Gibson and Walk Aims and Context

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  • Created by: alice
  • Created on: 14-04-12 13:23

Depth perception refers to our ability to perceive how near or far an object is from us. It is therefore argued that depth perception is an essential survival technique as without it we could misjudge depth and distances, thus risking injury or death. It is seen as an adaptive characteristic, however, there is some dispute as to how and when this ability develops and whether it is actually adaptive. 

Nativists support the nature debate and argue that depth perception is innate, we are born with the ability to perceive depth and distance. This is either present at birth or develops through maturation in infancy.In contrast, empiricists support the nurture debate and argue that depth perception is learnt through by experience and is therefore not an innate characteristic. On the other hand, interactionists offer a compromise and believe there is room for both arguments. They suggest that the existence of depth perception is innate but it then develops as we interact with our environment.

Mobility is also an important factor as it is seen that depth perception itself only becomes important when a human or non-human infant is able to move around by itself. Whether the infant has the ability to perceive depth as soon as it is mobile or whether it is learnt/modified by experience is therefore another important area of research. As human infants are not usually independently mobile until they are around 6 months old, whereas some non-human animals such as chicks are independently mobile from birth, suggests


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