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Gestalt Psychology Reflection
PSY 310
January 11, 2016
Sam Ivory
Dr. Fine

Gestalt psychology Reflection

The school of thought is what Gestalt psychology theory is about. Gestalt believes that all things and scenes are observed in the simplest forms. Also known as the 'Law of Simplicity,' the meaning behind the theory is that the whole of an object or scene is more important than its individual parts. When you observe everything as a whole it allows us to us find order in disorder and unity among outwardly unrelated parts and pieces of information (Cherry, 2015). Gestalt theories have implications for education focusing more meaningful learning and true understanding of principles, over the traditional structured approaches based on memory and recall (King, Wertheimer, Keller & Crochetiere, 1994).

Gestalt psychology gave a unique way on human perception. According to Gestalt psychologists, you don't just see the world; what you see, depending on what you are expecting to see. The reason behind Gestalt psychology is that it encourages people to 'think outside of the box' and to look for patterns. Another contribution to Gestalt psychology is the development of our senses is capable of visual recognition of things as a whole and not just simple line and curves (Schamber, 1986). However the breakdown of the mental process wasn’t done until it was in their smallest forms. The psychologist believed that behavior must be studied in all of its complexities instead of being separately or divided. This was because they believed that mental experiences were not simple combinations of elements but based on one’s perceptions of patterns that happen during an experience. In this lesson, we'll explore the basic principles of Gestalt psychology and the laws of perceptual organization using examples

Based on the belief, Gestalt psychologists a set of principles to explain perceptual organization, or how smaller groups form larger ones. These principles are often referred as the "laws of perceptual organization." Nevertheless, while Gestalt psychologists call these phenomena "laws," a more accurate term would be "principles of perceptual organization." These principles are much like heuristics, which are mental shortcuts for solving problems (Cherry, 2015).
Law of Pragnanz:
The fundamental principle of gestalt perception is the law of prägnanz. This law states that we tend to order our experience in a manner that is regular, orderly, symmetric, and simple.
The word pragnanz is a German term that means "good figure" (Cherry, 2015). * If listening to music on the radio that continues to beep because of the explicit words, your mind will fill in the bleeps with a curse word that makes sense.
Law of Similarity:
The fact that we link things that are similar and treat them like a group is the Law of Similarity. We tend to group similar shapes together and often times, we try to attach some type of meaning to them. Grouping can happen both visually and auditory. * Grouping the players on a basketball team based on the color jersey that they are wearing.
Law of Proximity:
Law of Proximity states that the brain associates objects close to each other than it does when objects are spaced far apart. * A woman who wears an afro may be perceived as a trouble maker at work and ghetto because of her hair.
Law of Continuity:
The law of continuity holds that points that are connected by straight or curving lines are seen in a way that follows the smoothest path. Rather than seeing separate lines and angles, lines are seen as belonging together (Cherry, 2015). * Instead of viewing a square as four lines, we see it as the square and not just lines.
Law of Closure: Closure look for unity in objects and to see lines as a single unit; the brains sometimes it ignores contradictory information and to fill in gaps in information. Our eyes can connect information, what is there is enough to make a complete image out of what is present.


Cherry, K. (2015). What is Gestalt Psychology?. Retrieved from D. B., Wertheimer, M., Keller, H., & Crochetiere, K. (1994). The legacy of Max Wertheimer and gestalt psychology (Sixtieth Anniversary, 1934-1994: The Legacy of Our Past). Social Research, 61(4), pp.907
Liquori, E. (2011). The Close Relationship Between Gestalt Principles and Design. Retrieved from principles-and-design/ Schamber, L. (1986, August). A Content-Driven Approach to Visual Literacy: Gestalt
Rediscovered. Paper presented at 69th Annual Meeting of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communications, Visual Communications Division, Norman,
Turner, R. (2015). Gestalt Psychology: Definition & Principles. Retrieved from…...

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