Friday, April 17, 2020

Journal 1 Chapter 10- Gestalt Psychology

Chapter 10 focuses on Gestalt psychology. In 1910, a German psychologist named Max Wertheimer was one of the main founders of this study. Wertheimer was curious about the illusion of motion, and suspected that these were illusions from the mind rather than the eye. Gestalt psychology focuses on thinking and perception and this theory views the human mind and behavior as a whole. This theory emphasizes that the mind “adds structure and meaning to incoming sensations” (Hunt 321). Researchers such as Kurt Koffka and Wolfgang Kohler helped extend gestalt psychology. Kohler conducted numerous experiments to get insight on this theory as it relates to behavior and learning. Koffka shifted his focus of this theory towards human development. Overall, the purpose of this theory is to develop a greater understanding on how people organize visual information in the mind and our tendency to view images as a whole rather than in separate parts. As I read this chapter, I made the assumption that gestalt therapy, as I had learned in my theories of counseling class, had the same concepts as gestalt psychology. Although this type of therapy bases it’s approach off of gestalt psychology, this counseling theory aims to uncover the negative patterns and habits of the client in order for them to gain awareness of them. The key concepts that gestalt psychologists believe are that physical forces, evolution, and learning are the 3 factors that influence behavior. In this chapter, Hunt pointed out the most important laws of gestalten such as the law of proximity, which suggests that we naturally see objects that are close in proximity to belong together in a group. Another example is the law of similarity. According to this law, we view similar looking objects to belong in a group, and can overcome the proximity factor. The law of closure states that we perceive images as being complete, even if the lines making up the image are broken or incomplete. The law of Pr├Ągnanz is our tendency to see the simplicity in complex shapes. The last law as discussed in this chapter is the law of continuity. This law shows the tendency for humans to follow lines and shapes to create the whole picture. Examples of these laws are as follows:


  1. Hi Shannon,

    I found this chapter to be quite interesting because Gestalt Psychology was trying to get a in depth look at human cognitive processes rather than trying to argue about the existence of mind or knowledge. Knowing how we come to analyze the things we perceive and find order in our daily lives is a crucial basis in better understanding our judgments and future actions. I like how you summed up this chapter with this line: Gestalt psychology focuses on thinking and perception and this theory... emphasizes that the mind “adds structure and meaning to incoming sensations” (Hunt 321). I felt that compare to perception personality which was more bottom-up processing and relied heavily on the senses, Gestalt psychology tries to approach the information and things we see through top-bottom processes to make better sense of why it exists.

  2. Hi Shannon! I appreciated your post and the picture you provided. It was useful in getting a better understanding of what the reading was talking about! It's ironic how simplified complex tasks can become. To us and our perception, it can be complex and a complete mess.

  3. Hi Shannon! I enjoyed your post about Gestalt Psychology and the picture you added. It is amazing how people organize visual information in the mind and how each individual views things.