Gibson's Theory of Perceptual Learning

Karen E. Adolph, Kari S. Kretch

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This article describes the key ideas of the influential psychologist Eleanor J. Gibson, developed over 70 years of research with infants, children, adults, and a wide range of nonhuman species. Gibson's ecological approach to perceptual learning and development describes how perception - extracting meaningful information from the environment to guide actions adaptively - improves with experience, the acquisition of new means of exploration, and the development of new perception-action systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationInternational Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences: Second Edition
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)9780080970875
ISBN (Print)9780080970868
StatePublished - Mar 26 2015


  • Affordance
  • Cognitive development
  • Comparative psychology
  • Developmental psychology
  • Differentiation
  • Ecological approach
  • Exploratory activity
  • Infancy
  • Learning
  • Perception
  • Perception-action
  • Perceptual learning
  • Psychology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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