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Ecology

Most definitions of ecology emphasize the relationship between the organism and its environment. There is considerable variation in how scientists conceptualize the organism–environment relationship, however. For instance, microbiologists may focus on the small-scale biochemical reactions that characterize the immediate ecology of a bacterium, whereas zoologists may draw attention to the evolutionary forces that have shaped how an animal is adapted to its surroundings. By the same token, psychologists have considered the ecology of the individual in different ways and at multiple levels of the organism–environment relationship. This entry highlights three major approaches that psychologists have used to describe the ecology of individuals with respect to the developing organism. These perspectives are James J. Gibson and Eleanor J. Gibson’s ecological approach to perception, Roger Barker’s ecobehavioral ...

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