Awards & Winners

Eleanor J. Gibson

Date of Birth 07-December-1910
Place of Birth Peoria
(Peoria County, Illinois, United States of America, Area code 309)
Nationality United States of America
Profession Psychologist
Eleanor J. Gibson was an American psychologist. Among her contributions to psychology, the most important are the study of perception in infants and toddlers. She is popularly known for the "visual cliff" experiment in which precocial animals, and crawling human infants, showed their ability to perceive depth by avoiding the deep side of a virtual cliff. Along with her husband James J. Gibson, she forwarded the concept that perceptual learning takes place by differentiation. Gibson is credited with creating the Gibsonian or ecological theory of development, which centers on the concept of affordances and how children learn to perceive them. According to Life magazine in 1959, the "Visual Cliff" was "a wooden table from the edge of which strong plate glass extended, and Children were put on the table top and coaxed to crawl out over the glass. But when they got to the edge of the cliff and looked down almost all of them quickly withdrew. Even their mothers' most persuasive urgings could not get them out." Similar studies were done with animals, including rats and kittens. The visual cliff findings indicated that perception is an essentially adaptive process, or as Dr. Gibson put it, We perceive to learn, as well as learn to perceive.

Awards by Eleanor J. Gibson

Check all the awards nominated and won by Eleanor J. Gibson.


National Medal of Science for Behavioral and Social Science
(For her conceptual insights in developing a theory of perceptual learning; and for achieving a deeper understanding of perceptual development in children and basic processes in reading.)