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Research Article

Het Schema-Begrip in de Hedendaagse Geheugentheorie


André Vandierendonck

Departement Psychologie H. Dunantlaan 2 9000 Gent, BE
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[The Schema Concept in Current Theories of Memory]


The schema concept, alternatively indicated as script, frame, proposition, procedure or prototype, has aroused much interest in recent years. The present paper examines the value of these conceptions for the study of human memory. Schemata are knowledge structures residing in the long-term memory store. They contain packages of fixed and variable knowledge. Under certain circumstances such a schema can be identified as being applicable to the current situation. This means that the fixed knowledge part and most of the variable features of the schema match the situation. For the study of human memory the schema-hypothesis suggests two important questions: a. how do schemata affect memory storage and retrieval; b. how and under which conditions do schemata come into existence or do they become modified? As far as the first question is concerned, several models have been developed stating how schematic information is used to support memory storage and retrieval. These models are discussed with respect to their predictive power, and it is concluded that only the attention-elaboration and the schema copy + tag model yield reasonable fits, although neither of them explains all the data. Regarding the second question, some of the responsible mechanisms have been implemented in artificially intelligent programs. This work is briefly discussed. The paper concludes with an overview of some implications for the study of memory, and the functioning of schemata in some domains of applications, viz. communication, eye-witness testimony, and learning to program.

How to Cite: Vandierendonck, A., 1986. Het Schema-Begrip in de Hedendaagse Geheugentheorie. Psychologica Belgica, 26(2), pp.161–183. DOI:
Published on 01 Jan 1986.
Peer Reviewed


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