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Schemas as Social Knowledge

15 February, 2016 - 10:55

The outcome of learning is knowledge, and this knowledge is stored in the form of schemas, which are knowledge representations that include information about a person, group, or situation. In the brain, our schemas reside primarily in the prefrontal cortex the part of the brain that lies in front of the motor areas of the cortex and that helps us remember the characteristics and actions of other people, plan complex social behaviors, and coordinate our behaviors with those of others (Mitchell, Mason, Macrae, & Banaji, 2006). The prefrontal cortex is the “social” part of the brain. It is also the newest part of the brain, evolutionarily speaking, and has enlarged as the social relationships among humans have become more frequent, important, and complex. Demonstrating its importance in social behaviors, people with damage to the prefrontal cortex are likely to experience changes in social behaviors, including memory, personality, planning, and morality (Koenigs et al., 2007).

Figure 2.6 The prefrontal cortex is the area of the brain that stores information about people and our interactions with them.