What You See Affects What You Can Do

The Huffington Post:

It is tempting to think of our eyes as video cameras that take in information about the world and try to give us a reasonably accurate picture of what is going on in the outside world.

Key arguments against this way of thinking about vision were made by JJ Gibson, who developed an ecological theory of how we perceive the world starting in the 1950s. His approach focused on asking what vision is for. He pointed out that the main function of vision is to help us perform actions in the world, and so our visual system should give us information that will help us to act effectively.

That means that our goals can influence what we see. In a classic study, Bruner and Goodman found that poor children judged the sizes of coins as larger than well-off children. The idea is that if you really need a coin, then you will actually think it is larger than it is.

Read the whole story: The Huffington Post

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