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The Ecological Approach to Visual Perception
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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
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Paperback, 348 pages
Published September 1st 1986 by Psychology Press (first published 1979)
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Trevor
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
...more
Sean
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)
...more
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
...more
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
...more
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
...more
Leif
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
...more
Scott
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.
Brandon
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.
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“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
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