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.
For the past ten years we have been working on the problem of getting a computer to understand natural language. We built an early version of a parser that mapped from English into a language-free representation of the meaning of input sentences (Schank and Tesler, 1969). Simultaneously we worked on the meaning representation itself. We developed Conceptual Dependency which represents meaning as a network of concepts independent of the actual words that might be used to express those concepts (Schank, 1969). Over the years the parser and the representation evolved as we began to understand the complexity of the problem with which we were dealing.
... we began to program a computer understanding system thatwould attempt to process input texts. An item crucial to our ability to accomplishthis task was what we called a script. A script is a frequently repeated causalchain of events that describes a standard situation. In understanding, when it ispossible to notice that one of these standard event chains has been initiated,then it is possible to understand predictively. That is, if we know we are in arestaurant then we can understand where an "order" fits with what we justheard, who might be ordering what from whom, what preconditions (menu,sitting down) might have preceded the "order", and what is likely to happennext. All this information comes from the restaurant script.Hayes, J.E., D. Michie, and L. I. Mikulich (Eds.), Machine Intelligence 9, Ellis Horwood.