Cognitive Organization of Information: Scripts, Schemas, and Mental Models

The mental lexicon and information organization/access

  • procedural knowledge (knowing "how") versus declarative knowledge (knowing "what"); procedural knowledge can be non-verbal
  • semantic memory (topic, definitions, "textbook knowledge") versus episodic memory (experience, history, "expert knowledge"),
  • investigating the mental lexicon: observing malfunctions (tip of the tongue phenomenon, slips), word association tests, experiments, patients with brain damage (stroke patients, aphasia, split-brain patients), MRI

    Scripts and schemata

  • Bartlett (1932): "schema" is a structured knowledge area in the long term memory
  • Minsky (1974): "frames" are data structures for stereotyped situations
  • Rumelhart (1984): "schema" is a data structure for representing generic concepts stored in memory; schemata provide a script for concepts; they provide guidance for interpretation, comprehension, recognition, perception, remembering and learning
  • Schank (1975): "scripts" are performed sequences of actions; they provide language free representations of meaning

    Example: Schank's restaurant script

    1) actor goes to restaurant
    2) actor is seated
    3) actor orders meal from waiter
    4) waiter brings meal to actor
    5) actor eats meal
    6) actor gives money to waiter
    7) actor leaves restaurant