Gestalt Psychology Essay

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Development of Gestalt Psychology While on a train ride from Vienna to Germany, psychologist Max Wertheimer had a visual experience, leading him to question how a stationary object could be perceived as moving when in fact it was not. As the story goes, Wertheimer departed the train and immediately began to investigate the phenomenon of how the mind organizes and perceives visual experiences (Rock & Palmer, 1990). Colleagues and fellow psychologists, Kurt Koffka and Wolfgan Kohler, soon joined Wertheimer in his investigational study, developing what would come to be known as the phi phenomenon. Max Wertheimer’s publication regarding the phi phenomenon is considered to be the pivotal theory founding the Gestalt school of psychology …show more content…
These principles demonstrate the minds tendency to fill in information based off of groups or wholes rather than to focus on individual aspects of a situation. Among the better known principles promoted by Gestalt theory are proximity (objects that are close together are likely to be perceived as together); similarity (similar objects are perceived as belonging together); continuity (objects that are seen as a continuous form are perceived as belonging together); and closure (the response of individuals to mentally fill in missing areas of a visual object in order to create a whole), (Wagemans, Kobvoy, Peterson, Elder, Singh, …show more content…
The influences have been particularly significant in regards to cognitive psychology. Gestalt theories have influenced current cognitive psychology theories on problem solving behavior, specifically the process of insight learning. The information processing approach to cognitive psychology has relied greatly on Gestalt theories in order to further understand the basic processes of pattern recognition--critical to understand overall information processing (Lobb, 2011). The ideas of Gestalt psychology continue to challenge some of the fundamental assumptions for mainstream vision science and cognitive neuroscience. In addition, when applying the Gestalt perspective to sociology, individuals and social groups, organism and environments are not separate entities, but parts of a single unit in mutual interaction, and consequently the tension that there may be between them is not to be regarded as the expression of an irresolvable conflict, but as the necessary movement within a field that tends to integration and to growth. (Lobb, 2011). Thus, they held that behavior must be studied in all its complexity rather than separated into discrete components, and that perception, learning, and other cognitive functions should be seen as structured

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