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The Gibsonian Approach to Direct Perception.

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  • Essay length: 1320 words
  • Submitted: 19/06/2006
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University Degree Social Theory

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The Gibsonian Approach to Direct Perception

There are 2 fundamentally opposing theoretical approaches to understanding perception, incorporating (1) the traditional constructivist paradigm and (2) the ecological paradigm. The constructivist perspective, proposed mainly by Helmholtz, Gregory and Rock, holds that perception is essentially a construction of the mind, and is therefore indirect. That is that in between the optical input and our perception of it, are intervening psychological processes involving mental elaboration. They believe that sensory inputs are not sufficient to mediate perception alone and that something must be added to it before the final perceptual response it achieved.

Ecological theorists, on the other hand, and specifically Gibson (1950, 1966, 1979) developed a theory of direct perception that has completely rejected this scientific dogma by showing that perception was not based on sensory inputs or stimuli at all. Instead he claimed that perception was based on ecological information, which is external to the organism. The following essay will highlight the fundamental key components of this revolutionary theory in order to explain why this theory is so radical.

Instead of concentrating on the information-processing going on within individuals as they see, Gibson examined the information that was

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