差别理论 Differentiation theory
视觉悬崖 visual cliff
Experimental psychologist noted for her work in the field of
perceptual development in children and infants.
In 1975 Gibson was able to establish her own infant study laboratory. This enabled her to devote her research to ecological psychology, perhaps even more so after her husband's death in 1979. She has pursued her work on perceptual development, more recently concentrating on the concept of affordance. Gibson's major published work is possibly An Odyssey in Learning and Perception, (1991), which consolidates much of her lifetime's work. She also wrote Principles of Perceptual Learning and Development, in 1967, for which she received the Century Award.
Gibson, along with her husband, J.J. Gibson, argued that perceptual learning was done through a process called differentiation. Before perceptual learning, we over-generalize and see things similarly to each other. As we develop perceptual learning we can make distinctions between objects and events that we were not able to make initially. Simply, as young children, we easily confuse stimuli with one another, but with repetition, the stimuli eventually become differentiated from one another (Benjafield, 1996, p. 259).
Probably the most well known contribution of E.J. Gibson is the visual cliff. The visual cliff was developed to investigate the process of depth perception, or seeing objects in three dimensions. E.J. Gibson and Richard Walk (1960) studied infant’s depth perception by using a small cliff with a drop-off covered by glass. Gibson and Walk would then place 6-14 month old infants on the edge of the visual cliff to see if they would crawl “over the edge”. Most infants refused to crawl out on the glass signifying that they could perceive depth and that depth perception is not learned