Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Ecological Approach to Visual Perception” as Want to Read:
The Ecological Approach to Visual Perception
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Ecological Approach to Visual Perception

4.26  ·  Rating details ·  122 Ratings  ·  11 Reviews
This is a book about how we see: the environment around us (its surfaces, their layout, and their colors and textures); where we are in the environment; whether or not we are moving and, if we are, where we are going; what things are good for; how to do things (to thread a needle or drive an automobile); or why things look as they do.
The basic assumption is that vision de
Paperback, 348 pages
Published September 1st 1986 by Psychology Press (first published 1979)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Ecological Approach to Visual Perception, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Ecological Approach to Visual Perception

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
Dec 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I want to start with the argument that a large part of the reason we read books is that that it gives us an opportunity to see into the minds of people and therefore to see that they don’t necessarily think in the same ways we do. And I know, that is supposed to be always true, no matter who we read, but you know, often when I read books I think – yeah, I could have written that. I couldn’t say that about this book. The point is that there are a few times when I read a book that I know my brain ...more
Shea Levy
This was a fascinating read. Gibson walks you through a novel account of visual perception with rich, detailed explanations and a compelling narrative flow. I won't try to summarize the theory here, and while much of it is intuitively plausible I haven't engaged with the evidence or dug into the details nearly enough to have an opinion on its correctness, but some aspects I particularly appreciated:

* Gibson starts his framework on the level of analysis where the high level features of perception
Nov 01, 2007 rated it liked it
Dense stuff. The radicality of his thesis gets lost a bit in its common-sense logic. Basically, he is arguing against a laboratory-based model of "the eye being stimulated." In its place he proposes an experience-based theory of perception -- i.e. not seeing but looking. Well, that at least is the best way for me to sum it up in one sentence; it's complicated.

Interesting, but not exactly beach reading (it took me a LOOONG time to get through this one, stopping several times to read other books)
Mark Gomer
Aug 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
Many sections in this book read like unedited research notes, not suitable for publication in book form - but don't let that distract you. The ecological approach to visual perception was a radically novel proposal 40 years ago, and many of the concepts it introduced are still of great relevance today. The embodied cognition programme in psychology owes a great deal to it, and the affordance-centric approach to perception is a common idea in modern robotics.

Some of the main idea in this book are
Wangdo Kim
Nov 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
We cannot change it. Why has man changed the shapes and substances of his environment? To change what it affords him. He has made more available what benefits him and less pressing what injures him. In making life easier for himself, of course, he has made life harder for most of the other animals. We all fit into the substructures of the environment in our various ways, for we were all, in fact, formed by them. We were created by the world we live in.

Gibson said that if what we perceived were t
Robert St.Amant
May 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
Pick up a hammer. How did you know which end to pick up? It's not necessarily experience or intelligence; toddlers do the same with their toy tools, as well as chimpanzees in laboratory experiments. And how do you know what it's possible to do with the hammer? Again, it's not necessarily experience or intelligence; some animals as simple as wasps use small pebbles to hammer down the earth.

James Gibson, a vision psychologist, develops a theory in this book about how people (and other animals) can
Apr 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: the-best
The legend never dies. Here's a little snippet, a footnote that gestures toward the tenor of Gibson's writing:
Ever since someone peeled off the back of the excised eye of a slaughtered ox and, holding it up in front of a scene, observed a tiny, coloured, inverted image of the scene on the transparent retina, we have been tempted to draw a false conclusion. We think of the image as something to be seen, a picture on a screen. You can see it if you take out the ox’s eye, so why shouldn’t the ox s
Mar 26, 2010 rated it liked it
A very dense argument about our notion of perception and how we see the world. I was especially interested in Gibson's explanation of "Affordance Theory" which is relevant to some of my current research.
Mar 19, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: bestest-ever
J.J. reset the standard with this classic. If you want to know how we do what we do in our visual environment, give it a read.
Kris Gösser
rated it liked it
Sep 02, 2013
rated it really liked it
Aug 09, 2016
rated it it was amazing
Nov 11, 2008
rated it it was amazing
Mar 23, 2015
Angel Pradel
rated it really liked it
Jul 30, 2017
Luca Fernandez
rated it it was amazing
Feb 27, 2010
James Will
rated it really liked it
Dec 12, 2016
Baiq Lengek
rated it it was amazing
Feb 28, 2015
rated it it was amazing
Aug 24, 2014
Madeleine Gunter
rated it really liked it
Sep 14, 2016
David Sundahl
rated it it was amazing
Sep 13, 2011
rated it it was amazing
Nov 09, 2013
Dorian Love
rated it liked it
Jan 28, 2016
Tiago Campos
rated it it was amazing
Jul 04, 2017
rated it it was amazing
Jun 28, 2013
rated it it was amazing
Oct 02, 2011
Martin Willis
rated it really liked it
Aug 11, 2014
Eileen Wehmann
rated it liked it
Aug 04, 2015
Mike Saenz
rated it it was amazing
Dec 28, 2017
Alex Gerdom
rated it it was amazing
Jan 03, 2014
rated it really liked it
Jul 22, 2015
« previous 1 3 4 5 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Where the Action Is: The Foundations of Embodied Interaction
  • Being There: Putting Brain, Body, and World Together Again
  • Action in Perception
  • The Embodied Mind: Cognitive Science and Human Experience
  • Shaping Things
  • Why We Cooperate
  • Our Aesthetic Categories: Zany, Cute, Interesting
  • Mind in Life: Biology, Phenomenology, and the Sciences of Mind
  • The Three Ecologies
  • A Foray Into the Worlds of Animals and Humans: With a Theory of Meaning
  • Thought and Language
  • Cognition in the Wild (Bradford Books)
  • Software Takes Command
  • Keep It Simple: The Early Design Years of Apple
  • Extrastatecraft: The Power of Infrastructure Space
  • Pervasive Information Architecture: Designing Cross-Channel User Experiences
  • Speculative Everything: Design, Fiction, and Social Dreaming
  • Designing Interactions [With CDROM]

Nonfiction Deals

  • A Guide to the Present Moment
    $7.99 $2.99
  • Hunting Eichmann: How a Band of Survivors and a Young Spy Agency Chased Down the World's Most Notorious Nazi
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Breaks of the Game
    $11.99 $2.99
  • Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth
    $11.74 $1.99
  • Soul Keeping: Caring For the Most Important Part of You
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Autobiography of Eleanor Roosevelt
    $12.74 $2.99
  • How Soccer Explains the World: An Unlikely Theory of Globalization
    $8.24 $1.99
  • Dry
    $9.99 $3.99
  • Animal Liberation: The Definitive Classic of the Animal Movement
    $17.99 $1.99
  • The Measure of a Man
    $8.74 $1.99
  • Recovery: Freedom from Our Addictions
    $13.99 $2.99
  • 100 Days of Real Food: How We Did It, What We Learned, and 100 Easy, Wholesome Recipes Your Family Will Love
    $8.99 $1.99
  • Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls: A Handbook for Unapologetic Living
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity
    $13.99 $2.99
  • Best Friends: The True Story of the World's Most Beloved Animal Sanctuary
    $14.99 $1.99
  • Let. It. Go.: How to Stop Running the Show and Start Walking in Faith
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Still: Notes on a Mid-Faith Crisis
    $9.24 $1.99
  • Clara's War: One Girl's Story of Survival
    $8.49 $1.99
  • The Earth Shall Weep: A History of Native America
    $17.99 $1.99
  • Crown of Blood: The Deadly Inheritance of Lady Jane Grey
    $17.48 $1.99
  • The Story of Sushi: An Unlikely Saga of Raw Fish and Rice
    $12.49 $1.99
  • The Noticer Returns: Sometimes You Find Perspective, and Sometimes Perspective Finds You
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Scar Tissue
    $11.99 $2.99
  • Running with Scissors
    $9.99 $3.99
  • The Beautiful Struggle: A Father, Two Sons, and an Unlikely Road to Manhood
    $10.99 $1.99
  • The Black Hole War: My Battle with Stephen Hawking to Make the World Safe for Quantum Mechanics
    $9.99 $2.99
  • 1968: The Year That Rocked the World
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Notes on a Banana: A Memoir of Food, Love and Manic Depression
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Unfinished Business: Women Men Work Family
    $13.99 $1.99
  • Talking as Fast as I Can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls (and Everything in Between)
    $11.99 $2.99
  • The Warrior Elite: The Forging of SEAL Class 228
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Lunch in Paris: A Love Story, with Recipes
    $9.99 $2.99
  • And the Band Played On: Politics, People, and the AIDS Epidemic
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Vegetable Butcher: How to Select, Prep, Slice, Dice, and Masterfully Cook Vegetables from Artichokes to Zucchini
    $22.95 $1.99
  • Facing Your Giants: The God Who Made a Miracle Out of David Stands Ready to Make One Out of You
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Fat Girl Walking: Sex, Food, Love, and Being Comfortable in Your Skin...Every Inch of It
    $8.99 $1.99
  • The Egg and I
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Secrets of Happy Families: Improve Your Mornings, Rethink Family Dinner, Fight Smarter, Go Out and Play, and Much More
    $12.74 $1.99
  • City of Fortune: How Venice Ruled the Seas
    $14.99 $2.99
  • Just Another Kid
    $7.99 $1.99
  • The Second World War
    $12.99 $3.99
  • Super Immunity: The Essential Nutrition Guide for Boosting Your Body's Defenses to Live Longer, Stronger, and Disease Free
    $8.73 $1.99
  • The Art of Work: A Proven Path to Discovering What You Were Meant to Do
    $10.00 $1.99
  • Story: Style, Structure, Substance, and the Principles of Screenwriting
    $19.93 $2.99
  • Neither Here Nor There: Travels in Europe
    $10.47 $1.99
  • The Dangerous Book for Boys
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy: Four Women Undercover in the Civil War
    $13.00 $2.99
  • Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything
    $15.99 $2.99
  • Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Price of Privilege: How Parental Pressure and Material Advantage Are Creating a Generation of Disconnected and Unhappy Kids
    $11.24 $1.99
  • Fall Down 7 Times Get Up 8: A Young Man's Voice from the Silence of Autism
    $13.99 $1.99
  • I Am Not Myself These Days (P.S.)
    $13.24 $1.99
  • Starvation Heights: A True Story of Murder and Malice in the Woods of the Pacific Northwest
    $11.99 $2.99
  • The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Put Your Dream to the Test: 10 Questions to Help You See It and Seize It
    $9.49 $2.99
“We should begin thinking of events as the primary realities and of time as an abstraction from them—a concept derived mainly from regular repeating events, such as the ticking of clocks. Events are perceived, but time is not (Gibson, 1975).” 1 likes
“But then, of course, one can peek through the fingers, which is not only pleasurable but a lesson in practical optics.” 0 likes
More quotes…