Human Mental Activity Schemas and Automatic Processes Essay

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  6
Wordcount:  1530 Words
Date:  2022-10-20

At the top of the human mental activity is the process of thinking which leads to the accomplishments and advancement of humans. The mental processes bring together the information to allow various parts of the brain to link into something comprehensible. Thus, the mental process that enables the brain to create comprehension is what defines the greatness of the mind of the human (Anderson, & Pearson, 1984). Mental processes can be described in multiple aspects depending on how these processes happen. Schemas and automatic processes are among most familiar mental processes human brain undergoes.

Is your time best spent reading someone else’s essay? Get a 100% original essay FROM A CERTIFIED WRITER!

The automatic process involves involuntary, unintentional, nonconscious, and relatively effortless involvement of the human brain in thinking. Automatic thinking is like muscle memory that applies when someone thinks of doing something that one has been doing over and over again. One is sure of successfully finishing something he wants to be done without giving it any thought. Automatic processing, however, does not require one to pay attention or deliberately put in any effort. Schemas form part of the automatic processing thus, the two work hand in hand. Schemas represent the mental structure of the ideas that have already been conceived thus provides a framework within which some aspects of the world are represented. Thus, through schemas, behavioral or thought patterns are defined that in turn organizes informational categories and their relationships (Anderson, & Pearson, 1984). Thus, schemas form part of the system which helps in organizing and perceiving new information. This is possible since schemas have adaptive features that allow the continuity provision at the same time enables the human brain to relate new experiences to old experiences. They have the capacity of influencing the absorption of new information and attention thus making it easier to notice things that fit in the schemas.

Relying on schemas and automatic processes are beneficial to the cognitive processes of the human brain in general. It is true since schemas help in the quick organization of the complex world around human beings which otherwise one would not have tacked in the first place. People applying the current schemas are more likely to pay attention to the things which they fit in at the time. This allows them to create new perceptions and organize them into schemas as quickly as possible. They then compare the newfound perceptions with the old or existing experiences to have a conclusive decision (Baldwin, 1992). The process is all quick most of the situations do not require thinking complexity when using the schemas but only require automatic thoughts. Thus, by creating the link between the new experiences and the old experiences, schemas assist in the reduction of the ambiguity within the environment a person exists. In situations where the risks are high, schemas allow the human brains to make quick decisions to avoid the danger involved in the situation.

Schemas enable people to minimize the cognitive effort especially in situations where they encounter information that is ambiguous. In these situations, they provide the cognitive structure that enables the interpretation of the information that is confusing. Schemas are strong such that they influence the information that people tend to attend to and remember. People have more capacity of more likely to notice and recall information which fits the schemas they have. This is contrary to the information that does not match the schemas that they have. In the situations where the information received is ambiguous, people tend to distort it in certain ways so that it fits in the schemas that are existing. By reconstructing the memory, the process allows the filling of gaps in the memory which are consistent with the schemas they have. Thus, in all manner of ways, schemas are essential depending on what people have at the time and allows adopting strategies that help people to prepare.

Automatic processes among them; unconscious thinking have been found helpful in the sense that they have resulted in better decision-making. This happens in critical situations, and very little or no effort is required or used. Automatic processes use a minimal level of attention capacity since they do not need constant monitoring or conscious guidance. The reason makes these processes as faster and efficient as possible. In most cases, the automatic behaviors occur mindlessly and often pop out in contexts that are not appropriate which sometimes turns out to be the most beneficial ways. Automatic processes as well are beneficial in the sense that they save on the time that would otherwise be spent on planning every step of doing things. Once the automatic processes occur, they allow the brain to facilitate familiar and comfortable interaction of people with the environment. It happens following the fact that people keep on doing the same things that give particular experience making them learn that something is likely to occur in different situations.

On the other hand, schemas and automatic processes have their own drawbacks that are strong enough to limit the benefits they offer. Even though relying on heuristics is relatively good, such heavily reliance may result in the information or judgment that is not accurate. This is the case since relying on the representativeness and availability makes it difficult that someone may not want to find further about the information. Also, automaticity tends to rely on schemas such as stereotypes has the high possibility of leading to decisions that are inaccurate. Elsewhere, the process of monitoring in thought suppression is automatic which leaves it not checked by a controlled process. In this situation, it is possible to have the thought that a person wished to avoid becoming dominant and one cannot prevent it. Hence, schemas only notice the information that fits regardless of whether one wants to have the information or not. Another limitation linked to schemas is that changing the existing schemas is difficult and any information that does not fit the schema is dismissed regardless of its usefulness.

Thus, from the context, regardless of the automatic occurrence of use of schemas in learning and the little effort involved, learning new information that might be essential is hindered. For instance, schemas such as prejudice limit the ability of people to view the world in its actual context. Thus, people are inhibited in their effort to take in new information as they see the world from an ideal situation. The existing schema in a way holds certain beliefs about some given group of people. In this sense, people tend and prefer to misinterpret situations. Thus, in situations when an event which tends to challenge the existing beliefs happens, it causes people to come up with alternative explanations (Huesmann, 1998). The nature of these explanations is to support and uphold the existing schema rather than changing their current beliefs or adopting new beliefs. This has worked well for gender expectations and stereotypes where schema exists for everyone for feminine and masculine in their culture.

Similar to schemas, automatic processes are the risk in multiple areas especially in the lives of people, and this defines the drawbacks associated with these processes. The risks involved range from making of errors that are costly at the places of work to dangers that beckon people in their day to day lives. It happens in situations where the actions of people become habitual and routine courses (Norman, & Shallice, 1986). It becomes possible that people will neglect to take precautions since they find the usual happening occurrence. Thus, automatic processes involve having similar ways of thinking about things the same way over and over again. This results in making a specified thinking way becoming the default for the human brain. This poses a situation that is the risk that will lead to people avoiding ideal solutions to the real problems as they are fixed to a particular outcome in the specific situation.


Thus, in conclusion, we can admit that it is all evidence that human brain activities are the main determinant of what one does. The various processes enable it within the human brain and the capacities of these processes to influence some activities. Schemas and automatic processes are functional mental activities that determine the greatness of the human brain. These process program the brain to work in a specific direction with or without intentional involvement. However, they depict various benefits and shortcomings. Some of the benefits involved include helping people find quick solutions in given environmental situations. At the same time, they help reduce the ambiguity that may come with the given environment. On the other hand, schemas and automatic processes have drawbacks such making inaccurate decisions and judgments as a result of relying on particular similar situations. Also, the monitoring of the thought suppression process is not checked at all and changing the existing schemas is difficult.


Anderson, R. C., & Pearson, P. D. (1984). A schema-theoretic view of basic processes in reading comprehension. Handbook of reading research, 1, 255-291.

Baldwin, M. W. (1992). Relational schemas and the processing of social information. Psychological bulletin, 112(3), 461.

Huesmann, L. R. (1998). The role of social information processing and cognitive schema in the acquisition and maintenance of habitual aggressive behavior. In Human aggression (pp. 73-109).

Norman, D. A., & Shallice, T. (1986). Attention to action. In Consciousness and self-regulation (pp. 1-18). Springer, Boston, MA.

Cite this page

Human Mental Activity Schemas and Automatic Processes Essay. (2022, Oct 20). Retrieved from

Free essays can be submitted by anyone,

so we do not vouch for their quality

Want a quality guarantee?
Order from one of our vetted writers instead

If you are the original author of this essay and no longer wish to have it published on the ProEssays website, please click below to request its removal:

didn't find image

Liked this essay sample but need an original one?

Hire a professional with VAST experience!

24/7 online support

NO plagiarism