An Ecological Approach to Perceptual Learning and Development

Paperback | January 14, 2004

byEleanor J. Gibson, Anne D. Pick

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The essential nature of learning is primarily thought of as a verbal process or function, but this notion conveys that pre-linguistic infants do not learn. Far from being "blank slates" that passively absorb environmental stimuli, infants are active learners who perceptually engage theirenvironments and extract information from them before language is available. The ecological approach to perceiving-defined as "a theory about perceiving by active creatures who look and listen and move around"-was spearheaded by Eleanor and James Gibson in the 1950s and culminated in James Gibson'slast book in 1979. Until now, no comprehensive theoretical statement of ecological development has been published since Eleanor Gibson's Principles of Perceptual Learning and Development (1969). In An Ecological Approach to Perceptual Learning and Development, distinguished experimental psychologists Eleanor J. Gibson and Anne D. Pick provide a unique theoretical framework for the ecological approach to understanding perceptual learning and development. Perception, in accordance with JamesGibson's views, entails a reciprocal relationship between a person and his or her environment: The environment provides resources and opportunities for the person, and the person gets information from and acts on the environment. The concept of affordance is central to this idea; the person acts onwhat the environment affords, as it is appropriate. This extraordinary volume covers the development of perception in detail from birth through toddlerhood, beginning with the development of communication, going on to perceiving and acting on objects, and then to locomotion. It is more than a presentation of facts about perception as it develops. Itoutlines the ecological approach and shows how it underlies "higher" cognitive processes, such as concept formation, as well as discovery of the basic affordances of the environment. This impressive work should serve as the capstone for Eleanor J. Gibson's distinguished career as a developmental andexperimental psychologist.

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The essential nature of learning is primarily thought of as a verbal process or function, but this notion conveys that pre-linguistic infants do not learn. Far from being "blank slates" that passively absorb environmental stimuli, infants are active learners who perceptually engage theirenvironments and extract information from them be...

Eleanor J. Gibson is at Cornell University (Emeritus). Anne D. Pick is at University of Minnesota.

other books by Eleanor J. Gibson

Format:PaperbackDimensions:248 pages, 6.1 × 9.21 × 0.91 inPublished:January 14, 2004Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195165497

ISBN - 13:9780195165494

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Table of Contents

1. Historical Perspectives and Present-Day Confrontations2. An Ecological Approach to Perceptual Development3. Studying Perceptual Development in Preverbal Infants: Tasks, Methods, and Motivation4. Development and Learning in Infancy5. What Infants Learn About: Communication6. What Infants Learn About: Interaction with Objects7. What Infants Learn About: Locomotion and the Spatial Layout8. The Learning Process in Infancy: Facts and Theory9. Hallmarks of Human Behavior10. The Role of Perception in Development beyond InfancyReferencesIndex

Editorial Reviews

"This is a beautifully written book, and a most welcome addition to the field of perceptual development, indeed to the whole discipline of child development. For years I have taught a graduate course in perceptual development and never had a text that I felt I could assign in its entirety.Now I do, because this book brings a lucid introduction that is crystal clear in its explication of the complex ideas encompassed by this field.The scholarship is deep, accurate, and thorough."---Rachel K. Clifton, University of Massachusetts, Amherst