Sometimes people spend a lot of their energy thinking, sometimes less effort. When we are asked what we want to do in the future, we spend more time, evaluate the possibilities and try to make our decision. This is a process that requires effort. Once you have been asked this question, the answer formed in your mind will enable you to give a more practical answer when this question is asked the second time.
What is a Schema?
Our brain sometimes organizes some events in our place, organizes the memory with the information it receives from the environment, and offers us menus that we can reach more easily. For example, when I tell you what a chick is, notice a series of thoughts that automatically come to mind. You may have thought of it as yellow, has a beak, has small fur because it is a baby, and even more information that may increase according to your experience. As we can see from this simple example, sometimes more information than we want has taken place in our brains without much effort. Moreover, even if we do not have direct knowledge while performing these, it is enough to be warned about that stimulus once.
Here, we, as social beings, classify the information about the social world and call the mental structures that affect the information they use, think about, are aware of and remember as schemas. Schemas organize our interpretation of what we know and new events that come our way. The concept of schema appears in many places. It includes our knowledge of ourselves or other people, what the requirements of our social roles and those of those people are, or about an event. Of course, although schemas can help us, sometimes the wrong use of schemas can lead to bad results. But our schemas are not immutable.
Self-fulfilling Prophecy: That is, making our schemas concrete from the abstract, turning them into reality.
We said we could change our schemas. If I were to tell you that according to a research conducted in the world right now, it has been proven that 65% of the chicks are not yellow but orange, if you had researched and seen it yourself, would you still think of yellow when I said chick, or would you be a thinker or would you say orange now? It is when people are exposed to such new evidence or see that the old ones are not real, changes in their schemas occur. This way we create a new schema. So schemas don’t always dominate our knowledge, sometimes we also have an effect on them.
We act this way towards a situation or person so that they act as we expect them to, and by doing this consistently, we ensure that expectations are true. As a result of this situation, while the self-fulfilling prophecy is a wrong definition, it suddenly turns the wrong situation into reality. For example, let’s say you think someone is very sullen and self-righteous, with whom you don’t talk in person.
When you meet him, perhaps without realizing it, your face will turn into such a way that you seem to hate him, and then you will pass him without greeting him. Afterwards, you’ll think about how smug he didn’t even give a salute and wait for time to confirm your prophecy. When you meet again, if the person in front of you doesn’t say hello to me after your strange behavior last time, you will have confirmed your prophecy by labeling you as “yes really smug” when you think that I won’t say hello to you either.
Another example is that before you come to the university, the information you received that the professors there are too egoistic when you greet your teacher who passes by you for the first time and you do not realize that he is talking on the phone, you will not receive your greeting, so you will go to the stage of confirming the prophecy. But that’s just “error is your kingdom,” as Robert Merton said. Even if someone tells you that that teacher is not egoistic, you will talk about this incident to show you that you are right by thinking that he has proven it once.
To sum up, the fast and effortless schemas that occur under automatic thinking are good aspects, but sometimes it can cause us to reach wrong conclusions about the world we live in without realizing it. Or we can try to confirm things that aren’t, by influencing our schemas by what we think about. I hope this article will help you think more about our diagrams and become more aware of your actions to fulfill your prophecies. Because, as George Elliot said, divination is the most arbitrary form of error. The results may not always be pleasant.