Journal 1 - Gestalt Psychology

            Chapter 10 explores the foundation of Gestalt psychology and what it entails. Unfortunately, there is no exact definition for it, except that it refers to the area of study where researchers try to explain the idea of perception. Furthermore, this perception is explained in 'Gestalts' which is otherwise known as patterns or configurations. One fundamental of Gestalt psychology was given to us by Wertheimer's research where he said the whole is a lot different than the sum. This plays a big role when Kurt Lewin is introduced and we learn more about the Zeigarnik effect. Lewin applied Gestalt psychology to individual and social behavior and gave emphasis on interaction between a person and their environment. The Zeigarnik effect, developed by Bluma Zaigarnik, says that humans have a tendency to remember uncompleted tasks rather than completed tasks.

          One question I would have to ask, if I had the opportunity, is how this research came to be? How did the researchers recognize perception? How did researchers realize that our brains were operating in perceptive ways? I liked this chapter a lot because I can relate it to my 2 year old nephew. He thoroughly enjoys watching youtube kids when he eats. He will watch a range of shows from learning animals, to shapes, to colors, e.t.c. If you were to point to a color and ask what color it is, he would tell you. Until the other day when my sister-in-law noticed him reading and was quite shocked. So my brother wrote down a list of words and my nephew began to read them. He doesn't know how to read, but he used his sensorimotor learning and association with the youtube videos to the letters written on my brother's phone. So, the concepts that Koffka wanted to express was this idea of perception and how our brain uses association and sensory motor skills to learn. However, the zeigarnik effect was a fascinating theory to learn about. Have you ever seen those memes on social media asking "what color do you see in this dress or shoes?" or "do you hear laurel or yanny?" Your unique point of view is individual to your brain. Have you ever taken a test and afterwards talked it over with your friends but could only remember the questions that you weren't sure of? That is the zeigarnik effect and how humans have a tendency to remember uncompleted tasks rather than completed ones!
Try these out...
2) do you see a blue/black dress or white/gold dress?

3) can you close the photo?


  1. Samantha, I found your post to be very interesting! Gestalt psychology raises similar questions for me as well. Seeing that it lacks a definition to understand exactly what it is, I also wonder how they discovered perception. Additionally, how did they discover such advanced ways and techniques to experiment and draw a conclusion on perception as well? I also found what you included on the Zeigarnik effect to be quite fascinating as well!

  2. Samantha, I enjoyed your post. As I read the chapter it me with little understanding of what exactly Gestalt psychology really means. I can relate to your story of your nephew. My three year old goddaughter loves to watch YouTube videos of children and some videos on shapes and colors. I just recently overheard her randomly says her colors and shapes, she even began reading some sight words. After reading the chapter and learning about Zeigarnik effort, I now know why I cannot remember things after I have completed them.

  3. Samantha, I liked your post. I also had similar questions as you did while reading the chapter, specifically about the origins of Gestalt psychology. Without a true translation of what it means, it makes me wonder if we are interpreting the meaning of the field correctly. I also enjoyed your comment on the Zeigarnik effect, it's something I often find myself experiencing, and now I'm glad to know there's a name to it.


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