ABSTRACT

In Chapter 2 we described a vignette as a complex representation of an event (e.g., Professor Smith telling John to get out of his office), each component of which (Professor Smith, John and the behavioral act) was a schema, or configuration of verbally and nonverbally encoded attributes. A temporally-related sequence of events was defined as a script. The representation in memory of schemata, vignettes, and scripts, and the processes of accessing them for use in making inferences, are obviously complex. For one thing, the nature of a schema and the attributes comprising it may depend very heavily upon the nature of other schemata in the vignette in which the schema is contained. Several models have been proposed to describe the organization and use of scripts, most notably by Schank and Abelson (1977). Although a discussion of these models is beyond the scope of this volume, it is nevertheless desirable to consider in some detail the possible cognitive organization of information about social stimuli, and the processes involved in retrieving this information for use in making judgments.