Gestalt Psychology

Gestalt Psychology is based on the theory that things are often experienced out of the ordinary. That lives are lived in a sequence of events. In other words, Gestalt psychology is based on perception. It is based on what is known but isn’t seen. It’s as if things and events in a person’s life succeed each other ever so slowly. An example, a cartoon of a dog could be seen walking or wagging his tail only because of these sequences of events.

Max Wertheimer was the founder of Gestalt psychology. The word itself means a meaningful whole. In other words one minute fraction of this meaningful whole  itself would be nothing, but put together it becomes an action, an activity, it becomes something perceived.

Actually what is seen is an illusion, not the real thing. It is possible, Max Wertheimer explained, to see illusions, that is seeing the effect of the whole action and not the sum of its parts.

The laws that govern Gestalt Psychology are:

(1.) The law of pregnancy. Not pregnancy that produces a child, but pregnant with thought, it was explained. Examples are dots outlining a circle or a star or some other shape and without hesitation the human mind will perceive the whole although there will be missing parts.

By that we could conclude that if there are too many missing parts, then our perception is lacking. I base that conclusion on coloring books where you connect the numbers. Often there is not enough information and one cannot perceive what the final picture will begin. With such scanty fore knowledge all we have to go on is the placement of the numbers and these most likely will give us a false picture. In order to get the right one we will have to follow instructions.

Yet in the above mental diagram we perceive in what order we follow one to two and to three and on.

(2) The second law is The Law of Closure: We add the missing parts. We have stored perceptions in our minds that adds information here.

(3) The law of Similarity: We tend to group things of a like nature together. This law is used in basic learning situations where a child will come home from school with homework where there to mark things that have a commonality. It can be the shape, square, round, or perpendicular, or it could be different kinds of containers, such as a cooking pot, a basket, an envelope.

(4) The law of Proximity: If they are linked together, then they belong together. A pile of rocks, trees, sand at the seashore.

(5) Law of Symmetry: We perceive of the phrase “square pegs will not fit in round holes. Things that fit together must be similar in nature. A key fit’s a lock designed for that particular key.

(6) Law of Continuity: With our perception we tend to see further than what is obvious. The illustration the research article gave was of dissecting lines. Although you lay two straight lines diagonally across each other, the mind follows the straight line and does not stop at the intersection and perceive the pie triangular enclosures. The enclosures are incidental to the two straight lines, although they are most obvious to the eye.

(7) Figure Foreground: What is in the foreground, the most powerful image will engage our attention, and our perception first. That is why artist will always have a something in painting that draws our attention to it.Gestalt concerns itself with memory, and minds have a natural tendency to straighten the crooked, to finish the unfinished. Productive thinking is moving the unseen objects around so to better understand them. Since it is in  natures to bring order out of chaos, physically, mentally and emotionally, this makes sense.