The International Society for Ecological Psychology (ISEP), founded in 1981, has its roots in the ecological approach to psychology developed by James J. Gibson and Eleanor J. Gibson. Their ecological approach evolved in three books by James Gibson, The Perception of the Visual World (1950), The Senses Considered as Perceptual Systems (1966) and The Ecological Approach to Visual Perception (1979). The implications of an ecological approach for development and learning were initially laid out in Eleanor J. Gibson’s Principles of Perceptual Learning and Development (1969). From the 1950s to 1980s, the Gibsons attracted visiting students and colleagues to engage with them at Cornell University. Since James Gibson’s death in 1979, and Eleanor Gibson’s departure from Cornell in 1987, the ISEP has served as the organizing group to connect ecological psychologists around the world.
The shared commitment of ISEP members is to foster the development of psychology as a science of behavior from an ecological point of view. The focus is on principles that underlie the organization of organism-environment systems at multiple time scales, ranging from phylogeny and ontogeny to learning and acting. From the outset, ISEP has broadened its approach to psychology to include perception, the control and coordination of action, cognition, dynamical systems, developmental systems, social systems, human-centered design, and the arts. Underlying its continuing growth is James Gibson’s admonition that ecological psychology’s “terms and concepts are subject to revision as the ecological approach to perception becomes clear. May they never shackle thought as the old terms and concepts have!”
The ISEP organizes a biennial conference, the International Conference on Perception and Action (ICPA), and publishes a quarterly journal, Ecological Psychology. The ISEP website serves as a resource for the development of ecological psychology and the society.
The ISEP is a scientific organization that welcomes all interested researchers and scholars, and promotes participation by people of all genders, races, religions, and nationalities in the study of ecological psychology.
ISEP Statement on Racial Justice
The Board of Directors of the International Society for Ecological Psychology stands with our students, colleagues, and fellow citizens who are standing up for racial justice. In his Letter from Birmingham Jail, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote, “When you have seen hate-filled policemen curse, kick, brutalize, and even kill your black brothers and sisters with impunity, … then you will understand why we find it difficult to wait.” Fifty-seven years later, racism and killings continue, but the world-wide outpouring of multiracial solidarity gives us hope. We commit, and we urge members and colleagues to commit, to work actively as scientists and citizens to dismantle the structures of white supremacy within the ISEP and in our universities, workplaces, and communities.
ISEP Contact Person
Polemnia G. Amazeen
Department of Psychology
Arizona State University
P. O. Box 871104
Tempe, AZ 85287-1104
Sponsor: University of Cincinnati USA
Venue: Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza hotel (Downtown)