Page
  1. 1
    1
  2. 2
    2
  3. 3
    3

The Gibsonian Approach to Direct Perception.

Extracts from this essay...

Introduction

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 available to the organism from its environment.

Middle

There are two distinct forms of invariants commonly known to the theorists as transformational and structural invariants. Transformational invariants disclose information about what is happening to any object. They are consistent patterns of change (such as the rule mentioned before that when an object comes closer and closer to the eye it appears proportionally larger. If this rule cannot be applied then either the speed of movement or the actual size of the object has changed. Another example of a transformational invariant is when a rectangle is tilted away from us its projection shape becomes trapezoidal but continues to look rectangular. The trapezoid is a transformation of the rectangle but there must be something invariant in the shape that allows the observer to perceive it as a tilted rectangle. Structural invariants also play a vital part in direct perception. According to Gordon (1997) they are higher-order patterns or relationships, which remain constant despite changes in stimulation. A relevant example is how we perceive two objects of equal size at different distances from the observer to be in fact the same size. Gibson's answer reflects the importance of the horizon explaining that the ratio of an objects height to the distance between its base and the horizon is invariant across all distances from the viewer (Gordon, 1997).

Conclusion

Therefore, from this brief description of the major concepts that typify the ecological approach it is clear that this theory is truly radical indeed. The tenets underlying this theory stand apart from any of the mainstream perceptual theories that have been previously proposed, not only on a psychological level but almost on a philosophical level also. Gibson's theory rests on the concept of 'ecological optics' which he established as a completely new branch of optics, distinct from the traditional optics found in physics. Moreover, his fundamental concept of the 'optic array' (an alternative to the concept of 'retinal image') and optical flow field are unique and offer a radically different approach as to how we might construe the stimulus for vision. It is clear therefore why Gibsonian's are typically so evangelical about the merits of the ecological approach as the ideas are so new and fresh and completely different to any ideas that have previously been put forward. Furthermore, Gibson's emphasis on ecological components have greatly influenced a number of theorists and has helped the study of perception to shift from laboratory created experiments into external environment analyses. His approach is therefore more ecologically valid than the constructivist paradigm as he examines organisms in their natural external habitat. In conclusion therefore, Gibson's pioneering ecological theory has significantly helped to advance the academic study of perception and remains one of the most powerful and influential perceptual theories to date.

The above preview is unformatted text

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • Over 150,000 essays available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Over 180,000 student essays
  • Every subject and level covered
  • Thousands of essays marked by teachers

See related essaysSee related essays

Related University Degree Social Theory essays

  1. The Relational Approach to Counselling

    Winnicott (1990) suggests that children who experience parents who cannot deal with their own difficulties will end up with the same problems themselves. "Maternal and the parental" insecurity results in complications across generations (Holmes 1993). It has been well established that the early relationship with parents or care person impacts

  2. Sociological Analyses of Suicide

    as is the French philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau - but what made Durkheim's analysis of this problem unique for his time can be summed-up in two main ideas: Firstly, by seeing society as a fundamentally moral entity he could plausibly account for the development of any given society by delineating the basic principles underlying the process of social development.

  1. New Social Movements most effectively describe a specific movement-type emerging in the late 1970s; ...

    Stressing Structure / Prioritising Identity 4.1 This section presents a brief overview of the work of Offe, Melucci and Touraine. I have chosen to return to these authors in particular because their amalgamation of structural arguments with new ways of conceptualising actors' motivations in terms of identity are still relevant to the debate on social movements.

  2. Football Hooliganism: A Critical Approach

    The dominant portrayals of what type of person constitutes a football hooligan and what football hooliganism it seems, have been predominantly formed via the vehicle of 'the media'. The media is such a broad spectrum ranging from television to newspapers to the Internet but it is the British press, which

  1. The scientific field of microbiology.

    The Roman system also assigned the office of "Water Commissioner" to ensure the water supply was kept clean. Polluters would be punished by death. There are also many records which would suggest a nascent idea of immunity; those who had survived an illness were expected to help nurse the ill back to health11.

  2. Discuss the merits and limitations of a psychotherapeutic paradigm.

    All these suggestions of what goes on in a child's mind and the stages that they go through come together and assist Freud in explaining the human personality and its many components. The Psychodynamic theory is centrally concerned with conflict, defense and anxiety.

  1. Durkheim's core theoretical concepts

    What characterizes it is a system of segments homogeneous and similar to each other. Quite different is the structure of societies where organic solidarity is preponderant. They are constituted, not by a repetition of similar, homogeneous segments, but by a system of different organs each of which has a special role, and which are themselves formed of differentiated parts.'

  2. Inheritances: an Analytical and Evolutionary Game Theoretical Approach.

    In his will, Jack articulated that if the brothers could not amicably divide his assets within 30 days of his passing, his personal savings totaling approximately 500,000 dollars would be donated to the Eastern Surfing Association, of which Jack was a founding member.

  • Over 180,000 essays
    written by students
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to write
    your own great essays

Marked by a teacher

This essay has been marked by one of our great teachers. You can read the full teachers notes when you download the essay.

Peer reviewed

This essay has been reviewed by one of our specialist student essay reviewing squad. Read the full review on the essay page.

Peer reviewed

This essay has been reviewed by one of our specialist student essay reviewing squad. Read the full review under the essay preview on this page.