An Ecological Approach to Perceptual Learning and Development

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Oxford University Press, May 15, 2003 - Psychology - 473 pages
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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 their environments 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's last 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 James Gibson'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 on what 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. It outlines 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 and experimental psychologist.
 

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Contents

Historical Perspectives and PresentDay
3
An Ecological Approach to Perceptual
14
Development and Learning in Infancy
45
Communication
52
Interaction
75
Locomotion
103
Facts and Theory
134
Hallmarks of Human Behavior
159
The Role of Perception in Development
177
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Page 207 - Differentiation of an aperture from an obstacle under conditions of motion by three-month-old infants. Paper presented at the meetings of the Society for Research in Child Development.
Page 208 - RM The development of visual size constancy in early infancy. Journal of Genetic Psychology, 1941, 58, 327-351.
Page 208 - Craton, LG (1996). The development of perceptual completion abilities: Infants' perception of stationary, partially occluded objects. Child Development, 67, 890-904.
Page 4 - Mind then is the capacity for thought, and thought is the integrative activity of the brain...
Page 213 - ZEAMAN, D. Learning sets from minimum stimuli in retardates. Journal of Comparative and Physiological Psychology, 1963, 56, 735-739.

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