Thursday, September 23, 2010

Runeson's Polemic

Most of the time, Runeson seems to be pretty fair in describing what is going on in debates over perception, but not here:
At times it may seem that Gibson accepted static-view ambiguity (e.g., 1966. pp. 198-199) and even gave nodding recognition to the reasonableness of the invocation of assumptions (Gibson, 1979, p. 167). However, it would be wrong to take this as his definite position on static information. A circumspect reading reveals that Gibson's admissions of static-view ambiguity were of a temporary nature, made in the context of his all-out war against the dogma of universal equivocality in proximal patterns. Because, strictly speaking, the demonstration of a single counter instance would decide the basic issue in his favor, there is a premium in giving priority to nonstatic conditions, in which case specificity is less difficult to demonstrate (Runeson, 1988, p. 298).
"dogma of universal equivocality"?  "the demonstration of a single counter instance would decide the basic issue in his favor"?  It seems that Gibson and Runeson are near the other extreme claiming that there is no ambiguity at all.

Personally, it seems a more middle of the road view that there is some ambiguity sometimes is a pretty likely view.  And, if that is true, then it seems as though we would need a vision science framework that hypothesizes something like "presuppositions".  That was what I was driving at in trying to find out what Gibsonians say about static viewing of the Ames Room.


  1. Middle roads aren't always the sensible route. Runeson's analysis in this paper is demonstrating that even when equivalent configurations are possible, their construction requires so much artificial design they are of no interest to vision science. Ambiguity simply isn't likely.

    This is what having a specific theory gives you - a principled reason to rule out alternatives as plausible but not actual. Psychology has lacked a real theory for so long it's forgotten how to use one.

  2. Runeson's analysis seems to be a step when it comes to the Ames room. Now, how does this work for the occluded pac-man?