The State of Ecological Psychology

Claire Michaels, Peter Beek

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


In this article we discuss the state of ecological psychology, broadly defined as the branch of science dealing with the coordination of activity with respect to perceptual information. Three theoretical approaches to this theme are distinguished: direct perception, kinetic theory, and pattern dynamics. After a brief regard to four problem areas, namely, the identification of the essential variables of perception and action, the empirical testing of models and hypotheses concerning these variables, the theoretical and methodological response to the variability of perception and action, and the theoretical and methodological response to lasting changes in perception and action during learning and development. A plea is made for the identification of multiple alternative variables for a specific problem, the rigorous construction and empirical testing of models in which these alternatives are considered, and the development of new theoretical constructs and model constructs to deal with the variability of perception and action as well as the changes that accompany learning and development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)259-278
Number of pages20
JournalEcological Psychology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1995


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