Quantitative and Qualitative Centrality of a Social Representation's Core Elements: The Use of the Basic Cognitive Schemes Model


  • Mioara Cristea
  • Jose Francisco Valencia
  • Mihai Curelaru


The general aim of this research was to investigate the use of the Basic Cognitive Schemes (BCS) model in examining the qualitative vs. quantitative centrality of a social representation’s (SR) core elements. Firstly, we examined the internal structure of the social representation of the European integration (Study 1, N = 71) according to Central Core Theory of the structural approach of social representations. Secondly, we investigated the qualitative vs. quantitative centrality of its core elements (Study 2, N = 106) using the BCS model. The study included young people from Eastern Romania enrolled in a Psychology undergraduate degree. The results permitted the identification of the elements defining the internal structure of the SR of the European integration among young Romanians. We identified five central elements with prescriptive functions (i.e., mobility, unity, opportunity, European funds, and civilization). Furthermore, after checking their qualitative and quantitative centrality using the BCS model, only three of them were confirmed as both qualitatively and quantitatively central. Thus, the results also underlined the importance of the BSC model in better understanding the relationships between the SR’s internal elements. Theoretical and practical implications of the results are discussed.