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A meta-decision model of schema development

Scott Ford Van Manen, University of Massachusetts Amherst


This dissertation presents a three-phase model of schema development. In this model, each phase starts with an implicit decision about the adequacy of the schema, called a "meta-decision." Phase 1 (decision formation) starts with the meta-decision that a new schema is needed to reach a goal or serve a purpose. The main task of Phase 1 is forming or identifying a potentially adequate candidate schema. Once the person meta-decides that such a schema has been found, the person enters Phase 2 (decision consolidation). During this phase, the person engages in confirmatory testing of the adequacy of the schema. If the person meta-decides that the adequacy of the schema is confirmed, the person enters Phase 3 (decision dis-investment). During this phase, the person utilizes the schema, as evidenced by improved ability to process new relevant information. The dissertation reviews research and theories that relate to the model. Finally, the dissertation presents new research which tests some predictions of the model.

Subject Area

Cognitive therapy|Social psychology|Developmental psychology

Recommended Citation

Van Manen, Scott Ford, "A meta-decision model of schema development" (1997). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI9737591.