This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

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 psychologists further recognized that structuralism could not explain many perceptual phenomena. In response, they proposed that perception is based on the organization of stimuli into holistic and meaningful forms. They are well-known for the phrase "the whole is different than the sum of its parts." They proposed several "laws" (really heuristics or "rules of thumb") that are referred to as the Gestalt laws of perceptual organization. These are discussed in the module later on.
The most concise way to characterize Gestalt psychology is to say that it deals with wholes and its given data are what have been called phenomena. It is because of their strong phenomenological orientation, which explains that wholes are experienced by conscious man and not in parts. For example, in perceiving a melody one gets a melodic form, not a string or a note, a unitary whole that is something more important than the total list of its parts. This is the way experience comes to man, organizing it into significant structured form.

Lets first understand the historical perceptive, from where its role started. While behaviorism was becoming the dominant psychological theory in the US, along with Freud’s theory of psychoanalysis, the Gestalt perspective gained influence in Europe around the same time. Gestalt psychology was seen as an alternative to behaviorism and structuralism. The early Gestalt thinkers felt that behaviorism dealt too much with collecting, tallying, and treating only specific problems, or parts of a whole. As opposed to the structuralist approach, which focuses on particular elements in a configuration, the Gestalt approach focuses on the configuration itself.

Gestalt is the German word meaning ‘pattern’, ‘form’ or ‘configuration’. The term was introduced into physiological psychology by the German psychologist C.von Ehrenfels and was disseminated by K.Koffka. It was Koffka (1935) who asked, ‘why do things look as they do?’ In

our daily life, our perception of several figures may share a common ground and it may seem that figures tend to cluster together in groups.

Figure 1: K.Koffka identified the Gestalt ideas of perceptual organization
Source: Google images

The question which arises was that, some elements of the perceptual field form the figure while others become ground and why do figural elements group together the way they do? (Look at figure 3.1). The conclusion, arrived by him was that whatever is seen in this world corresponds to the ‘perceptual...

Find Another Essay On Gestalt Psychology and Perception

Empiricism and Behaviorism Essay

1390 words - 6 pages be different, depending on their past experiences. Max Wertheimer is considered, in many respects, to be the founder of Gestalt psychology. Wertheimer had his first breakthrough when he noticed the movement of blinking lights as you traveled at high speeds past them. Wertheimer conducted further research on this concept and developed what is known today as the phi phenomenon. The phi phenomenon is the notion that our perception of an experience

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

Wolfgang Kohler's Contributions to Learning

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

Critically evaluate in some depth at least three core concepts from TA and Gestalt respectively. Link personal therapuetic experiences of the ima

1059 words - 5 pages Publications; 1989 London Mackewn, J. Developing Gestalt Counselling, Sage Publications; 1997 London Ed. Stevens, J. Gestalt is, Real People Press; 1975 Utah Wertheimer, M & Beardlee, D. Readings in Perception, D. Van Nostrand Co, Inc; 1958 New York Yontef, G. Awareness Dialogue & Process - Essays on Gestalt Therapy, The Gestalt Journal Press, Inc; 1993 USA Lister-Ford,C. (2002) Skills in Transactional Analysis Counselling and Psycotherapy


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

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

1130 words - 5 pages that focused on the purpose of consciousness." Davis and Palladino ( Page 25 Para. 5) Basically they wanted to see how people use certain information to adapt to their environment. Functionalism and functionalist reached their peak around 1906.Max Wertheimer soon introduced a new approach. Gestalt psychology was "an approach to psychology most noted for emphasizing that our perception of a whole is different from our perception of the individual

10 Perspectives of Early Psychology

850 words - 3 pages gentlemen believed "that our perception of a whole is different from our perception of an individual stimuli" (Davis and Palladino, 2000). This psychology is founded on the principals known as "apparent motion, in which a rapid sequence of stationary images creates the illusion of movement, as in a movie" (Rock & Palmer, 1990). The name Gestalt is an actual German word which could translate into shape, or pattern in English.The behavioral

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

Ulric "Dick" Neisser: A Biography

516 words - 2 pages Derek GaunttMrs. HagermanCollege Psychology14 November 2014Biography #3Ulric "Dick" Neisser, who once was a young German immigrant in a strange world, became the "father of cognitive psychology," a justifiable title for a man of his accomplishments. He revolutionized how the human mind was studied. This was accomplished through his strive to understand mental processes such as perception and memory.Born in 1928, Ulrich Gustav Neisser was raised

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

Historical and Contemporary Psychological Schools of Thought

1617 words - 7 pages used by animal trainers, teachers, and parents. Gestalt Psychology The statement made by Gestalt psychologist Kurt Koffka in German translated in English to “The whole is greater than the sum of the parts.” In German, it actually meant “The whole is other than the sum of its parts” (Dewey, 2007). Gestalt itself means “unified whole”. Gestalt Psychology is based on perception. If focuses on the wholeness of perception and how our mind puts

Similar Essays

Psychology Of Sensation And Perception Red Rocks Community College Psychology

1203 words - 5 pages Runchel 2 Kaitlyn Runchel Sorden Psychology 18 March 2018 Sensation and Perception The world around us is entirely apprehended on a person by person basis when considering how we as individuals identify our surroundings. Using our senses to achieve a conglomerate picture of perception is critical in establishing our presence in the world. However, because these impressions are so unique to each individual, they also tend to formulate opinions

What Is Perception And What Does It Mean Psychology Essay

580 words - 3 pages 9/26/17 Psychology 9:30 AM CONDE Perception If there is one piece of advice I could give to anyone it is to never judge a book by its cover. We as individuals sometimes paint a picture in our head of what somebody else’s life is like just from observing their exterior , rather than diving in and truly getting to know them as a person. My idea of perception is looking at someone or something and just forming a story in my mind of what I think I

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

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