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What is a Schema?

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Updated December 04, 2013

Definition: The term "schema" is used in psychology to refer to a mental framework that allows you to make sense of aspects of your environment. Schemas enable you to interact with your environment in an automatic manner without effortful thought. For example, you may have developed a schema that salespeople are pushy. We tend to look for information that supports our schemas while discarding information that contradicts them. Schemas involving a negative view of oneself are often an underlying problem in Social Anxiety Disorder.

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