Values as Constraints on Affordances: Perceiving and acting properly

Review by: William A. Harper
By Bert H. Hodges and Reuben M. Baron

The Big Idea

The Big Idea 

As any reader of PDP’s research summaries knows, the journal selections for these reviews favors fairly recent research.  Also, the selections for the most part have an obvious relevance to sport in general and coaching/playing team sports in particular.

So why would we give time and space to an oldish paper (1992) that appears by its title to have nothing to do with the subjects our readers are interested in?  Because this paper has everything to do with sports and the coaching/playing of them, if that is, we value what we do and that we do it properly.  You see, this paper is grounded on the even earlier academic development of what is called ecological (or environmental) psychology.  The pioneers of this approach are driven to directly study human thought and actions—that is, studying humans in their situations, relations, and contexts, and not exclusively in laboratories.

These life situations include the worlds of play and sport, to be sure.  The big idea of this paper is both simple and complex.  Its simplicity lies in the matter-of-fact way we humans, in and of sport, become human by way of possibilities and consequences, in and of sport. Its complexity lies in the matter-of-fact ways we humans, in and of sport, become agents of our collective opportunities for virtue or vice, in and of sport, as well.