A blog about problems in the field of psychology and attempts to fix them.

Friday, January 10, 2020

The Ecological Revolution: The Senses Considered as Perceptual Systems, 50 Years Later

In 1997, the journal Ecological Psychology published two issues in tribute to James Gibson's The Senses Considered as Perceptual Systems, which was published in 1966. I am creating this page as a landing pad for my posts regarding the articles in those issues. I will also add links, as I find them, to other places on the internet where these issues are discussed (suggestions in the comments are strongly encouraged). I reviewed a few of the articles when they first came out, but recently found the issues again and realized how negligent I have been in covering more of them. One special treat about those issues is that they feature articles by several of my favorite contributors to the field, and the quality of the articles is very high.

Gibson's 1966 book is the bringing together of several ideas he had been developing previously, and in many ways marks the launch of "Ecological Psychology" as an approach to understanding perception. Crucially, it grounds much of his thinking in ideas about evolution, development, and physiology in a way that his later works do not. There are many of us in the field who think that starting with Gibson's later works makes many of the field's claims seem more mystical than they would otherwise seem. It would be hard for me to understate what a tremendous service I think Covarrubias, Jiménez, Cabrera, and Costall did for the field by putting these issues together.

Relevant Blog Posts:

Introductions to the Special Issues

Sedgwick and Gillam --A Non-Modular Approach to Visual Space Perception

Carello & Turvey -- Useful Dimensions of Haptic Perception: 50 Years After The Senses Considered as Perceptual Systems

Heft -- Perceptual Information of “An Entirely Different Order”: The “Cultural Environment” in The Senses Considered as Perceptual Systems

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