Scripts & Frames

"It seems to me that the ingredients of most theories both in Artificial Intelligence and in Psychology have been on the whole too minute, local, and unstructured to account -- either practically or phenomenologically -- for the effectiveness of common-sense thought. The 'chunks' of reasoning, language, memory, and 'perception' ought to be larger and more structured; their factual and procedural contents must be more intimately connected in order to explain the apparent power and speed of mental activities. ... I try here to bring together several of these issues by pretending to have a unified, coherent theory. The paper raises more questions than it answers, and I have tried to note the theory's deficiencies.

Here is the essence of the theory: When one encounters a new situation (or makes a substantial change in one's view of the present problem) one selects from memory a structure called a Frame. This is a remembered framework to be adapted to fit reality by changing details as necessary.

A frame is a data-structure for representing a stereotyped situation, like being in a certain kind of living room, or going to a child's birthday party."

 - from A Framework for Representing Knowledge. By Marvin Minsky. MIT- AI Laboratory Memo 306, June, 1974. Reprinted in The Psychology of Computer Vision, P. Winston (Ed.), McGraw-Hill, 1975. Shorter versions in J. Haugeland, Ed., Mind Design, MIT Press, 1981, and in Cognitive Science, Collins, Allan and Edward E. Smith (eds.) Morgan-Kaufmann, 1992.

"In Schank's theory, all memory is episodic, i.e., organized around personal experiences rather than semantic categories. Generalized episodes are called scripts -- specific memories are stored as pointers to scripts plus any unique events for a particular episode. Scripts allow individuals to make inferences needed for understanding by filling in missing information (i.e., schema)."
 - from Script Theory (R. Schank) - Instructional Design



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