Gestalt Psychology Essay

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Gestalt Psychology History and Systems of Psychology Gestalt psychology is an approach to psychology and understanding the nature of perception developed by Max Wertheimer, Kurt Koffka, and Wolfgang Kohler in the 1900's. Included in Gestalt Psychology are principles of perception. The ideas of German thinkers at the time inspired the creation of Gestalt psychology as well as preceding movements in psychology such as structuralism and functionalism. Structuralism and functionalism both led to a critical examination of perception in general. Phenomenology, a field of philosophy that deals with examining direct experience was influential, as were the thoughts of Immanuel Kant and Ernst Mach. Kant discussed how our perception of something does not come to us in fragments of sensory data but wholes. Mach pointed out that our understanding of what an object actually is, does not change just because our immediate perception of it changes. Christian Von Ehrenfels pointed out that the experience of notes produces the experience of a song, or something greater than the sum of its individual parts. These all deal something in terms of its constituent parts to experiencing the totality of them. (Shultz & Ellen, 2011) One gestalt principle deals with proximity, for example if there are dots grouped together that make up an image, you will see the image, not the dots. Another, continuity, and makes things appear to flow, for example things will appear to be in a series going from left to right if they are next to each other horizontally. Similarity deals with grouping items that are similar with one another, for example if you see two different types of shapes you will view all the shapes that are that shape as one group and the other shape as another group. The principle of closure completes shapes or perceptions that we are used to seeing even if they

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