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Related to Gestalt theory: gestalt therapy
Gestalt theory a theory developed by the Frankfurt school of psychologists in the early 20th-century, which emphasized the organization and meaning imposed on sensory data during the process of perception. An often quoted summary of Gestalt theory (Gestalt = whole or pattern) is the phrase ‘the whole is more than the sum of the parts’. General laws of perceptual organization were described (e.g. proximity similarity, law ofPrägnanz or ‘good form’), and a now highly dubious account of corresponding brain action proposed, in which percepts were represented by stability in cortical field patterns. Gestalt psychologists (e.g. Kurt Koffka, Wolfgang Köhler and Max Wertheimer) also believed perceptual organization to be innate (see NATURE-NURTURE DEBATE). Today, only the descriptive level of Gestalt theory finds general acceptance.