January 27, 1904–December 11, 1979


AS I WRITE THIS, ten years have passed since James Jerome Gibson died, and his influence on perceptual psychology and related disciplines is as strong or stronger than ever. His analyses and arguments still continue to change the ways in which problems of perception of space and the environment, whether by humans or by computational models, are approached; books continue to be written about him (the latest was by Reed in 19881); and the solutions that he posed to problems he set, some of them in 1950, are still (or only now) being tested experimentally. To the degree that the Gibsonian revolution succeeds, it will replace all previous assumptions about how we must analyze information about the world that is offered to the sensory system by the environment; accordingly, it will replace our assumptions about what, in the course of perceptual development, must be learned and about how it is learned.

James Gibson was a man of great personal charm who was deeply and cheerfully engaged by ideas and who wrote and debated clearly, forcefully, and tirelessly. He was born on January 27, 1904, in McConnelsville, a small town in southeastern Ohio. His father, Thomas Gibson, was a surveyor for the railroads whose job took his family through

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