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Active attention is part of the broader theory of ecological perception, although it is a bit older.

It was initially developed by the gestalt psychologists in the 1930s,[1] and refined by J. J.Gibson in the 1960s and 1970s.[2] The theory has never died, although for the approximately 80 years that it has been around, it has somehow always been considered a niche area of psychology. It has had little traction in medicine, for instance, until recently, when a series of coherent hypotheses proposed that active perception is the basis for developmental disorders and psychiatric symptoms.[3][4][5][6]

See alsoEdit


  1. Koffka, 1936
  2. Gibson, 1979, The Ecological Theory of Perception, Haughton and Mifflin, Boston
  3. Avenanti, A., & Urgesi, C. (2011). Understanding 'what' others do: mirror mechanisms play a crucial role in action perception. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 6(3), 257-259. DOI:10.1093/scan/nsr004
  4. Buccino, G., & Amore, M. (2008). Mirror neurons and the understanding of behavioural symptoms in psychiatric disorders. Current Opinion in Psychiatry, 21(3), 281.
  5. Golembiewski, J. (2012). All common psychotic symptoms can be explained by the theory of ecological perception. Medical Hypotheses, 78, 7-10. DOI:10.1016/j.mehy.2011.09.029
  6. Rizzolatti, G., Fabbri-Destro, M., & Cattaneo, L. (2009). Mirror neurons and their clinical relevance. Nature Clinical Practice Neurology, 5(1), 24-34.

Further readingEdit

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