What You Need to Know About The Senses Considered as Perceptual Systems by James J. Gibson
If you are interested in the study of perception and how humans and other animals interact with their environments, you might want to read The Senses Considered as Perceptual Systems by James J. Gibson. This book, published in 1966, presents many revolutionary ideas that challenge the traditional views of psychology and sensation-based theories of perception.
In this article, we will give you a brief overview of the main concepts and contributions of Gibson's book, as well as some reasons why you should read it.
What is The Senses Considered as Perceptual Systems
The Senses Considered as Perceptual Systems is a book by James J. Gibson, an American psychologist who is considered one of the founders of ecological psychology. Ecological psychology is an approach that emphasizes the mutual relation between people and other animals and their environments, rather than focusing on isolated stimuli and responses.
In his book, Gibson argues that the senses are not passive receptors of sensations, but active systems that seek and obtain information from the environment. He also proposes that the senses are interrelated and coordinated, forming a unified perceptual system that allows us to perceive affordances, or possibilities for action.
What are the main ideas of The Senses Considered as Perceptual Systems
Some of the main ideas that Gibson presents in his book are:
The rejection of the stimulus-response formula: Gibson criticizes the mechanistic and dualistic view of psychology that assumes that perception is a result of sensations caused by stimuli. He proposes that perception is a direct and meaningful process that does not require any internal representations or inferences.
The rejection of sensation-based theories of perception: Gibson challenges the idea that perception is based on sensations or elementary units of experience. He argues that sensations are not the same as sensing or perceiving, and that perception is not a construction from sensations, but a detection of information.
The concept of information: Gibson introduces the concept of information as a property of the environment that specifies its structure and meaning. He distinguishes between stimulus information and stimulus energy, and claims that information is invariant and unambiguous, while energy is variable and ambiguous.
The concept of affordances: Gibson defines affordances as the possibilities for action that the environment offers to an organism. He argues that affordances are perceived directly and objectively, without any subjective interpretation or evaluation. He also suggests that affordances are relative to the organism's capabilities and needs.
The concept of perceptual systems: Gibson proposes that the senses are not separate modalities, but interrelated and coordinated systems that function together to perceive information from the environment. He identifies several perceptual systems, such as the eye-head system, the haptic system, the auditory system, and the basic orienting system.
Why should you read The Senses Considered as Perceptual Systems
There are many reasons why you should read The Senses Considered as Perceptual Systems by James J. Gibson. Here are some of them:
It is a classic and influential book in the field of psychology and perception.
It offers a radical and innovative perspective on how we perceive and interact with our environments.
It challenges many assumptions and myths about perception that are still prevalent in our culture.
It provides a rich and detailed account of the different perceptual systems and how they work together.
It inspires new ways of thinking and researching about perception and behavior.
If you want to learn more about The Senses Considered as Perceptual Systems by James J. Gibson, you can find it online at archive.org, or read some reviews and summaries at researchgate.net or aa16f39245