Direct Perception by Claire F. Michaels

By Claire F. Michaels

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These adaptations involve both a selection for certain anatomical attributes compatible with the environment and, as will be discussed in Chapter 4, an increased sensitivity to relevant aspects of the environment. Species become physically and perceptually attuned to their environments through evolution and experience. THE RELATION BETWEEN PERCEIVING AND ACTING As noted earlier, affordances write perception in the language of action. This is simply to say that the detection of information tailors perceivers’ actions to their environments.

Affordances, like survival itself, rest completely on a compatibility of animal and environment. ”) For example, a wall affords walking to an animal if and only if properties of the animal are compatible with properties of the environment (for example, if the area of an animal’s feet is sufficient to cause an adhesive force to balance the downward force created by the effects of gravity on the animal’s mass; such a balance is true of flies, but not humans). The animal and environment fit together like interlocking pieces of a puzzle, each shaped by the other.

A suitable arrangement of other gears and wheels links this mechanism to the hands of the clock allowing them to revolve periodically (for example, once every hour). The important aspect of this operation is that the timing relation- 52 Figure 3-5. A diagram of a pendulum clock. ships depend not on time but on the nature of the organization of the system. Although the power source is continuously available—the weight has potential energy—it is tapped according to the position and velocity of the parts.

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