In the field of psychology, beginning in the 1950s, Eleanor J. Gibson's ideas and experiments revolutionized the study of development. She nearly single-handedly developed the field of perceptual learning with a series of brilliant studies that culminated in the seminal work, Perceptual Learning and Development. More recently, Gibson has been a driving force in the profound shift from mentalistic models, or intellectual stages, toward an ecological view of development, involving function and action.
An Odyssey in Learning and Perception documents a fifty-year intellectual expedition in the areas of learning and perception—always with an eye to combining them in a theory of perceptual learning and development, a theory that may be broadly applicable to humans and nonhumans, young and old. It brings together Gibson's scientific papers (including classic studies in perception and action) spanning her work from the 1930s to the present, along with a personal essay that touches on the questions and concerns that guided her research. Gibson introduces each paper to show why the research was undertaken and the significance of the question addressed, and concludes each section with comments linking the findings to later developments and pertinent questions being addressed at the present time.
An Odyssey in Learning and Perception provides a valuable portrait of the growth and later flourishing of experimental psychology in twentieth-century America. It is also an exhilarating personal account of a gifted scientist, who because of her sex faced formidable obstacles during much of her career.
About the Author
Eleanor J. Gibson is Susan Linn Sage Professor of Psychology, Emeritus, Cornell University.
"Eleanor Gibson is surely the most distinguished developmental psychologist in the world. Her work has transformed our conceptions of the origins of mental life."
Ulric Neisser, Robert W. Woodruff Professor of Psychology, Emory University