The Ecological Approach to Visual Perception

By James J. Gibson | Go to book overview

SUMMARY

We live in an environment consisting of substances that are more or less substantial; of a medium, the gaseous atmosphere; and of the surfaces that separate the substances from the medium. We do not live in "space."

The medium permits unimpeded locomotion from place to place, and it also permits the seeing, smelling, and hearing of the substances at all places. Locomotion and behavior are continually controlled by the activities of seeing, smelling, and hearing, together with touching.

The substances of the environment need to be distinguished. A powerful way of doing so is by seeing their surfaces.

A surface has characteristic properties that can persist or change, such as its layout, its texture, the property of being lighted or shaded, and the property of reflecting a certain fraction of the illumination falling on it.

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