School of Information Science - Hall of Fame

James J. Gibson
  • James J. Gibson
  • Born: January 27, 1904
  • Died: 1979
  • Field: Cognitive psychology
  • Focus: Developed important theories about visual perception and invented the visual phenomenon of "affordance."
  • Country: United States
  • Era: 1900 to 1949

James J. Gibson is best known for his research in and theories of perception. Gibson thought "perception is the process maintaining contact with the world". He considered perception to be direct, without any inferential steps, intervening variables, or associations. Gibson also developed the theory of ecological approach which rejects the assumption of a poverty of stimulus by rejecting the notion that perception is based in sensations.

Gibson wrote "The Senses Considered as Perceptual Systems," which stressed the importance of texture gradients of surfaces to visual perception. Gibson emphasized the need to study vision in terms of people behaving in the real world performing meaningful tasks rather than subjects responding under the artificial and information-poor conditions of the laboratory in his book "The Ecological Approach to Visual Perception." Gibson was a Professor of Psychology at Smith College from 1929 until 1949 and also at Cornell University from 1949 until 1979.

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