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Gestalt Psychology

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Christian S. Gle                                            Prof. Catherine DG. Santos
BEEd 2nd year – section A

                      GESTALT PSYCHOLOGY (Revised Handouts)

Objectives:
      At the end of the lesson, the student will be able to:
              Define Gestalt psychology
              Know the different founders of Gestalt psychology
              Describe the different gestalt principles
              Enlist ways of applying Gestalt psychology in the teaching-learning process.

Lesson Content:
      Gestalt loosely translated into English, meaning “shape” or “form”.
      Gestalt psychology is based on the observation that we often experience things that are
      not a part of our simple sensations.
      Gestalt theory was the initial cognitive response to behaviorism. It emphasized the
      importance of sensory wholes and the dynamic nature of visual perception.

FOUNDERS OF GESTALT PSYCHOLOGY

                       MAX WERTHEIMER

                                                                                   Max
     He was born in Prague on April 15, 1880. His father was a                   Wertheimer
     teacher and the director at a commercial school. Max studied
     law for more than two years, but decided he preferred
     philosophy. He left to study in Berlin, where he took classes
     from Stumpf, then got his doctoral degree (summa cum laude)
     from Külpe and the University of Würzburg in 1904.
     In 1910, he went to the University of Frankfurt’s Psychological
     Institute. While on vacation that same year, he became
     interested in the perceptions he experienced on a train. While
     stopped at the station, he bought a toy stroboscope -- a spinning
     drum with slots to look through and pictures on the inside, sort
     of a primitive movie machine or sophisticated flip book.
     At Frankfurt, his former teacher Friedrich Schumann, now
     there as well, gave him the use of a tachistoscope to study the
     effect. His first subjects were two younger assistants,
     Wolfgang Köhler and Kurt Koffka. They would become his
     lifelong partners.
MAX WERTHEIMER (continued)


He published his seminal paper in 1912: "Experimental Studies
of the Perception of Movement." That year, he was offered a
lectureship at the University of Frankfurt. In 1916, he moved to
Berlin, and in 1922 was made an assistant professor there. In
1925, he came back to Frankfurt, this time as a professor.
In 1933, he moved to the United States to escape the troubles in
Germany. The next year, he began teaching at the New School
for Social Research in New York City. While there, he wrote his
best known book, Productive Thinking, which was published
posthumously by his son, Michael Wertheimer, a successful
psychologist in his own right. He died October 12, 1943 of a
coronary embolism at his home in New York.




                WOLFGANG KOHLER



Wolfgang Köhler was born January 21, 1887, in Reval,
Estonia. He received his PhD in 1908 from the University of
Berlin. He then became an assistant at the Psychological
Institute in Frankfurt, where he met and worked with Max
Wertheimer.
In 1913, he took advantage of an assignment to study at the
Anthropoid Station at Tenerife in the Canary Islands, and
stayed there till 1920. In 1917, he wrote his most famous book,
Mentality of Apes.                                                 Wolfgang Kohler
In 1922, he became the chair and director of the psychology lab
at the University of Berlin, where he stayed until 1935. During
that time, in 1929, he wrote Gestalt Psychology. In 1935, he
moved to the U.S., where he taught at Swarthmore until he
retired. He died June 11, 1967 in New Hampshire.
KURT KOFFKA



    Kurt Koffka was born March 18, 1886, in Berlin. He received his
    PhD from the University of Berlin in 1909, and, just like Köhler,
    became an assistant at Frankfurt.
    In 1911, he moved to the University of Giessen, where he taught
    till 1927. While there, he wrote Growth of the Mind: An
    Introduction to Child Psychology (1921). In 1922, he wrote an
    article for Psychological Bulletin which introduced the Gestalt
    program to readers in the U.S.
    In 1927, he left for the U.S. to teach at Smith College. He
    published Principles of Gestalt Psychology in 1935. He died in
                                                                                       Kurt Koffka
    1941.




                                     KURT LEWIN

          In 1890, he was born into a Jewish family in Mogilno, County of
Mogilno, Province of Posen,Prussia (modern Poland). He was one of four children
born into a middle-class family. His father owned a small general store and a
farm.The family moved to Berlin in 1905. In 1909, he entered the University of
Freiburg to study medicine, but transferred to University of Munichto study biology.
He became involved with the socialist movement and women's rights around this
time.[3] He served in the German army when World War I began. Due to a war wound,
he returned to the University of Berlin to complete his Ph.D., with Carl
Stumpf (1848–1936) the supervisor of his doctoral thesis.
         Lewin had originally been involved with schools of behavioral psychology
before changing directions in research and undertaking work with psychologists of
the Gestalt school of psychology, including Max Wertheimer and Wolfgang Kohler.
He also joined the Psychological Institute of the University of Berlin where he
lectured and gave seminars on both philosophy and psychology. [3] Lewin often
associated with the early Frankfurt School, originated by an influential group of
largely Jewish Marxists at the Institute for Social Research in Germany. But
when Hitler came to power in Germany in 1933 the Institute members had to disband,
moving to England and then to America. In that year, he met with Eric Trist, of the
London Tavistock Clinic. Trist was impressed with his theories and went on to use
them in his studies on soldiers during the Second World War.
Following WWII Lewin was involved in the psychological rehabilitation of former occupants of
       displaced persons camps with Dr. Jacob Fineat Harvard Medical School. When Eric Trist and A T
       M Wilson wrote to Lewin proposing a journal in partnership with their newly foundedTavistock
       Institute and his group at MIT, Lewin agreed. The Tavistock journal, Human Relations, was
       founded with two early papers by Lewin entitled "Frontiers in Group Dynamics". Lewin taught
       for a time at Duke University.[5]
       Lewin died in Newtonville, Massachusetts of a heart-attack in 1947. He was buried in his home
       town.




     GESTALT PRINCIPLES


                     Principles                                                Examples


LAW OF PROXIMITY

The closer objects are to each other, the more likely
they are to be perceived as a group.


LAW OF SIMILARITY

Objects that are similar, with like components or
attributes are more likely to be organised together.


LAW OF CLOSURE

In perception there is the tendency to complete
unfinished or partially obscured objects. Kanizsa’s
triangle (right) is one of the most recognisable
examples of this.


LAW OF GOOD CONTINUATION

Objects will be grouped as a whole if they are co-
linear, or follow a direction.
LAW OF GOOD PRAGNANZ

Prägnanz means, in simple terms, “good form” and
refers to organising shapes to simple forms. Figures
are seen as their simple elements instead of
complicated shapes.

LAW OF FIGURE – GROUND

Viewers will perceive an object (figure) and a
surface (ground) even in shapes are grouped
together. This law also defines use of contrast.




             Each of the laws in this presentation provide a technique that can be used in instructional
             and interface design to maximise visual aesthetics, and therefore maximise learning
             potential for users.

             Don’t forget that just as these Gestalt laws are true when defining human perception, the
             opposite of each is also true. For example, in the diagram below, the figure on the right is
             DIS-similar to the others and therefore stands out.




     As shown previously, in verbal expression the rules relate to grammar and structure – in visual
     expression the rules can be explained with Gestalt principles, or “laws”.

     Traditionally, these laws of Gestalt show how visualisations can be effective when presenting
     static visual elements. Design has changed, technology has improved. We now have a multitude
     of multimedia components and new communication tools at our disposal – can we still apply
     Gestalt laws and principles to interface design?
Communicating visually has now been affected by computer screens and reading from a screen
has been shown to be more difficult than traditional printed materials, therefore: DESIGN IS
EVEN MORE IMPORTANT!

Gestalt principles and the Teaching- Learning process

The six gestalt principles not only influence perception but they also impact on learning. Other
psychologists like Kurt Lewin , expounded on gestalt psychology. His theory focusing on “life
spaces adhere to gestalt psychology”. He said that individual has inner and outer forces that
affect his perceptions and also his learning. Inner forces include his own motivation, attitudes
and feelings. Outer forces may include the attitude and behavior of the teacher and classmates.
All these forces interact and impact on the person’s learning. Mario Polito, an Italian
psychologist writes about the relevance of Gestalt psychology to education.

“Gestalt theory is focused on the experience of contact that occurs in the here now. It considers
with interest the life space of teachers as well as students. It takes interest in the complexity of
experience, without neglecting anything, but accepting and amplifying all that emerges. It
stimulates learning as experiences and the experience as a source of learning. It appreciates the
affections and meaning that we attribute to what we learn. Knowledge is conceived as a
continuous organization and rearrangement of information according to needs, purposes and
meanings. It asserts that learning is not accumulation, but remodeling or insight. Autonomy and
freedom of the student is stimulated by the teacher. The time necessary for assimilation and for
cognitive and existential remodeling is respected. The contact experience between teachers and
students is given value: an authentic meeting based ideas and affections.’

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Theoretical Perspectives on Development
 

Gestalt Psychology

  • 1. Christian S. Gle Prof. Catherine DG. Santos BEEd 2nd year – section A GESTALT PSYCHOLOGY (Revised Handouts) Objectives: At the end of the lesson, the student will be able to: Define Gestalt psychology Know the different founders of Gestalt psychology Describe the different gestalt principles Enlist ways of applying Gestalt psychology in the teaching-learning process. Lesson Content: Gestalt loosely translated into English, meaning “shape” or “form”. Gestalt psychology is based on the observation that we often experience things that are not a part of our simple sensations. Gestalt theory was the initial cognitive response to behaviorism. It emphasized the importance of sensory wholes and the dynamic nature of visual perception. FOUNDERS OF GESTALT PSYCHOLOGY MAX WERTHEIMER Max He was born in Prague on April 15, 1880. His father was a Wertheimer teacher and the director at a commercial school. Max studied law for more than two years, but decided he preferred philosophy. He left to study in Berlin, where he took classes from Stumpf, then got his doctoral degree (summa cum laude) from Külpe and the University of Würzburg in 1904. In 1910, he went to the University of Frankfurt’s Psychological Institute. While on vacation that same year, he became interested in the perceptions he experienced on a train. While stopped at the station, he bought a toy stroboscope -- a spinning drum with slots to look through and pictures on the inside, sort of a primitive movie machine or sophisticated flip book. At Frankfurt, his former teacher Friedrich Schumann, now there as well, gave him the use of a tachistoscope to study the effect. His first subjects were two younger assistants, Wolfgang Köhler and Kurt Koffka. They would become his lifelong partners.
  • 2. MAX WERTHEIMER (continued) He published his seminal paper in 1912: "Experimental Studies of the Perception of Movement." That year, he was offered a lectureship at the University of Frankfurt. In 1916, he moved to Berlin, and in 1922 was made an assistant professor there. In 1925, he came back to Frankfurt, this time as a professor. In 1933, he moved to the United States to escape the troubles in Germany. The next year, he began teaching at the New School for Social Research in New York City. While there, he wrote his best known book, Productive Thinking, which was published posthumously by his son, Michael Wertheimer, a successful psychologist in his own right. He died October 12, 1943 of a coronary embolism at his home in New York. WOLFGANG KOHLER Wolfgang Köhler was born January 21, 1887, in Reval, Estonia. He received his PhD in 1908 from the University of Berlin. He then became an assistant at the Psychological Institute in Frankfurt, where he met and worked with Max Wertheimer. In 1913, he took advantage of an assignment to study at the Anthropoid Station at Tenerife in the Canary Islands, and stayed there till 1920. In 1917, he wrote his most famous book, Mentality of Apes. Wolfgang Kohler In 1922, he became the chair and director of the psychology lab at the University of Berlin, where he stayed until 1935. During that time, in 1929, he wrote Gestalt Psychology. In 1935, he moved to the U.S., where he taught at Swarthmore until he retired. He died June 11, 1967 in New Hampshire.
  • 3. KURT KOFFKA Kurt Koffka was born March 18, 1886, in Berlin. He received his PhD from the University of Berlin in 1909, and, just like Köhler, became an assistant at Frankfurt. In 1911, he moved to the University of Giessen, where he taught till 1927. While there, he wrote Growth of the Mind: An Introduction to Child Psychology (1921). In 1922, he wrote an article for Psychological Bulletin which introduced the Gestalt program to readers in the U.S. In 1927, he left for the U.S. to teach at Smith College. He published Principles of Gestalt Psychology in 1935. He died in Kurt Koffka 1941. KURT LEWIN In 1890, he was born into a Jewish family in Mogilno, County of Mogilno, Province of Posen,Prussia (modern Poland). He was one of four children born into a middle-class family. His father owned a small general store and a farm.The family moved to Berlin in 1905. In 1909, he entered the University of Freiburg to study medicine, but transferred to University of Munichto study biology. He became involved with the socialist movement and women's rights around this time.[3] He served in the German army when World War I began. Due to a war wound, he returned to the University of Berlin to complete his Ph.D., with Carl Stumpf (1848–1936) the supervisor of his doctoral thesis. Lewin had originally been involved with schools of behavioral psychology before changing directions in research and undertaking work with psychologists of the Gestalt school of psychology, including Max Wertheimer and Wolfgang Kohler. He also joined the Psychological Institute of the University of Berlin where he lectured and gave seminars on both philosophy and psychology. [3] Lewin often associated with the early Frankfurt School, originated by an influential group of largely Jewish Marxists at the Institute for Social Research in Germany. But when Hitler came to power in Germany in 1933 the Institute members had to disband, moving to England and then to America. In that year, he met with Eric Trist, of the London Tavistock Clinic. Trist was impressed with his theories and went on to use them in his studies on soldiers during the Second World War.
  • 4. Following WWII Lewin was involved in the psychological rehabilitation of former occupants of displaced persons camps with Dr. Jacob Fineat Harvard Medical School. When Eric Trist and A T M Wilson wrote to Lewin proposing a journal in partnership with their newly foundedTavistock Institute and his group at MIT, Lewin agreed. The Tavistock journal, Human Relations, was founded with two early papers by Lewin entitled "Frontiers in Group Dynamics". Lewin taught for a time at Duke University.[5] Lewin died in Newtonville, Massachusetts of a heart-attack in 1947. He was buried in his home town. GESTALT PRINCIPLES Principles Examples LAW OF PROXIMITY The closer objects are to each other, the more likely they are to be perceived as a group. LAW OF SIMILARITY Objects that are similar, with like components or attributes are more likely to be organised together. LAW OF CLOSURE In perception there is the tendency to complete unfinished or partially obscured objects. Kanizsa’s triangle (right) is one of the most recognisable examples of this. LAW OF GOOD CONTINUATION Objects will be grouped as a whole if they are co- linear, or follow a direction.
  • 5. LAW OF GOOD PRAGNANZ Prägnanz means, in simple terms, “good form” and refers to organising shapes to simple forms. Figures are seen as their simple elements instead of complicated shapes. LAW OF FIGURE – GROUND Viewers will perceive an object (figure) and a surface (ground) even in shapes are grouped together. This law also defines use of contrast. Each of the laws in this presentation provide a technique that can be used in instructional and interface design to maximise visual aesthetics, and therefore maximise learning potential for users. Don’t forget that just as these Gestalt laws are true when defining human perception, the opposite of each is also true. For example, in the diagram below, the figure on the right is DIS-similar to the others and therefore stands out. As shown previously, in verbal expression the rules relate to grammar and structure – in visual expression the rules can be explained with Gestalt principles, or “laws”. Traditionally, these laws of Gestalt show how visualisations can be effective when presenting static visual elements. Design has changed, technology has improved. We now have a multitude of multimedia components and new communication tools at our disposal – can we still apply Gestalt laws and principles to interface design?
  • 6. Communicating visually has now been affected by computer screens and reading from a screen has been shown to be more difficult than traditional printed materials, therefore: DESIGN IS EVEN MORE IMPORTANT! Gestalt principles and the Teaching- Learning process The six gestalt principles not only influence perception but they also impact on learning. Other psychologists like Kurt Lewin , expounded on gestalt psychology. His theory focusing on “life spaces adhere to gestalt psychology”. He said that individual has inner and outer forces that affect his perceptions and also his learning. Inner forces include his own motivation, attitudes and feelings. Outer forces may include the attitude and behavior of the teacher and classmates. All these forces interact and impact on the person’s learning. Mario Polito, an Italian psychologist writes about the relevance of Gestalt psychology to education. “Gestalt theory is focused on the experience of contact that occurs in the here now. It considers with interest the life space of teachers as well as students. It takes interest in the complexity of experience, without neglecting anything, but accepting and amplifying all that emerges. It stimulates learning as experiences and the experience as a source of learning. It appreciates the affections and meaning that we attribute to what we learn. Knowledge is conceived as a continuous organization and rearrangement of information according to needs, purposes and meanings. It asserts that learning is not accumulation, but remodeling or insight. Autonomy and freedom of the student is stimulated by the teacher. The time necessary for assimilation and for cognitive and existential remodeling is respected. The contact experience between teachers and students is given value: an authentic meeting based ideas and affections.’