Encountering the World reorients modern psychology by finding a viable middle ground between the study of nerve cells and cultural analysis. The emerging field of ecological psychology focuses on the human niche and our uniquely evolved modes of action and interaction. Rejecting both mechanistic cognitive science and reductionistic neuroscience, the author offers a new psychology that combines ecological and experimental methods to help us better understand the ways in which people and animals make their way through the world. The book provides a comprehensive treatment of ecological psychology and a unique synthesis of the work of Darwin, neural Darwinism, and modern ecologists with James Gibson's approach to perception. The author presents detailed discussions on communication, sociality, cognition, and language - topics often overlooked by ecological psychologists. Other issues covered include ecological approaches to animal behaviour, neural mechanisms, perception, action, and interaction. Provocative and controversial, Encountering the World makes a significant contribution to the debate over the nature of psychology.
Edward S. Reed, Ph.D. is Associate Professor of Psychology at Franklin & Marshall College. His research on ecological psychology has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Institute on Disabilities and Rehabilitation, and a Guggenheim fellowship.