Theoretical Approaches

Theories serve as frameworks to organize facts and as springboards to launch new hypotheses. Some theories in perception are loose collections of assumptions, often unexamined by empirical researchers, and some are well developed and carefully constructed explanatory systems. All empirical research is conducted in the context of some type of theory. The questions asked, the research methodology employed, and the interpretation of the findings are all deeply colored by the theoretical approach taken. Thus, it is important to understand the variety of theoretical approaches that have driven research in perception if one is to be an informed consumer of that research. Many of the facts of perception are familiar features of our everyday experience. Other facts are sometimes surprising laboratory findings. All are dependent on ...

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