Gestalt Psychology Essay

984 words - 4 pages

The purpose of this paper is to discuss Gestalt psychology including its origin, the people responsible for its development, and some of the basic principles or laws of Gestalt.Gestalt began in Germany at the start of the 20th century during the time when structuralism was the dominant approach to dealing with perception. The structuralists believed that perception was created by a number of sensations that when combined would form the basis for the whole perception. Max Wertheimer, considered to be the father of Gestalt, thought the approach was wrong and came up with the concept that the whole was more important that the individual sensations (Goldstein, 178). Wertheimer used two research students, Kurt Koffka and Wolfgang Kohler, to help him in his work and who later came to be known as the three founders of Gestalt psychology (Gestalt). The German name "Gestalt" relating to form or configuration, continues to be used as the name of this approach because there is no exact English translation. Gestalt is used to explain perception and perceptual organization.Unlike the structuralism view of perception that used a bottoms up approach by adding up the parts, Gestalt stressed the importance of the whole as being more important that the sum of its parts. We often hear the phrase "The whole is often greater than the sum of individual parts," as one of the principals associated with Gestalt psychology. It is not the collection of individual pieces, but the interpretations of the whole that is important (Baron and Byrne, 65). To add to the importance of viewing the whole, Gestaltists developed a set of principles or laws of perceptual organization that explain how we organize small parts into wholes (Goldstein, 180). There are seven laws of Gestalt used to describe how we interpret what we see.The Law of Pragnanz (German for "good figure") or Law of Simplicity.This is known as the Gestalt law of Minimum Principle: ..."we do not perceive what is actually in the external world so much as we tend to organize our experience so that it is as simple as possible...simplicity is a principle that guides our perception and may even override the effects of previous experience" (Benjafield, 173). An example of this law can be seen in the drawing of the Olympic circles on the right. As we view the diagram we don't break everything down in to its smallest parts, but usually see the standard 5 circle Olympic symbol, or the most simple of all views.Law of Similarity. When objects are grouped together, they appear to be similar. The drawing on the left shows an example of this law. The dots in the drawing above (a) are all the same while some columns of dots have been replaced with squares above (b).Law of Continuity. Objects tend to continue shapes beyond their ending points. An example is shown on the right with the pipes of a refinery. We see pipes coming and going and can visualize they come and go from specific places even...

Find Another Essay On Gestalt Psychology

3 perspecitves of early psychology Essay

588 words - 2 pages There are 10 different perspectives of early psychology. I will be focusing on three: Gestalt psychology, psychodynamic, and cognitive. Here is a summary of each.Gestalt psychology: Belief that the whole (Gestalt) is more than the sum of the parts, particularly in human behavior. For example the brain "sees" the rapid presentation of photographs as cinematographic motion, a musical piece is more than just collection of notes. The Gestalt school

Wolfgang Kohler's Contributions to Learning Essay

1285 words - 5 pages Max Wertheimer and Kurt Koffka, with whom he lay foundations of the Gestalt psychology. It was born as a reaction to the behavioristic theories of Watson and Pavlov and focused mainly on the nature of perception. In 1913, Kohler became director of the Anthropoid Station of the Prussian Academy of Sciences on the Island of Teneriffe. He remained there through WWI and started to work on The Mentality of Apes. After his return to Germany, Kohler


803 words - 3 pages selection is a theory proposed by Darwin which states natural forces select traits in organism that help them adapt to their environment. Darwin argued that natural forces select adaptive traits in organism that help them adjust to and survive in their environment and that are likely to be passed on to their offspring.(Robin M. Kowalski, psychology, 4e, 2005)GestaltThis viewpoint was built on Max Wertheimer. Gestalt psychology is based upon the

Psychological Tests

2527 words - 10 pages called the Thematic Apperception Test—developed by the American psychologists Henry A. Murray and C. D. Morgan. Both of these tests are frequently included in contemporary personality assessment. During World War II the need for improved methods of personnel selection led to the expansion of large-scale programs involving multiple methods of personality assessment. Following the war, training programs in clinical psychology were


494 words - 2 pages that the eye does all the work and causes the illusion of movement, e.g. When lights are flashing at rapid succession in different places without actual motion the brain will thing that the lights are moving and changing places.What is the Gestalt theory?This theory as introduced by a group of psychology in 1920. There are two different types of this theory one is psychology and the other on systematically. The theory states that when you look at

The following is my summary of the ten early perspectives of psychology

1130 words - 5 pages In psychology there are ten early perspectives. These perspectives are structuralism, functionalism, Gestalt psychology, behaviorism, psychodynamic, humanistic, physiological, evolutionary, cognitive, and cultural and diversity. The different perspectives in early psychology have had a tremendous influence on modern psychology, and the way it has progressed. Each perspective has its own unique way of explaining the human behavior. The following

Psychology: Its origins from the 19th century to the present. (Talks about the schools of Psychology)

1661 words - 7 pages school left Europe to the United States to escape the Nazi threat. They also helped build the American psychology. Gestalt is German for "form" and "shape".What is Gestalt psychology? Gestalt psychologist focuses were on solving problems, perception and how it influences thinking. They saw our perceptions as wholes that gave meaning to parts.PsychoanalysisThis school was founded by Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) and as the rest was different so was

A. H. Maslow

604 words - 2 pages 1960's, which he referred to as the ?third force?, beyond Freudian theory and behaviorism. Also during this period of his life, he came into contact with the many European intellectuals that were immigrating to the United States, Brooklyn in particular, people like Adler, Horne, as well as several Gestalt and Freudian psychologists. In 1951, Maslow served as the chair of the psychology department at Brandeis for 10 years, where he met Kurt

Foundations of Psychology

1061 words - 4 pages through a number of schools of thought. As time progressed, more approaches to present day psychology emerged consisting of Gestalt, Behaviorism Psychoanalytic/Psychodynamic, Human perspective and Cognitive. The first school of thought, Structuralism, studied conscious experience to discover the structure of the human mind. This thought posed the idea that the conscious experience can be divided in to basic elements. Structuralism is the element of

10 Perspectives of Early Psychology

850 words - 3 pages As described, there are 10 different perspectives of early psychology. These perspectives are: Structuralism, functionalism, Gestalt psychology, Behavioral, psychodynamic, humanistic, physiological, evolutionary, cognitive, and cultural and diversity. Here is a summary of each.Structuralism is "the earliest approach in modern psychology, founded by Wilhelm Wundt; its goal was to evaluate the basic elements of a cognizant experience: (Davis and

Past Psychology Therapies Meet Future Therapy

912 words - 4 pages Therapies in psychology continue to grow, evolve and change for the benefit of the patient. Past treatments have been used a building blocks to advance the value of each previous psychoanalysis. The past cures or studies are known as structuralism, functualism, behaviorism, gestalt psychoanalysis, and psychoanalysis and in the future we will look bad seed syndrome. William Wundt is considered the founding father of structuralism

Similar Essays

Gestalt Psychology And Perception Essay

2125 words - 9 pages Gestalt psychology was founded by German thinkers Max Wertheimer, Wolfgang Kohler and Kurt Koffka. They mainly focused on how people interpret the world around them. The Gestalt perspective formed partially as a response to the structuralism of Wilhelm Wundt, who focused on breaking down mental events and experiences to the smallest elements. Structuralists had failed in explaining the concept of ‘apparent motion’ and ‘illusory contours

Gestalt Theory Essay

640 words - 3 pages Gestalt is a German word for "˜form' and as applied to Gestalt psychology it means "Unified whole". Hence, Gestalt psychology can be referred to as a school of psychology that studies how people perceive and experience objects as whole patterns. The essential points of Gestalt's psychology are, the idea of a good figure and the belief that, in perception, the whole is greater than its parts.The statement "˜The whole is Greater than

Empiricism And Behaviorism Essay

1390 words - 6 pages the turn of the twentieth century, the field of Psychology found itself in a war between two contending theoretical perspectives: Gestalt psychology versus Behaviorism. With its roots within the United States, behaviorists in America were developing a theory that believed psychology should not be concerned with the mind or with human consciousness. Instead, behavior and the actions of humans would be the foremost concern of psychologists

Psychology As A Pradigm Essay

1803 words - 8 pages as helping psychology become paradigmatic was Gestalt psychology. Gestalt psychology emerged with the help of with help of Max Wertheimer in 1910 (Schultz & Schultz, 2008). His idea of Gestalt psychology involved subjects perceiving apparent motion, that is, perception of motion with no actual physical movement (Schultz & Schultz, 2008). This field of psychology influenced work on things like perception, learning, thinking, personality, and