Comparing Constructivist and Direct Theories of Visual Perception

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Comparing Constructivist and Direct Theories of Visual Perception Two of the main theories of visual perception are constructivist and direct. Gregory is associated with the constructivist theory, while Gibson supports the direct theory. The both theories differ in their explanation of perception, however there are some aspects that relate them. Gregory's theory is a top down theory of perception, in the sense that he considers prior knowledge and experience to be crucially important in making sense of what we see. "Perception is not determined simply by stimulus patterns. Rather, it is a dynamic searching for the best interpretation of the available data..... which involves going beyond the immediately given evidence of the senses." is how Gregory saw perception in 1966. However, Gibson, with others such as Marr is concerned with perception in every day life rather than the perception of laboratory diagrams and other out of sort stimuli. Gibson believes that perception is an active, direct process, which involves seeing things in context and not in a vacuum. He referred to earlier theories of perception as 'air' theories because they looked at the perception of objects as if they were suspended in mid air without any background. He argued that in real life objects do not occur like that, and that they are always seen in a context, with a background. Because of this Gibson referred to his theory as the ground theory. To make sense of the various sensory inputs to the retina, the visual system must draw on all kinds of evidence, such as distance cues, information from other senses, and expectations based on past experience. F... ... middle of paper ... ...ing becomes increasingly important. As put by Neisser in 1976, in most circumstances both bottom up and top down processes are probably needed. Although they are similar in that they both agree that some kind of psychological is needed to perceive and that visual perception is mediated by light reflected from surfaces and objects. They also agree that perception is an active process and that a perceptual experience can be influenced by learning. Bibliography *Richard Gross and Rob Mcilveen, Psychology: A New Introduction, Hodder & Stoughton, England, 1998. *Nicky Hayes, Foundations of Psychology, Nelson Publishers, Surrey, 1996. *Cara Flanagan, A-Level Psychology, Letts Educational Publishers, London, 1994. *Diana Dwyer & Jane Scampion, A-Level Psychology, Macmillan Publishers, London, 1995.

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