Gestalt: Approach to Perceptual Organization

Topics: Gestalt psychology, Perception, Psychology Pages: 5 (1642 words) Published: April 25, 2013
Paula Mason
Sensation and Perception

Gestalt: Approach to Perceptual Organization

Perceptual Organization refers to how we sense and interact with things in our environment. Gestalt psychology come about when a group of German psychologists; Koffka, Kohler and Wertheimer began to question that principles of behaviorism and structuralism and they resulted in Gestalt psychology. The theory in terms of piecing elements together cannot be explain because it demonstrates that our perception have immediate qualities and are very organized. These men discussed the psychological process and argued that it was not possible to break it down. This theory is known as Gestalt taken from the German word for “Form.” “The Gestalt Approach is summed up as “The whole is different than the sum of its parts.” An example of this fundamental principle is provided by the phi phenomenon, first described by Wertheimer (1912). The phi phenomenon is the illusion of movement created by presenting visual stimuli in rapid succession. For example, movies and TV consist of separate still pictures projected rapidly one after the other. Although we see smooth motion, in reality the "moving" objects merely take a slightly different position in successive frames. The same principle is illustrated by electric signs, such as those on movie marquees or at road construction sites. The bulbs going on and off in turn, with the appropriate timing, give the impression of motion. Of course, nothing in the sign really moves. The elements (the bulbs) are stationary. Working as a whole, however, they have a property (motion) that isn't evident in any of the parts. The Gestalt psychologists formulated a number of rules that they called the principles of perceptual organization.”1 The Gestalt theory until the 1920’s was dominate. There were two contributions that were vital to the understanding of perception. This paper incorporates and examples and there flaws according to perceptual organization and there faults. A main circumstance of the Gestalt approach is that they are heuristic. The two contributions are: principles of grouping and concept of figure ground relationship. “A heuristic is a rule of thumb approach to solving a problem.”2 Example: if you play duck, duck goose with two children, you have an idea of who you may want to pick. This may be an effective solution, but does not guarantee that you would pick the same child each time. When the principles are discussed in detail, critism becomes evident.

Six principles of perceptual organization
Pragnanz is the central law of Gestalt psychology.
““Pragnanz: every stimulus pattern is seen in such a way that the resulting structure is as simple as possible. Example: Three circles intertwined, not six complex shapes. Some believe the brain activity transforms “sensory stimulation as it is received or comes in”.3 Others, “structuralist” think that information “received” by the direct effect it has on the brain. The law of Pragnanz applies to the brain action. The second law is Similarity.

Similarity: similar things appear to be grouped together. It was said that grouping occurs due to similarity of lightness, hue size or orientation. Example: house construction frame perception. Not being able to see the intersecting lumber, we predict that it follows a straight line to hold up the foundation for the support for the house. Proximity or Nearness: things that are near to each other appear to be ground together. Example: horizontal rows of circles to illustrate how the law of nearness overpowers the law of similarity when every other circle is changed to a square, but the perception is still that of horizontal rows. Common Fate: things moving the same direction appear to be grouped together. Objects are grouped perceptually simply by the virtue of their nearness and the fact that they are moving in the same direction. Example: watching slower traffic on the thru way....

References: 1. Retrieved on April 13, 2013. Retrieved on April 13, 2013.
2. Retrieved on April 12, 2013.
3. Retrieved on April 10, 2013.
Goldstien, Bruce. (2002) Sensation and California: Wadsworth Group Gestalt psychology Challenges Behaviorism.
Goldstien, Bruce. (2002) Sensation and Perception. pgs. 101-110 California: Wadsworth Group Gestalt Psychology.
Palmer, S. & Rock, I. (1994). Rethinking perceptual organization: The role of uniform connectedness. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 1, 29-35.
8-9. on April 16, 2013.
Rock (1975). An Introduction to Perception. New York: Macmillan
Palmer, S
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