How exactly do human perceivers manage to "pick up" the invariant information supplied by the visual world? According to Gibson, there is a process of resonance, which he explained by analogy to the workings of a radio. When a radio set is turned on, there may be only a hissing sound. However, if it is tuned properly, speech or music will be clearly audible. In Gibson's terms, the radio is now resonating with the information contained in the electromagnetic radiation.

This analogy suggests that perceivers can pick up information from the environment in a relatively automatic way if they are attuned to it. The radio operates in a holistic way, in the sense that damage to any part of its circuitry would prevent it working. In a similar way, Gibson assumed that the nervous system works in a holistic way when perceiving.

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