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Gestalt Psychology

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What is the main premise Gestalt psychology and how does it function within art and design? “Humans are psychologically disturbed and often deeply upset by imbalance, disorder, chaos, tension and conflicts…We are comfortable only when we feel in equilibrium, that is, balanced and in control.” These two statements describe the basic foundations for Gestalt psychology. Gestalt psychology utilizes the brain’s predisposition to seek a whole in order to understand its parts. Put simply, the perception of the whole is greater than the sum of its components. The Gestalt premise is a number of principles or ‘laws’ related to the organisation of visual fields. These principles alter the viewer’s ‘default’ view or expectations and promote a more creative interpretation or perception of an image.

http://www.openclipart.org/detail/gestalt-perception---pacman-by-smok This image is an example of the human unease if the mind cannot find a coherent resolution to a problem. All principles of Gestalt psychology deal with coherent factors, that is, the grouping together and orderly (or logical) relationship of parts, which lead to recognition and comprehension. These principles can be organised into seven concepts. Proximity is the principle that deals with how close elements are together, and how they therefore lead to groupings. Similarity deals with the groupings of like elements (e.g. Shape, colour, size or direction) Perceptual organisation tends to move in one direction; thus we are able to follow the path of a single line (or contour) even in a maze of many overlapping lines. This is the Gestalt concept of continuity. The brain has a tendency both to perceive groupings as wholes and to fill in gaps in order to understand parts, this concept in Gestalt psychology is known as closure. As Jack Frederick Myer suggests in The Language of Visual Art, pre-existing ideas form the foundations for closure and thus this concept is a confirmation of these ideas rather than a...

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