Gestalt theory


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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.
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Gestalt theory aims to formulate some rules according to which the perceptual input is organized to unitary forms such as wholes, groups, or gestalt.
This difference is compatible with the principle I adopted from gestalt theory, that the whole is a system that determines the character of its parts.
It may therefore be asked: is this not a contradiction of an important proposition of the gestalt theory?
A number of theories and a model are available, including Gestalt theory (Wertheimer 1938), Olson's hierarchical model of map-reading (Olson 1976), Marr's theory of visual processing (Marr 1982), and Pinker's theory of graph comprehension (Pinker 1990).
(8) Camurri and Leman introduce the concept of multimodal environments in relation to Gestalt theory. Multimedia environments provide digital extensions for different human activities.
As to the challenge of establishing and pursuing research congruent with and utilizing the insights of gestalt therapy, it is possible to question the extent to which the contributors, having described their way of working therapeutically, and having made explicit their concerns about how research is conducted, have been able to go on to present specific ways of doing research which honour the best of gestalt theory and gestalt therapy.
Gestalt theory also comes into play when clients are invited to explore where blocked energy can show up in the body.
Combining these areas brings a blend of clinical practice, Gestalt theory, clinical supervision, and experiential foci, the very essence of our model.
Clearly 'group' has acquired an emergent quality, 'grouping' in the sense of wholes rising from contiguous elements as described in Gestalt theory's figure-ground relations.
Chapter 5 is a critical analysis by Ken Smith that uses Gestalt theory to examine perception and the newspaper page.
Their good performance can be explained by their connections with several basic principles of human visual perception (Gestalt Theory and Marr's computational theory).
Gestalt Theory, Available from: http://gestalttheory.net/archive/wert1.html#fn1, Accessed: 2007-07-16 Table 1.