Gibson and Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Theories of Development

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Ecological theory of developments is one the theories. James Gibson and Urie Bronfenbrenner proposed this theory. Ecological theory holds that several environmental systems influence development of an individual (Weiner, 2003:69). This paper will paper will compare and contrast the Gibson’s and Bronfenbrenner’s ecological theories of development. Ecological theory explains the relationship between an individual and environment to which the development of a person takes place. The theory holds that environment contributes significantly to human developmental stages. The theory proposes that a person’s growth changes with a changing environment. According to ecological theory, environment is a function of a relationship of social, physical, and psychological changes (Shaffer, 2005:84). The theory explains the change that people observe from childhood to adulthood. To get a deeper insight of ecological theory of development, the next sections will analysis the arguments of the two theorists that this paper has described in opening paragraph. Gibson was an experimental psychologist from Yale University. This psychologist had a keen interest in human behaviour and perception. The precision of visually guided behaviour greatly impressed Gibson. His interest in human actions made him to give the mannerisms an ecological approach. Gibson was dedicated to the analysis of perception in his psychological work. He developed a theory of perception in the year 1979 (Tudge et al). The theory holds that people can comprehend matters of perception through looking at the perceived and the perceiver. Gibson theory is an illusion that no factors that mediated perception. According to the theory, the perceiver receives information directly without any interference or distracters. The theory argues that discernment is an association between an organism and its surroundings (Clarke, 2005:63). Gibson describes development as the changes that occur in the life of this organism because of interacting with environment. The theory argues that there is too much information that an organism incorporates in course of its life. The transfer of this information happens through associational learning. Gibson stated that once an organism interacts with environment the information gets to it through subsets. An organism learns skills that break into subsets when they become more sophisticated. Gibson named three concepts to support ecological theory of development. These include affordances, information, and response of organisms to its environment (Heft, 2002:139). Gibson argues that for people to comprehend perception when they should consider the perceiver and the association between the organism and the environment. This shows that there is a close connection between environment and an organism development. Gibson theory proposes that there is a direct link of perception and action. This relates to concept of affordances. Gibson theory describes affordance as probability for action on part of an actor in an environment. It means that the possibility of an action is a function of the restraints of the actor and the constraints of environment. Gibson cites examples such as the rigid of a surface enables movement and the size of an object that provides for holding. The theory portrays affordance relationship as properties of the organism and environment.