Affordance perception research

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Every day, people make countless decisions about whether certain actions are possible. Soldiers decide whether they can throw grenades close to their enemies. Automobile drivers decide whether they can safely merge into traffic. Construction workers decide whether they can carry heavy loads by themselves, or they should recruit a coworker to help. Nurses decide whether patients can safely reach something, or they should intervene and retrieve it for them. Teleoperators decide whether their robot can climb a certain hill. In each scenario, it is necessary to decide whether the desired action is possible. How do we make these types of decisions? More specifically, how do we know whether those actions are possible? According to J. J. Gibson’s (1979/1986) ecological approach to perception-action, we do so by perceiving our action capabilities, otherwise known as our affordances. The goal of this chapter is to discuss issues related to the study of affordance perception research. Toward that end, the chapter addresses two main questions: What are affordances? How does one study affordance perception? The answers to these questions will provide readers with information about affordance perception, as well as the methodological tools to begin their own affordance perception experiments.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Cambridge Handbook of Applied Perception Research
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9780511973017
ISBN (Print)9781107072909
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015


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