Gestalt Psychology Definition by Max Wertheimer, it is an approach that focuses on the organization of perception and thinking in a ‘‘whole” sense rather than on the individual elements of perception. Instead of considering the individual parts that make up thinking, gestalt psychologists concentrated on how people consider individual elements as units or wholes. Gestalt Laws of Organization We organize our experiences according to certain rules, in a simple way: They made great contributions to the understanding of the perceptual phenomena.
• This school developed as a reaction to structuralism in the early 1900s
• In contrast to the structuralist approach of breaking down conscious experience into elements, or focusing upon the structure, the Gestalt school emphasized the significance of studying any phenomenon in its overall form.
• The word gestalt means “Configuration”
• The main concept that the Gestaltists posed was that the “WHOLE” is more than the sum of its parts, and it is different from it too.
• They concentrated on how people consider individual elements together as units or wholes
• The concept of Gestalt applies to everything, objects, ideas, thinking processes and human relationships
• Any phenomenon in its entirety may be much greater than when it is seen in a disintegrated form
• Three German psychologists Max Wertheimer, Kurt Koffka and Wolfgang Kohler were
regarded as the founders of gestalt school as each one of them had done significant work in his respective field.
• The founder of Gestalt Psychology, born in Prague in 1880
• Studying at the University of Frankfurt he became aware of a form of apparent motion that was called “Phi phenomenon”
• Phi phenomenon = when two lights are in close proximity to each other, flashing alternately they appear to be one light moving back and forth; therefore the whole was different from the separate parts; movement perceived whereas it never occurred
• We perceive experiences in a way that calls for the simplest explanation, even though reality may be entirely different; this is Gestalt Law of Minimum Principle. We tend to organize our experience so that it is as simple as possible.
• Explanation of phi phenomenon led to a separate school of thought i.e., Gestalt school, that had deep rooted impact on learning, ethics, and social psychology.