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Integration of Brunswik and Gibson

Kim Vicente
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

The primary research activity I have been involved in during the past year (with valuable and significant input from Tom Stewart) is the integration of Brunswikian and Gibsonian approaches to ecological psychology. This work has led to a paper currently under review that is entitled, "Building An Ecological Foundation for Experimental Psychology: Beyond the Lens Model and Direct Perception." An abstract follows:

Cumulative theory in psychology has been hard to come by. In this article, a unified, ecological foundation for experimental psychology is proposed by integrating Brunswikian and Gibsonian theories. By identifying the constraints imposed by the environment on cognitive processes, this framework provides a single map for situating and relating research from distinct areas, including: automaticity, direct perception, expertise in memory recall, judgment and decision making expertise, judgment under incomplete knowledge, perceptual learning, and problem solving. This map consists of two axes, one defining the degree of goal-relevant distal structure in the environment, and another defining the degree of proximal stimulation that is available to specify that structure. These dimensions specify feasible limits on performance and on the strength of the coupling to the environment, respectively. The conceptual and empirical support for the framework is reviewed, and its benefits are described.

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