The Ecological Approach to Visual Perception

By James J. Gibson | Go to book overview

SUMMARY

The perplexities connected with the making and seeing of pictures are problems in their own right, independent of the problems of direct visual perception.

It is a fallacy to assume that perception is simplest when there is a form on the retina that is a copy of a form on a surface facing the retina, that is, in point-to-point correspondence with it.

The information in the optic array from a picture to a point of observation consists of invariants, not of forms and colors.

A picture requires two kinds of apprehension, a direct perceiving of the picture surface along with an indirect awareness of what it depicts. This dual apprehension is inescapable under normal conditions of observation. The "fooling of the eye," the illusion of reality, does not then occur.

When young children learn to draw, they certainly do not begin by drawing their sensations in patchwork perspective and then progress to the stage of drawing their concepts. But neither do they begin by drawing their concepts and then progress to the stage of drawing their sensations. They simply draw the invariants they have learned to notice.

A picture is a record of what its creator has seen or imagined, made available for others to see or imagine.

Depicting should be distinguished from the decorating, ornamenting, embellishing, or beautifying of a surface considered as such. The problems of aesthetics exist in their own right.

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