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In Defense of the Ecological Approach to Psychology ideap

Kim Vicente
Toronto, Canada

My Brunswik-related research this year involved defending and explaining the value added by an ecological approach to psychology to a Newell & Simon-type audience. The abstract of the paper is as follows:

This article is part of an exchange concerning the contributions of the constraint attunement hypothesis (CAH) to the understanding of expertise effects in memory recall. My commentators claim that the CAH is not novel and that existing theories of the same phenomenon do not have the limitations that were attributed to them. In this reply, I argue that the CAH is the only theory of expertise effects in memory recall to adopt the abstraction hierarchy as a theory of the environment, a unique feature that has important theoretical implications. Furthermore, other theories of this phenomenon focus on psychological mechanisms but cannot currently satisfy the burden of scientific proof required of process theories. Progress can be made by integrating the complementary advantages of existing theories into a unified theory that acknowledges the equally important roles of the organism and the environment.

The full reference is:

Vicente, K. J., "Revisiting the constraint attunement hypothesis: Reply to Ericsson, Patel, & Kintsch (2000) and Simon & Gobet (2000)," Psychological Review, 107, 601-608.

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