Gestalt Psychology Reference

“The whole is other than the sum of the parts.” — Kurt Koffka

Emergence - process of forming complex patterns from simple rules (whole is identified before the parts). When attempting to identify an object, we first seek to identify its outline. We then match this outline pattern against shapes and objects we already know to find a match. Only after the whole emerges through this outline pattern matching, do we start to identify the parts that make up the whole.

Dog is only seen as a whole and not by its parts

Reification - an aspect of perception in which the object as perceived contains more spatial information than what is actually present (our minds fills in the gaps).

A: triangle is seen though not there; B & D: shape is connected; C: perceived 3D object

Multi-stability - the tendency of ambiguous perceptual experiences to pop back and forth unstably between two or more alternative interpretations (the mind seeks to avoid uncertainty).

Invariance - a property of perception in which simple objects are recognized independent of their rotation, translation and scale. Since we often encounter objects from different perspectives, we’ve developed an ability to recognize them despite their different appearance.

Gestalt Principles

Law of Prägnanz - human brain tends to process simple ( regular, even, and orderly) patterns faster than more complex patterns. Similar to Occam’s Razor for psychology

Laws of Perception
    Continuity - elements arranged on a line or curve are perceived as more related than elements not on the line or curve.
    Closure - when seeing a complex arrangement of elements, we tend to look for a single, recognizable pattern.
    Proximity- Objects that are closer together are perceived as more related than objects that are further apart.
    Similarity - elements that share similar characteristics are perceived as more related than elements that don’t share those characteristics.
    Symmetry - People tend to perceive objects as symmetrical shapes that form around their center.
    Common Fate - elements that move in the same direction are perceived as more related than elements that are stationary or that move in different directions.
    Figure Ground Relationship - Elements are perceived as either figures (distinct elements of focus) or ground (the background or landscape on which the figures rest).