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Are individual differences in temperament of relevance to Gibson's theory of affordances?

conference contribution
posted on 2003-01-01, 00:00 authored by Merrilyn HooleyMerrilyn Hooley, Boris Crassini
The ambitious scope, complexity, and difficulty of Gibson’s project in proposing the theory of affordances are captured nicely by the words of Gibson’s biographer, Ed Reed:
“Gibson was convinced that the theory of affordances, in
conjunction with the concepts of information, persistence, and
change, would enable him to transcend the ancient debate between
subjectivity and objectivity and to resolve the mind-body problem. …
[H]e was offering a new approach to problems of psychology, one
that he believed would not sink in the morass that have engulfed
previous psychologies.” (Reed, 1988, p. 280).
These characteristics of the theory of affordances are further evidenced in the debates about the nature of affordances presented in the suite of papers in Ecological Psychology, Volume 12(1). In this paper we propose an elaboration of the notion of affordance by suggesting that those persisting individual differences in behaviour described as temperamental differences (e.g., differences on a dimension of temperament anchored at one end by behaviour described as ‘outgoingness’ and at the other by behaviour described as ‘avoidance’) can be integrated into the theory of affordances. We argue that such integration is consistent with Gibson’s project as reflected in Reed’s words, and as part of our argument, draw parallels between the integration of temperament with the theory of affordances and the way in which individual differences in body dimensions are incorporated in the theory. We also outline some empirical tests of our proposition.



International Conference on Perception and Action (12th : 2003 : Brisbane)


Brisbane, Qld.

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E3.1 Extract of paper


P Treffner

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ICPA 2003 : Proceedings of 12th International Conference on Perception and Action

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