When people meet, they form impressions of each other based on their cognitive schemas. People use cognitive schemas to organize information about the world. Cognitive schemas help to access information quickly and easily.
Social schemas are mental models that represent and categorize social events and people. For example, certain social schemas tell people what it means to be a spectator at a baseball game. There are also social schemas for categories of people, such as yuppie or geek. These social schemas affect how people perceive events and others. Once a social schema is activated, it may be difficult to adjust a perception of a person or event.