Prof. Michael T. Turvey visits Denison

Lectures & Discussions
Date 
Thursday, February 2, 2012
Time 

M. T. Turvey

Center for the Ecological Study of Perception and Action, University of Connecticut

and

Haskins Laboratories

A theory of perception-action should apply to all organisms, the 96 phyla that comprise the Five Kingdoms—Bacteria, Protoctista, Animalia, Fungi, and Plantae. The major barrier to implementing such a theory is the assumption that insurmountable conceptual differences exist between psychology, biology, and physics. These presumed differences deflect us from developing explanations founded on first principles that are shared across the sciences, and in the case of biology and psychology, encourages us to take for granted the origins of knowing. A body of science founded on common principles is required.

On Thursday evening, February 2, 7:30 pm, Slayter Auditorium, Prof. Michael T. Turvey of the University of Connecticut and Haskins Laboratory will be presenting the lecture “Theory of Perception-Action for All Organisms: What Kind of Science Does it Entail?” Prof. Turvey is an exceptional thinker and a wonderful speaker. He is a leader among those psychologists who have been developing a theory of perception-action over the past four decades.

Here is a brief introduction to his topic: The nature of perceiving is certainly among the most critical of functions of animate beings. The reason is obvious: Perceiving guides action. However, scientists’ ideas about perceiving across the disciplines often rely on models that have been have been shaped by 17th and 18th century philosophical accounts of epistemology. A theory of the nature of knowing (epistemology) has different goals than a functional account of how perceiving and acting operate synergistically. In this light, traditional approaches all predate the emergence of evolutionary theory. Perception-action theory prompts scientists to rethink these received assumptions and to set off on a new path grounded in ecological and dynamical systems thinking in the biological and physical sciences. Exciting research in biology, psychology, and artificial systems have drawn on these ideas in recent years.

Prof. Turvey will also present a Psychology Department colloquium on Friday, February 3, 4:30p, in the Higley Auditorium. The talk is titled “Haptic Perception: An Ecological Analysis of Knowing by Touching”.

Posted Date 
Friday, January 20, 2012

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