Psychology 511 “The Image”

September 1969

Psychology 511 “The Image”

J. J. Gibson, Cornell University


The World Wide Web distribution of James Gibson’s “Purple Perils” is for scholarly use with the understanding that Gibson did not intend them for publication. References to these essays must cite them explicitly as unpublished manuscripts. Copies may be circulated if this statement is included on each copy.

Compare the 1954 theory of pictorial perception (Audio Vis. Communic. Rev., Vol. 1, 3-23) with the 1966 version (Ch. 11 in The Senses Considered, 224-249).

Note the difference between the concept of the fidelity of a picture to the original and the concept of the information conveyed by a picture about something. Are different optical assumptions involved?

Note the earlier use of the term stimulus (as a source of stimulation) and the later distinction between stimulus energy and stimulus information.

What is the difference between the information conveyed by pictures and that conveyed by language in the later theory?

What concepts in the earlier version can be salvaged? Which are still valid? What concepts in the 1966 chapter are new?