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James J. Gibson and the Psychology of Perception Hardcover – September 10, 1989

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press; 1St Edition edition (September 10, 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300042892
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300042894
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6.5 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,088,338 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Reed's book is evidently a labor of love. It tells the story of a "distinguished dissident" who felt reluctantly compelled by the evidence he encountered in his research to question views that had been taken for granted for centuries. Reed tells us that
the implications of Gibson's revolution have only rarely been understood.

"There are some 20,000 psychologists in this country alone [in 19661], nearly all of whom seem to be busily applying psychology to problems of life and personality. They seem to feel, many of them, that all we need to do is consolidate our scientific gains. Their self-confidence astonishes me. For these gains seem to me puny, and scientific psychology seems to me ill-founded. At any time the whole psychological applecart might be upset. Let them beware!"

Gibson wants us to go back to square one and to start again from the indubitable fact that we, like any other animal, do successfully interact with our environment, what biologists now call our ecological niche," by looking, listening, sensing, and moving. Instead of making this fact the starting point of their investigations psychologists had actually tried to prevent their subjects from gaining awareness of their surroundings.

The difficulties he presents and the profits he offers are of a different kind. What he asks us mainly to do is to unlearn. Our entire education has been geared to making us distrust our senses and slightly to look down on those who confuse their subjective experiences with objective facts.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The book is an unusual intellectual biography and not light reading by any means, especially for those who are not trained in ecological psychology, i.e. the intelligent layperson or students of conventional psychology. Reed has attempted admirably to take some of the load off by showing the gradual departure of Gibson himself from conventional psychology. In this, he has been mostly successful although the text could use a little more polish in terms of its organization and some of the convoluted sentence structures. I took a graduate course in Gibsonian psychology but some of the passages took multiple readings to sink in. Nevertheless, for those baffled by psychology’s sorry state today and its sellout to the military-business establishment, Reed's, and of course Gibson's, is refreshingly original and radical thinking.
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