Against direct perception

Behavioral and Brain Sciences 3 (3):333-81 (1980)
Abstract
Central to contemporary cognitive science is the notion that mental processes involve computations defined over internal representations. This view stands in sharp contrast to the to visual perception and cognition, whose most prominent proponent has been J.J. Gibson. In the direct theory, perception does not involve computations of any sort; it is the result of the direct pickup of available information. The publication of Gibson's recent book (Gibson 1979) offers an opportunity to examine his approach, and, more generally, to contrast the theory of direct perception with the computational/representational view. In the first part of the present article (Sections 2direct perceptioncase study”: the problem of perceiving the three-dimensional shape of moving objects is examined. This problem, which has been extensively studied within the immediate perception framework, serves to illustrate some of the inherent shortcomings of that approach. Finally, in Section 5, an attempt is made to place the theory of direct perception in perspective by embedding it in a more comprehensive framework
Keywords artificial intelligence   computational models   direct perception   ecological optics   Gibsonian theory   information pickup   visual representation
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