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Gestalt Psychology

Gestalt psychology was founded by Max Wertheimer as a sort of rebellion against Wundt’s psychology program. This school of thought looks at the human mind and behavior as a whole. According to Wertheimer, “There are wholes, the behavior of which is not determined by that of their individual elements, but where the part-processes are themselves determined by the intrinsic nature of the whole. It is the hope of Gestalt theory to determine the nature of such wholes” (Kendra, n. d. ). According to Dr.

George Boeree, Gestalt psychology is based on the premise that people experience certain things that are not part of their simple sensations. Wertheimer observed this phenomenon and noted that “people perceive motion where there is nothing more than a rapid sequence of individual sensory units” (n. d. ). He made the note when he observed a toy stroboscope at a train station, and what he saw in his laboratory when he conducted an experiment with lights flashing in rapid succession. This effect is known to be apparent motion.

Gestalt Psychology on Perception and Cognition Between the 1930s and the 1940s, gestalt was applied to perception. The aim was to investigate the global and holistic processes that are involved in perceiving structure in the environment. They tried to explain how humans perceive groups of objects and the difference of perceiving parts of the objects and the whole objects (Seogaard, 2010). Gestalt psychology has contributed to a lot of developments in perception and cognition. One of the recent contributions of gestalt is to interactive design.

Interactive media designers make use of Gestalt psychology to be able to determine how people interpret and organize the visual information around them. Designers also include sound and time based content. These include embedded video or interactive characters (Decker, 2010). Gestalt psychology has contributed a lot to different fields of study as well as engineering. In 2005, a paper was written by Zakowska on the application of Gestalt psychology in highway design process. Gestalt psychology provides an explanation to some unsolved problems in road visualization and perception in the psychological perspective.

Principles of this school of thought suggest that perceptual interrelations in the visual field are regular in a number of ways. This is beneficial in to the process of designing safe and aesthetic solutions for road systems (Zakowska, 2005). Aside from perception, Gestalt psychology also has significance in human cognition. In an article written by Theo Wehner and Michael Stadler, human errors are discussed through the theoretical framework of Gestalt psychology as compared with cognitive error theories.

The authors of this article argued that errors in cognitive processes or actions are not always caused by routine. Instead, they indentified a natural consequence of gestalt organization that is independent of whether or not a particular line of action has been learned. They presented different Gestalt principles such as closure, good continuation, and proximity as conditions that govern the emergence of failures. These principles were applied in the fields of visual perception, thinking, and goal-directed actions (Wehner and Stadler, 2010).

References Boeree, C. G. (n. d. ). Gestalt Psychology. Retrieved June 6, 2010, from http://webspace. ship. edu/cgboer/gestalt. html Decker, E. J. (2010, April 29). Applications of Gestalt Theory to Interactive Media Designs. Retrieved June 6, 2010, from http://ericadecker. com/blog/2010/04/applications-of-gestalt-theory-to-interactive-media-designs/ Kendra, C. (n. d. ). What is Gestalt Psychology? Retrieved June 6, 2010, from About. com: http://psychology. about. com/od/schoolsofthought/f/gestalt_faq. htm Soegaard, M.

(2010, March 22). Gestalt principles of form perception. Retrieved June 6, 2010, from Interaction-Design. org: http://www. interaction-design. org/encyclopedia/gestalt_principles_of_form_perception. html Wehner, T. S. (2010). The Cognitive Organisation of Human Errors: A Gestalt Theory Perspective. The International Association of Applied Psychology , pp. 565-583. Zakowska, L. (2005). Application of gestalt psychology in highway design process. Advances in Transportation Studies: an international Journal , 7.

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