
And when we remember the experience, we might change details to match our schema.
Whereas, when an experience doesn’t match our schema, we must accommodate our schema to make sense of this new experience.