J. J. Gibson
James Jerome Gibson (January 27, 1904-December 11, 1979), was an American psychologist, considered one of the most important 20th century psychologists in the field of visual perception. In his classic work The Perception of the Visual World (1950) he rejected the fashionable behaviorism for a view based on his own experimental work, which pioneered the idea that animals 'sampled' information from the 'ambient' outside world. He also coined the term 'affordance', meaning the interactive possibilities of a particular object or environment. This concept has been extremely influential in the field of design and ergonomics: see for example the work of Donald Norman who worked with Gibson, and has adapted many of his ideas for his own theories.
In his later work (such as, for example, The Ecological Approach to Visual Perception (1979)), Gibson became more philosophical and criticised cognitivism in the same way he had attacked behaviorism before. Gibson argued strongly in favour of 'direct perception', or 'direct realism' (as pioneered by the Scottish philosopher Thomas Reid), as opposed to cognitivist 'indirect realism'. He termed his new approach ecological psychology. He also rejected the information processing view of cognition. Gibson is increasingly influential on many contemporary movements in psychology, particularly those considered to be post-cognitivist.
Gibson was married to fellow psychologist Eleanor Gibson.
Introduction (pp. 1-6); "Chapter XIII: The Theory of Information Pickup" (pp. 266-286); "Chapter XIV: The Causes of Deficient Perception" (pp. 287-318).
Eleanor J. Gibson
Eleanor J. Gibson (December 7, 1910 - December 30, 2002) was an important American psychologist. Among her contributions to psychology, the most important are the study of perception in infants and toddlers. She is popularly known for the "visual cliff" experiment in which precocial animals, and crawling human infants, showed their ability to perceive depth by avoiding the deep side of a virtual cliff. Along with her husband J. J. Gibson, she forwarded the concept that perceptual learning takes place by differentiation.
The "Visual Cliff" was a wooden table from the edge of which strong plate glass extended, Life magazine reported in 1959. Children were put on the table top and coaxed to crawl out over the glass, the magazine said. But when they got to the edge of the cliff and looked down almost all of them quickly withdrew. Even their mothers' most persuasive urgings could not get them out. Similar studies were done with animals, including rats and kittens.
The findings indicated that perception is an essentially adaptive process, or as Dr. Gibson put it, We perceive to learn, as well as learn to perceive.
In 1982, she was invited to Beijing to teach Chinese psychologists about recent theories and techniques of research.
Benjafield, John G., (1996). The developmental point of view. A history of psychology (pp.235-263). Needham Heights, MA: Simon & Schuster Company.
Myers, David G. (1996). Sensation and perception. In Christine Burne, Laura Rubin, & Chris Migdol (Eds.), Exploring Psychology (pp. 117-161). (3rd ed.) New York, New York: Worth Publishers.