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Books 243 Artists,art teachersand art studentswho are concernedabout becoming at least minimally scientifically literate could benefit fromreadingthis book. As attractiveas it is in graphicformat,it is,however, regrettablethat a softcovereditioniscomparatively so expensive. The Psychology of T h i n k i n g .Neil Bolton. Methuen, London, 1976. 291 pp. Paper, f2.75. Reviewed by D. N. Perkins* The Introduction to this book admits a difficulty with the contemporary psychological understanding of thinking: The varied approachesdo not obviouslycomplementoneanother to yield a comprehensivetheory. Bolton wants to show that things are better than they seem. He suggests that several of the approachesbothmakeuniquecontributionsandconcuron some important conclusionsabout the thinkingprocess.In defense of his thesis, Bolton critically reviews several areas: the developmental perspective of Jean Piaget, studies of concept formation,reasoningand problem solving,computermodels of thought, creative thinking, the relations between language and thought, and the phenomenologyof thinking. The reviews of research are compact and precise. Furthermore, the text goes beyond summarizing. The author points out weaknessesin experimentsand hypotheses,keeps the larger issuesup front, and underscoresthemany openquestions. The last chapter of the book considers some specifically philosophical perspectives on thinking. But throughout, the book gains from a constant mixing of psychological and philosophical concepts-a partnership one would like to see more often. The book succeedsin its mission.Bolton certainlyshowsthat each approach has a useful contribution to make. Moreover, he points to someshared conclusions.The most generalof these is described at the end of the book. He notes that despite their disparate viewpoints, all the approaches considered assert a dynamicreciprocalrelationshipbetween organism and environment . Response following upon stimulus will not describe behavioradequately.The stimuluscan only be identified as such after the response occurs and in the context of the whole ongoing process. The book’s strengthsstilldo not make it a book for everyone. Although the book is well written and does not presume substantial prior knowledge of the field, its condensation and thoughtfulness discourage casual reading. Also, the book was published initially in 1972. The interveningyears have brought significantdevelopments.Personsinterestedin readingthewhole book carefully should also be interested enough to examine recent findingsin the journal literature. Finally, the book does not deal explicitly with the arts. Though the conceptsdiscussed are inevitably relevant, relating them to behavior in the arts would burden a reader who is not at all technically experienced. These caveatsgranted,interested readerswill find this book one that rewards their efforts. An Introduction to Perception. Irvin Rock. Collier-Macmillan, London,and Macmillan,New York, 1976.580pp., illus.€10.00. Reviewed by Kim James** Ifindit difficultto reviewthisbook.Toogreata praiseforawork makesmehesitateandre-read.To find oneselftryingtoavoidthe clichkdescription‘theidealintroductionto a complex subject’is of course a great compliment to the author. However the sentence at the end of the first paragraph of the Introduction, ‘afterthestudenthasread thisbook hewill know whatthefieldof perception is all about’, is fullyjustified by the text that follows. The diagramsand illustrationsare clear and to the point and free of a kind of folksyjokiness that has begun to creep recently into books of an introductory kind. I wish however that some *Project Zero, Harvard Graduate School of Education, Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A. **3 Hickmire, Wollaston, Wellingborough, Northants, England. real progresscould be made in the area of ‘problem-solving’that deals with references to diagrams,which by some ‘law’of bookproduction physics are always three pages back; though this book suffers less than most from this defect. There are colour plates, all in the sectionon colour, unfortunately,sincethey are of colourcharts, which add little to the text. It would have been of more use if they had been used elsewhere., in the sections dealing with illusions, for example. A good deal of attention is devoted to aspects that usually receive inadequate treatment. The section on size perception is very well written and makes interesting what is often rather boring. The discussion of the perception of causality describes Michotte’s work in rather more detail than is usual. The perception of form is accorded three chapters and most approachesto thesubjectaregiven prominence,thoughthemost recent statementsby J. J. Gibsonin Leonard0 4,27 (1971) were,I suppose, too recent to be taken into account in this book. The final chapter is a statement of the author’s own point of view...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1530-9282
Print ISSN
0024-094X
Pages
pp. 243-244
Launched on MUSE
2017-01-04
Open Access
No
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