In Kohler’s book Gestalt Psychology, he noted that the term was used in two different ways in German. The first denoted the shape or form as a property of perceived objects. The second sense referred to the more concrete form of an object, such as a triangle. Thus, we could refer, in the first sense, to the attribute of triangularity and in the second, to the triangle itself.
Immanuel Kant – 1781 he published one of his important works, Critique of Pure Reason. Two points from Kant are represented as basic tenets of Gestalt psychology. First, the world as we perceived it was not the same as the real world. Second, certain of our perception of objects come naturally as primitive organizations quite independent of learning. (nativism) John Stuart Mill – (associationist) developed the idea of a mental chemistry in which ideas were not merely the sum of the individual elements, but could evolve into a new whole which was more than the sum of its parts. Franz Brentano and Carl Stumpf – (structuralists) opposed the idea of a passive mind that merely received experiences, and had stressed the act of perceiving and sensing rather than the analysis of the various elements. Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) – argued that when we perceive what we call objects, we encounter mental states that appear to be composed of bits and pieces. These are like the sensory elements proposed by empiricists and associationists. However, to Kant, these elements are organized meaningfully not through some mechanical process of association. Instead, the mind in the process of perceiving will form or create a whole experience. Thus, perception is not a passive impression and combination of sensory elements, as the empiricists and associationists said, but an active organizing of elements into a coherent experience. Franz Brentano – opposed Wundt’s focus on the elements of conscious experience; proposed that psychology study the act of experiencing
Ernst Mach – more direct influence; a physicist who insisted that sensations served as the basis for all science. To the simple summation of sensations he added the possibility of a space-form dimension as illustrated in a triangle or any other kind of geometrical figure, as well as a time-form dimension as heard in a melody. He considered these time-forms to be independent of their elements. A triangle could be blue or white, large or small, but it still retained its quality of being a triangle. Likewise ,a melody was the same melody regardless of the key in which it was played, and it did not lose its time-form dimension in the transposition. Christian von Ehrenfels – philosopher who elaborated on Mach’s ideas. He believed that there were qualities in experience which went beyond those generally recognized in our sensations. He called these “Gestaltqualitaten” or form-qualities. In melody, there was a temporal pattern that was independent of the individual sensational tones which were the elements out of which it was composed. The same was true for visual form in a manner similar to that stated by Mach. For Ehrenfels and the Austrian Graz School, the problem of form in itself was an element, but not merely an element of sensation. It existed as a new element created by the mind to be added to the sensation elements. The new elements were present in the mind but were not in physical things. Ernst Mach (1838-1916) – perception of an object does not change, even if we change our orientation to it (e.g. a table remains a table to us whether we look at it from the side or the top or from an angle) Christian von Ehrenfels (1859-1932) – the mind was able to create form out of elementary sensations; Max Wertheimer studied with him at Prague
William James – opposed the trend toward elementism in psychology; regarded elements of consciousness as artificial abstraction’ “people see objects as wholes, not as bundles of sensations”; Koffka and Kohler learned of James’ work when they were students of Stumpf phenomenology – a doctrine based on an unbiased description of immediate experience just as it occurs. The experience is not analyzed or reduced to elements or otherwise artificially abstracted.
Psychology was not forced by the Nazi party to meet any specific political demands. The Nazi party had no concept for the discipline’s theoretical development, nor did the party specifically suffocate psychology. The only constant factor of Nazi science policy was the persecution of Jewish and politically opposing scholars. Thus, racist dismissals hit psychology. But a the same time the party authorities and representatives who were responsible for science policy fostered the professional development of the field. The Nazi regime was not only interested in ideological legitimization. It was also interested in a science that was highly effective in a technological, or, as Jurgen Habermas has put it for the social sciences, in a socio-technological sense. This was true not only for psychology, but also for other disciplines. Psychology’s professionalization largely shaped its development throughout the Nazi period. The discipline was able to prove its usefulness in the army and in other fields outside the university, and leading psychologists seem to have been guided primarily by a desire to do all that was worthwhile for the improvement of the discipline’s institutionalization and professionalization. They did not reflect on the ends which their knowledge was used, even when the German army, for which they were working, spread war and terror over Europe. (Experts are often blind. They offer knowledge and their abilities as effective means of performing tasks whose aims they have neither set nor considered.) The great importance of psychology in the military and the accelerating role of war in psychology’s professionalization is not only a German phenomenon. This has already been stressed for the US and Canada in WW1 and 2, and can surely be found in other countries as well. In Germany, the requirements of the army for a great number of psychological experts pushed psychology’s orientation toward diagnostics.
significant influence was the intellectual climate in physics. In the closing decades of the 19th century ideas in physics were becoming less atomistic with the recognition and acceptance of fields of force, those regions or spaces crossed by lines of force such as from an electric current (e.g. magnetism, light and electricity were believed to operate similarly) physicists were describing fields and organic wholes, thus providing ammunition and support for the Getslt psychologists’ revolutionary ways of looking at perception. Thus, the ideas offered by the Gestalt psychologists were reflecting the new physics. Personal connection- Kohler studied with Max Planck, one of the architects of modern physics; Watson apparently had no training in the new physics
. If the art in a box is the image created by the term “behaviorism”, then the chimp with two sticks in his hands is the symbol of the Gestalt laboratory.
Isomorphism - a term implying equality of form, makes the bold assumption that the ‘motion of the atoms and molecules of the brain’ are not ‘fundamentally different from thoughts and feelings’ but in the molar aspects, considered as processes in extension, identical
Wertheimer, Koffka and Kohler worked together at the Psychological Institute of Frankfurt for several years, beginning in 1909 Strolioscopes were available as toys by 1910; earliest motion pictures had been filmed some 20 years before Careful about the use of the term “discovery”; it was not apparent movement that was discovered by the Frankfurt group but a new approach to psychology, an approach based on such perceptual phenomena as phi.
In the later part of the 19th century, a controversy existed between two groups of people concerned with perceptual phenomena and their origins. Those who believed that Perceptual phenomena were innately given as parts of our physiological apparatusPast experiences were crucial in determining how we see the world around us Immanuel Kant: innately given characteristics of perceptionHelmholtz: unconscious inferences depended upon the person’s past experiences with objectsBritish associationists: stressed the acquired characteristics of perceptionGestalt psychologists: Perception is determined jointly by the nature of the stimuli falling upon the receptors and the innate organization of the nervous system. The proper study of perception involves strong dependence upon phenomenology, the study of a person’s own sensations. Because of their interests, they were drawn to consideration of erroneous perceptions, or illusions. Gestalt psychologists are interested in explaining normal adult perception and use the study of illusory or abnormal perceptions as one approach to that end. Two products emerged from the Gestalt studies of perception: a set of laws which described the perceptual experiences occurring as a result of specified stimulus conditions (laws of perception) and an explanation of the ways in which perception occurred (the principle of isomorphism). Law of Pragnanz not the only things that transforms and gives meaning to what we experience physically It is consciousness or subjective reality that determines behavior; beliefs, values, needs, attitudes; people in exactly the same physical environment will vary in their interpretation of that environment and, therefore, how they react to it Geographical environment (objective or physical reality) Behavioral environment (psychological and subjective reality) “ To understand why people act as they do, it is more important to know their behavioral environments than it is to know their geographical environment.” (Koffka) Beliefs are powerful determinants of behavior. (in close agreement with the theories of Tolman and Bandura) Law of Pragnanz: Cognitive balance is more satisfying than cognitive disbalance. [in close agreement with both Guthrie and Hull; problems provide maintaining stimuli (or drive, to use Hull’s term), which persists until the problems are solved, at which point the maintaining stimuli terminate (the drive is reduced)]
Figure and Ground – one of the most important principles of “primitive organization”; any perception would tend to organize itself into a figure that stood out from its background
Closure – when certain parts of our perceptual organization were left out, there was a tendency to “fill in the gaps”, in other words, to make the Gestalt complete Pragnanz – closure was merely a special case of the more general law of pragnanz (good form or good Gestalt)
Proximity – elements which are close together either in time or space would tend to be grouped together
Continuity (Principle of Direct or Good Continuation) – the stimuli that have continuity with each other are perceived as flowing in the same direction or following the same pattern, and will be seen as a figure
Similarity – elements that were alike in their structure would tend to be perceived together, unless there were other factors in the field overriding them
(The mathematical relation of isomorphism is that two figures are isomorphic if the points of which they are comprised are connected in the same way. If we were to draw a figure of a triangle on a piece of elastic material, like rubber, then no matter how we distort the rubber surface, the connections between the adjacent portions of the figure are always the same. Each new figure created by distorting the rubber surface is isomorphic to the original triangle and to other figures produced by distortion of the figure.)
in the Muller-Lyer illusion, the fact that one horizontal line appears longer than the other is explained on the basis that the forms of excitation in the visual area of the brain corresponding to the horizontal lines in the stimulus are in fact different lengths. The form corresponding to the perceived longer line is longer than the form corresponding to the perceived shorter line. The field effects produced by the different types of lines at the end of the two longer lines influence the electrical brain fields of the two forms in different ways. The arrowlike endings act to stretch out the electrical fields. Thus, the ends of the stimulus patterns have actually altered the physiological forms . The explanation is based upon electrical phenomena which would occur in any similarly constituted electrical field.
Criticisms of Isomorphism: 1. Thus far Gestalt psychology would have us assume that figures in the world are transmitted to the visual areas, and sometimes the transmitted figure is distorted because of the nature of the material in the brain and the activity in other areas. But, what then? We must have some theory to explain how these physiological forms are capable of instigating behavior, and some theory by which these brain forms are translated into awareness to account for the mental experiences of perception. One of the serious problems which exist for the Gestalt theories of psychology is that these next links in the theoretical chain leading to behavior have not been forged. bases for doubts about the usefulness of the principle of isomorphism center on the results of studies of the nervous system. The size of the visual projection area which receives fibers from the foveal area of the retina greatly exceeds the size of the visual projection area receiving fibers from the rest of the retina. Shouldn’t this produce a considerable amount of the perceptual distortion? Yet our visual experiences do not seem distorted in this way. We do not see portions of figures in the center of our visual fields larger than other portions falling more on the periphery of the retina. Studies which create electrical or physiological disturbances of the brain tissue in the visual projection areas. It has been pointed out that tumors and accidents of brain pathology in the visual areas do not produce the expected disturbances of perception. In one study gold foil, an excellent electrical conductor, placed across the visual projection areas of a chimpanzee trained in a visual discrimination problem did not interfere with the animal’s behavior in a visual task. The gold foil was placed so as to disturb any forms which might exist in the electrical fields of the visual brain areas. Gold pins inserted in the visual projection area of another animal did not interfere with the animal’s responses in the same task. These examples make it difficult to assume that the integrity of a form of electrical activity in a sensory projection area is essential to perception.
A detour problem requires the subject to turn away from the goal in order to reach it (see Figure). In order to be credited with insight the animal must, accdg to Kohler, show evidence of perceiving the relationships involved by quickly and smoothly adopting the detour route. Description of his human subject’s solution for a similar problem: A little girl of 1 yr 3 mos, who had learned to walk alone a few weeks before, was brought into a blind alley, set up ad hoc (2 meters long and 1.5 wide), and, on the other side of the partition, some attractive object was put before her eyes; first she pushed toward the object, i.e. against the partition, then looked around slowly, let her eyes run along the blind alley, suddenly laughed joyfully, and in one movement was off on a trot round the corner to the objective. But when tested on the same type of the problem the hen showed no evidence of reasoning or insight. The birds spent most of their time “rushing up against the obstruction. Some eventually achieved the solution in simplified problems if they extended their running sufficiently to hit upon the opening where they could then see a direct route leading to the goal. The dog and the chimpanzee did exhibit the ability to solve the detour problem in an insightful manner. Kohler reports that his subject’s behavior clearly reveals the dramatic moment at which insight occurs
In either case, the successful solution to the problems involves the animal’s understanding of the implement as a tool. For example, if a banana is placed out of reach outside the animal’s cage and several hollow bamboo sticks are provided inside the cage, then the animal must perceive the sticks in an entirely new manner- not as playthings- but as tools which he can use as extensions of himself. When Sultan, Kohler’s brightest ape, was confronted with this problem he failed at first. He tried to get the banana with one stick, then brought a box toward the bars and immediately pushed it away again. He next pushed one stick out as far as it would go, took the other stick and pushed the first with it until the first touched the banana. Sultan, Kohler adds, exhibited considerable satisfaction at this actual contact with the fruit. However, despite the fact that Kohler gave Sultan a “hint” by putting his finger in the bamboo stick while Sultan watched, the animal did not succeed in the course of an hour-long trial. But immediately after that same trial, in the course of playing with the sticks Sultan solved the problem. In subsequent experiments, Sultan solved the problem quickly and was not confused even when given three sticks, two of which could not be fitted together. Kohler reports that the animal did not even try to put the inappropriate sticks together.
We may interpret the significance of this and similar implement tests as follows. The chimpanzee does not exhibit “pure insight” in solving the problem in the sense that he needs no experience with the implements before demonstrating their use in an insightful manner. Some trial-and-error behavior is a necessary prelude for insight to take place. Once the animal grasps the problem, he exhibits a high degree of understanding and good transfer on the box-stacking problem- perhaps the best known of all Kohler’s experiments. The situation confronting the animal is the proper utilization of one or more boxes for obtaining a banana, which is suspended too high for the animal to reach directly or grasp by jumping. It turned out that the apes had considerable difficulty with this problem. Sultan needed repeated trials and several demonstrations of box-stacking by Kohler before succeeding. But Kohler goes on to argue that the animal was actually confronted with two problems in one. First, he had to solve the problem of the gap between the floor and the banana. Essentially, this was a perceptual problem necessitating the perception of the box as a gap filler. The second aspect of the problem was the mechanical one of actually building the box structure, and it was the mechanical one of actually building the box structure, and it was on this phase of the problem that the animals experienced the greatest difficulty. There were, so to speak, poor builders. Sultan rather quickly demonstrated that he knew how to bridge the gap by dragging boxes under the suspended fruit, but he stacked the boxes in so wobbly a manner that his structures kept collapsing. It is, after all, unnecessary for a chimpanzee to be a skilled builder in his natural surroundings when he is so agile in climbing trees. However, several of Kohler’s animals eventually managed a three-to-four-box tower which remained in place long enough for them to scramble up and seize the banana before the structure collapsed. Kohler concluded that the building problem was solved only by trial-and-error, but that the perceptual problem was solved by insight.
Kohler criticizes Thorndike’s work on the ground that the cats in the puzzle boxes were frequently confronted with problems in which a survey of the entire release mechanism was impossible. Kohler believes that the various elements or parts of the problem must be perceived by the animal or it will be impossible for him to reorganize them into a large whole. This does not mean the “blind random attack” of Thorndike’s cats, but a procedure more akin to what we might call “behavioral hypothesis” which the animal is trying out and discarding. In this connection, the animal’s previous experience with either the specific elements involved in the problem under attack, or with similar problems in the past, is crucial. Past experience with similar problems leads to fruitful hypothesis in future problems. Moreover, the animal shows a high level of retention and understanding which, of course, makes for good transfer. Not all chimpanzees can solve the same problem. Moreover, there are differences among species of animals. It will be recalled that dogs could readily solve the detour problem whereas hens could not. No one has made an exhaustive study of the matter, but is doubtful if anything akin to “reasoning” or “insight” can be demonstrated lower on the phylo-genetic scale than the rodents, and even here the problems must be so simple that it is a controversial matter whether they are properly called “reasoning” problems in the first place.
The Presolution Period referring to the elapsed time before an insightful solution to a problem is reached For insightful learning to occur, the organism must be exposed to all elements of the problem; otherwise, its behavior will seem to be blind and groping Critique to Thorndike’s Research: Thorndike found what appeared to be incremental learning because important elements of the problem were hidden from the animal, thus preventing insightful learning The “Aha” experience – finding a good portion of the picture before the hidden shape is found; cognitive disequilibrium (tension) → cognitive equilibrium (relaxation) → may make one feel like saying “Aha”
Kenneth Spence proving through experiment on boxes: phase 1 - reinforced an animal for approaching box with lid of 160 sq. cm. and not reinforced for approaching box with lid of 100 sq. cm. phase 2 – the animal chooses between box with lid of 160 sq. cm. and a box with lid of 256 sq. cm.; animal chooses larger box based on generalization: the tendency to approach a positive stimulus generalizes to other related stimuli the tendency to approach the positive stimulus (and the generalization of this tendency) is stronger than the tendency to avoid the negative stimulus (and the generalization of this tendency) What behavior occurs will be determined by the algebraic summation of the positive and negative tendencies; Whenever there’s a choice between two stimuli, the one eliciting the greatest net approach tendency will be chosen. Spence’ theory could predict both the successes and failures of the transposition phenomenon; became more widely accepted
Karl Duncker German Psychologist Rating: 18/27 Born: Leipzig, February 2,1903 Died: Swarthmore, Pennsylvania, February 23, 1940 Highest Degree: PhD in psychology, University of Berlin, 1929 Positions: 1929-1937, University of Berlin; 1938-1940, Swarthmore College
Duncker analyzed the protocols obtained from his subjects according to certain stages revealed by the subject’s reactions. There is the discovery of the “general or essential properties of a solution”. None of the solutions are practical, but they nevertheless reveal a general grasp of the problem and a reformulation of it in a goal-oriented direction. Upon being advised of the impracticality of his first general proposals, the subject continues to formulate solution which are still broad but which are more truly solutions as opposed to mere reformulations of the problems. Duncker grouped these under the heading of solutions with “functional value”. Out of the functional solutions the subject develops specific solutions.
Several studies done intended to demonstrate how changes in the memory traces would follow some principle of organization; the first was done by Wuff who presented his subjects with simple geometric figures or irregular shapes. These were presented for 5 seconds initially. The subjects were then asked to draw the figures they had seen following time intervals of thirty seconds, twenty-four hours, and one week. In cases where the original figure was “weak” (very ambiguous), the subjects tended to sharpen and make it a better figure (good form). Gibson and Bartlett also found that when subjects were presented simple visual forms and later asked to recall them, distortions tended to occur, but in the direction of good form (insert figure- changes in figures within the method of serial reproduction). Allport and Postman presented rumors to their subjects and later asked them to recall them. Again, considerable leveling occurred. Shortening and simplifying of the reports resulted, which the Gestaltists felt supported their hypothesis.
Any disturbance of this equilibrium leads to tension, which in turn leads to some action in an effort to relieve the tension and restore the balance. Notes on Bluma Zeigarnick: Zeigarnick became one of the most prominent psychologists in the former Soviet Union: she is the "founding mother" of contemporary psychopathology in the former USSR. She is the author and co-author of practically all major textbooks on psychopathology ("abnormal psychology" in the US terms) and was the leading teacher in this area (full professor at Moscow University since early 60s (in Luria=92s department). Her last book, the second edition of “Psychopathology" was published in 1986 (after her death).=20 Now, I attended her lectures in 1973-76. I read from cover to cover many of her textbooks during my training as a forensic psychologist. I can testify that in all her texts she appeared as an orthodox Vygotskian (in Leontiev=92s modification) and there is nothing there from gestalt psychology in general and Lewin=92s writings in particular. During her lectures she was very critical of Lewin, I would say, even sarcastic: she repeatedly said:"the so-called theory of Lewin".
Some of gestalt’s effect of social psychology is found in the following concepts: The Zeigarnik Effect: Experiments done by Bluma Zeigarnik showed that we remember interrupted tasks best. The reason for this is that the tension created by unfinished tasks helps us to remember; it is not just the most rewarding experiences that we remember best. Group Dynamics: The importance of this technique is based on the Gestalt idea that seeing yourself as others see you can offer great insight into your relationships with others and increase tolerance Solomon Asch studied social cognition and determined that the way we perceive others is based on the Gestalt idea of seeing individuals as a whole person instead of focusing on their individual attributes
GESTALTGESTALTPSYCHOLOGYPSYCHOLOGY“The whole is different“The whole is differentthan the sum of its parts.”than the sum of its parts.”A report by Eden GallardoA report by Eden Gallardo
• AntecedentsAntecedents• The Nazi PeriodThe Nazi Period• The ZeitgeistThe Zeitgeist• Nature vs. NurtureNature vs. Nurture• Mind-Body ProblemMind-Body Problem• The Triumvirate (Wertheimer, Koffka, Kohler)The Triumvirate (Wertheimer, Koffka, Kohler)– Phi PhenomenonPhi Phenomenon– Gestalt Laws of OrganizationGestalt Laws of Organization– Insightful LearningInsightful Learning– Productive ThinkingProductive Thinking– Memory TraceMemory Trace• Kurt Lewin’s Field TheoryKurt Lewin’s Field Theory• The Spread of Gestalt PsychologyThe Spread of Gestalt Psychology• Gestalt Psychology: Concept MapGestalt Psychology: Concept Map• Lesser Known Gestalt PsychologistsLesser Known Gestalt Psychologists• ContributionsContributions• CriticismsCriticisms
““Gestalt”Gestalt”configurationconfigurationarrangement of parts in a wholearrangement of parts in a wholeformformshapeshape
ANTECEDENTSANTECEDENTSImmanuel Kant (1724-1804)Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) – nativist– nativist• the world as we perceived it was not the same as thethe world as we perceived it was not the same as thereal worldreal world• our perception of objects come naturally as primitiveour perception of objects come naturally as primitiveorganizations quite independent of learningorganizations quite independent of learningJohn Stuart Mill (1806 - 1873)John Stuart Mill (1806 - 1873) – associationist– associationist• mental chemistry - ideas were not merely the sum of themental chemistry - ideas were not merely the sum of theindividual elements, but could evolve into a new wholeindividual elements, but could evolve into a new wholewhich was more than the sum of its partswhich was more than the sum of its partsFranz Brentano (1838 – 1917) andFranz Brentano (1838 – 1917) andCarl Stumpf (1848 - 1936)Carl Stumpf (1848 - 1936) – structuralists– structuralists• opposed the idea of a passive mind that merely receivedopposed the idea of a passive mind that merely receivedexperiences, and stressed the act of perceiving andexperiences, and stressed the act of perceiving andsensing rather than the analysis of the various elementssensing rather than the analysis of the various elements
ANTECEDENTSANTECEDENTSErnst Mach (1838-1916)Ernst Mach (1838-1916) – positivist– positivist• insisted that sensations served as the basis forinsisted that sensations served as the basis forall scienceall science• a triangle could be blue or white, large ora triangle could be blue or white, large orsmall, but it still retained its quality of being asmall, but it still retained its quality of being atriangletriangle• a melody was the same melody regardless ofa melody was the same melody regardless ofthe key in which it was played, and it did notthe key in which it was played, and it did notlose its time-form dimension in thelose its time-form dimension in thetranspositiontranspositionChristian von Ehrenfels (1859 – 1932)Christian von Ehrenfels (1859 – 1932) ––• qualities in experience which went beyondqualities in experience which went beyondthose generally recognized in our sensations;those generally recognized in our sensations;called thesecalled these “Gestaltqualitaten”“Gestaltqualitaten” or form-or form-qualities; the new elements were present inqualities; the new elements were present inthe mind but were not in physical thingsthe mind but were not in physical thingsMaxMaxWertheimerWertheimerstudied withstudied withhim at Praguehim at Prague
ANTECEDENTSANTECEDENTSWilliam James (1842 – 1910) –William James (1842 – 1910) –• opposed the trend toward elementism inopposed the trend toward elementism inpsychology; regarded elements ofpsychology; regarded elements ofconsciousness as artificial abstraction’ “peopleconsciousness as artificial abstraction’ “peoplesee objects as wholes, not as bundles ofsee objects as wholes, not as bundles ofsensations”;sensations”;phenomenologyphenomenology – a doctrine based on an– a doctrine based on anunbiased description of immediate experienceunbiased description of immediate experiencejust as it occurs; the experience is notjust as it occurs; the experience is notanalyzed or reduced to elements or otherwiseanalyzed or reduced to elements or otherwiseartificially abstractedartificially abstractedKoffka andKohler learnedof James’work whenthey werestudents ofStumpf
THE NAZI PERIODTHE NAZI PERIOD• The Nazi regime was interested in its ideologicalThe Nazi regime was interested in its ideologicallegitimization and at the same time, it was alsolegitimization and at the same time, it was alsointerested in a science that was highly effectiveinterested in a science that was highly effectivein a technological and socio-technological sensein a technological and socio-technological sense(Jurgen Habermas).(Jurgen Habermas).• Psychology’s professionalization largely shapedPsychology’s professionalization largely shapedits development throughout the Nazi period.its development throughout the Nazi period.• The psychologists, like most experts, did notThe psychologists, like most experts, did notreflect on the ends which their knowledge wasreflect on the ends which their knowledge wasused, even when the German army, for whichused, even when the German army, for whichthey were working, spread war and terror overthey were working, spread war and terror overEurope.Europe.
THE NAZI PERIODTHE NAZI PERIOD• The great importance of psychology in theThe great importance of psychology in themilitary and the accelerating role of war inmilitary and the accelerating role of war inpsychology’s professionalization was anpsychology’s professionalization was aninternational phenomenon.international phenomenon.• Following dismissals due to anti-Semitism,Following dismissals due to anti-Semitism,several German psychologists emigrated to theseveral German psychologists emigrated to theUnited States.United States.• Disciples/adherents to the Gestalt positionDisciples/adherents to the Gestalt positioncontinued to conduct research in Germanycontinued to conduct research in Germanyduring the Nazi era, focusing on studies in visionduring the Nazi era, focusing on studies in visionand depth perception.and depth perception.
THE ZEITGEISTTHE ZEITGEIST• In the closing decades of the 19th century ideas inIn the closing decades of the 19th century ideas inphysics were becoming less atomistic with thephysics were becoming less atomistic with therecognition and acceptance of fields of force (e.g.recognition and acceptance of fields of force (e.g.magnetism, light and electricity were believed tomagnetism, light and electricity were believed tooperate similarly)operate similarly)• In chemistry most everything was thought to beIn chemistry most everything was thought to bedivided into combinations of various elements: fordivided into combinations of various elements: forexample, water is a combination of hydrogen andexample, water is a combination of hydrogen andoxygen.oxygen.• Around 1910 in Germany was called the Crisis ofAround 1910 in Germany was called the Crisis ofScience. Not only science, but academic knowledgeScience. Not only science, but academic knowledgein general, was losing the confidence of more andin general, was losing the confidence of more andmore people, intellectuals included, because itmore people, intellectuals included, because itcould not deal with major human concerns. It wascould not deal with major human concerns. It wastime to deal with central human issues outside thetime to deal with central human issues outside thenatural science tradition. (practical science vs.natural science tradition. (practical science vs.speculative psychology)speculative psychology)Kohler studiedKohler studiedwith Max Planck,with Max Planck,one of theone of thearchitects ofarchitects ofmodern physicsmodern physics
On Nature vs. NurtureOn Nature vs. NurtureBehaviorists GestaltistsThe brain as the passivereceiver of sensation that,in turn, produce responses;a complex switchboardHuman nature is determinedby what we experience.The contents of the “mind” asthe synthesis of ourexperiences.The brain acts on incoming sensoryinformation in such a way as tomake it more meaningful andorganized; not a learned functionbut is the result of the brain’sstructure (the brain’s organizationalabilities were not inherited; rather,such abilities characterized anyphysical systemPassive brain that respondedto and stored sensoryinformation [Britishempiricists]Active brain [rationalists] thattransformed sensory information[nativistic, Kantian tradition]
On the Mind-Body ProblemOn the Mind-Body ProblemVoluntarists Structuralists BehavioristsGestaltistsAn active mindprofoundlyinfluencedbehavior.The mind couldwillfully arrangethe elements ofthought intoany number ofconfigurations;behavior wasinstigated bythe resultantconfigurationsBody sensationspassively give rise to,or caused, mentalimages.Epiphenomenalism- belief that thecontents of the mindvary passively as afunction of sensoryexperience and haveno causal relationshipto behaviorIgnored theissue;concentratedtheirinvestigationson behaviorIsomorphism betweenpsychologicalexperiences and theprocesses that exist inthe brainThe phenomenal world(consciousness) is anaccurate expression ofthe circumstances, thatis, field forces that existin the brain.
The Founding ofThe Founding ofGestalt PsychologyGestalt Psychology• The Wurzburg LegacyThe Wurzburg Legacy• German PhenomenologyGerman Phenomenology• Originated and nurtured by Max Wertheimer, WolfgangOriginated and nurtured by Max Wertheimer, WolfgangKohler, and Kurt KoffkaKohler, and Kurt Koffkao Wertheimer studied with Stumpf before joining KulpeWertheimer studied with Stumpf before joining Kulpein Wurzburgin Wurzburgo Kohler and Koffka were both educated at theKohler and Koffka were both educated at theUniversity of Berlin under the direction of StumpfUniversity of Berlin under the direction of Stumpfo All three later fled to the United States during NaziAll three later fled to the United States during Naziperiodperiod
Max WertheimerMax Wertheimer(1880 – 1943)(1880 – 1943)considered to be Gestalt psychology’s founder;gifted with an inspirational quality; warm andfriendlyworked closely with Koffka and Kohler, who actedas subjects in the first experiments conducted byWertheimerHe became aware of a form of apparent motion,known as the phi phenomenon while on a trainat Frankfurt.His book Productive Thinking was publishedafter his death.
Wolfgang KohlerWolfgang Kohler(1887 – 1967)(1887 – 1967)Gifted with a thoughtful, systematic capacity;always a physicist in his thinking; cold and aloofthe only psychologist in Germany to protestpublicly the dismissals of Jewish scholarsHis most significant work on insightful learningwas done in 1913 - 1917 at the University ofBerlin Anthropoid Station on Tenerife, CanaryIslands. His findings were summarized in TheMentality of the Apes (1917).He also developed the concept of isomorphism.
Kurt KoffkaKurt Koffka(1886 – 1941)(1886 – 1941)the most prolific writer of Gestalt psychology’sfounders; charismatic and charming manbrought the teachings of the Gestalt movementto a great number of psychologists, especiallyin the United States.He attempted to link the past with the presentthrough his concept of the memory trace.The Principles of Gestalt Psychology, becamethe bible for Gestalt psychologists.
The Phi PhenomenonThe Phi Phenomenon• The phi phenomenon, then, was just a means ofThe phi phenomenon, then, was just a means ofdisplaying the essential premise of Gestalt psychology:displaying the essential premise of Gestalt psychology:Perception is the result of an interaction betweenPerception is the result of an interaction betweenthe physical characteristics of stimulation andthe physical characteristics of stimulation andthe mental laws governing the experiences ofthe mental laws governing the experiences ofthe observer.the observer.• In the demonstration of the phi phenomenon, there is noIn the demonstration of the phi phenomenon, there is nophysical feature of the environment that permits thephysical feature of the environment that permits theprediction of the effect.prediction of the effect.
• Insert demonstration of phiInsert demonstration of phi
The Phi PhenomenonThe Phi PhenomenonIt is one’s perception of motion, notIt is one’s perception of motion, notone’s response to motion that is theone’s response to motion that is theobject of study. In short, it is the studyobject of study. In short, it is the studyof a mental as opposed to sensory orof a mental as opposed to sensory orbehavior state.behavior state.
Gestalt Laws of OrganizationGestalt Laws of OrganizationThe Law ofThe Law of PragnanzPragnanz::A psychological condition will always beA psychological condition will always beas ‘good’ as the prevailing conditionsas ‘good’ as the prevailing conditionsallow.allow.
Gestalt Laws of OrganizationGestalt Laws of Organization• Figure/GroundFigure/Ground• ClosureClosure• ProximityProximity• ContinuityContinuity• SimilaritySimilarity
Gestalt Laws of Organization:Gestalt Laws of Organization:Figure/GroundFigure/Ground• We tend to organize perceptions into the object beingWe tend to organize perceptions into the object beinglooked at (the figure) and the background against whichlooked at (the figure) and the background against whichit appears (the ground).it appears (the ground).
Gestalt Laws of Organization:Gestalt Laws of Organization:ClosureClosure• There is a tendency in our perception to completeThere is a tendency in our perception to completeincomplete figures, to fill in gaps.incomplete figures, to fill in gaps.B
Gestalt Laws of Organization:Gestalt Laws of Organization:ProximityProximity• Parts that are close together in time or space appear toParts that are close together in time or space appear tobelong together and tend to be perceived togetherbelong together and tend to be perceived together
Gestalt Laws of Organization:Gestalt Laws of Organization:ContinuityContinuity• There is a tendency in ourThere is a tendency in ourperception to follow a direction,perception to follow a direction,to connect the elements in ato connect the elements in away that makes them seemway that makes them seemcontinuous or flowing in acontinuous or flowing in aparticular direction.particular direction.
Gestalt Laws of Organization:Gestalt Laws of Organization:SimilaritySimilarity• Similar parts tend to be seen together as forming aSimilar parts tend to be seen together as forming agroup.group.
IsomorphismIsomorphismFor every perception, there is acorresponding physiological activity in thebrain which is isomorphic to the mentalexperience (e.g. When we perceive atriangle, there exists in the brain aphysiological representation of a trianglewhich maintains certain aspects oftriangularity).
IsomorphismIsomorphismThe Muller-Lyer illusion. The twohorizontal lines are the same length,although the one on the right in thefigure clearly seems to be longer.The Gestalt movementexplains perception on thebasis of the physicalcharacteristics of forms foundin electrical fields in the brain,meaning our perceptionscorrespond to the finalelectrical form in the brain.
Isomorphism:Isomorphism:How does the mind organize sensory informationHow does the mind organize sensory informationand make it more meaningful?and make it more meaningful?ExternalStimulationS1S2S3S4S5S6S7Braintransformssensory datain accordancewith law ofPragnanzConsciousexperience isdetermined by theinteraction ofexternalstimulationand thefield forces inthe brain
Insightful LearningInsightful LearningInIn The Mentality of Apes,The Mentality of Apes, Kohler describes five types ofKohler describes five types ofproblems which he employed to test the apes’ ability toproblems which he employed to test the apes’ ability tosolve complex problems:solve complex problems:1)1) detour problems;detour problems;2)2) problems involving the use of implements;problems involving the use of implements;3)3) problems in which the animal had to make implements;problems in which the animal had to make implements;4)4) building problems; andbuilding problems; and5)5) problems involving imitation.problems involving imitation.
Insightful Learning :Insightful Learning :The Detour ProblemThe Detour ProblemA detour problem requires the subject to turn away from the goal inA detour problem requires the subject to turn away from the goal inorder to reach it. In order to be credited with insight the animal mustorder to reach it. In order to be credited with insight the animal mustshow evidence of perceiving the relationships involved by quicklyshow evidence of perceiving the relationships involved by quicklyand smoothly adopting the detour route.and smoothly adopting the detour route.DoorDoorWindowO (Objective)X (Subject)
The Use of Implements:The Use of Implements:Chica using a pole to obtain foodChica using a pole to obtain foodThe Making ofThe Making ofImplements:Implements:Sultan puttingSultan puttingtwo stickstwo stickstogethertogetherIn either case, the successful solution to the problemsinvolves the animal’s understanding of the implement as atool.
BuildingBuildingProblems:Problems:Konsul,Konsul,Sultan, ChicaSultan, Chicaand Grandeand GrandebuildingbuildingBuilding Problems:Building Problems:Grande using a stack of boxes toGrande using a stack of boxes toobtain food as Sultan watchesobtain food as Sultan watchesBuilding Problems:Building Problems:Grande creating an even moreGrande creating an even moreelaborate structureelaborate structureKohler concluded that:• the building problemwas solved only by trial-and-error,• but that the perceptualproblem was solved byinsight.
Kohler’s ConclusionsKohler’s Conclusions• An important condition of insight is the nature of theAn important condition of insight is the nature of theexperimental situation. The animal must be able to seeexperimental situation. The animal must be able to seethe relationship among all parts of the problem beforethe relationship among all parts of the problem beforeinsight can occur.insight can occur.• Second, these experiments clearly point out that insightSecond, these experiments clearly point out that insightfollows a period of “trial-and-error” behavior.follows a period of “trial-and-error” behavior.• Third, once the animal solves the problem by insight,Third, once the animal solves the problem by insight,there is a high degree of transfer to similar problems.there is a high degree of transfer to similar problems.• Finally, insight is closely related to the animal’s capacity.Finally, insight is closely related to the animal’s capacity.
Characteristics ofCharacteristics ofInsightful LearningInsightful Learning• thethe transpositiontransposition from pre-solution to solution is suddenfrom pre-solution to solution is suddenand complete;and complete;• performance based on a solution gained by insight isperformance based on a solution gained by insight isusually smooth and free of errors;usually smooth and free of errors;• a solution to a problem gained by insight is retained for aa solution to a problem gained by insight is retained for aconsiderable length of time; andconsiderable length of time; and• a principle gained by insight is easily applied to othera principle gained by insight is easily applied to otherproblemsproblems
TranspositionTranspositionthe process when a principle learned in onethe process when a principle learned in oneproblem solving situation is applied to theproblem solving situation is applied to thesolution of another problemsolution of another problem• Experiment involving training an animal to approachone of two shades of gray paper
Stimuli: Used during Preliminary TrainingStimuli: Used during the Transposition TestFirst the animal (chicken) is taught to approach a dark gray stimulus and then isoffered a choice between the dark gray stimulus and a still darker graystimulus. If the animal chooses the darker of the two, transposition is said tohave been demonstrated.TranspositionTransposition
TranspositionTranspositionabsolute theoryabsolute theory(behaviorists) –(behaviorists) –learning of specificlearning of specificS-R connections;S-R connections;would predict that thewould predict that theanimal will chooseanimal will choosesame shade of graysame shade of grayas used in theas used in thepreliminary trainingpreliminary trainingrelational theoryrelational theory(Gestaltists point of(Gestaltists point ofview) – emphasizesview) – emphasizesthe comparisonthe comparisonbetween the twobetween the twostimuli; predicted thatstimuli; predicted thatthe animal wouldthe animal wouldchoose the darker ofchoose the darker ofthe two objects in thethe two objects in theTransposition test;Transposition test;prediction isprediction isaccurateaccurateVS.
Productive ThinkingProductive Thinkingby Max Wertheimer, published in 1945, two years after hisby Max Wertheimer, published in 1945, two years after hisdeath, expanded and re-published in 1959 under thedeath, expanded and re-published in 1959 under theeditorship of his son Michaeleditorship of his son Michaelexplored the nature of problem solving and the techniquesexplored the nature of problem solving and the techniquesthat could be used to teach it; conclusions reached werethat could be used to teach it; conclusions reached werebased on personal experience, experimentation, andbased on personal experience, experimentation, andpersonal interviews with individuals such as Albertpersonal interviews with individuals such as AlbertEinsteinEinstein
Productive ThinkingProductive ThinkingTwo traditional approaches to teachingTwo traditional approaches to teachingwhich inhibit the development ofwhich inhibit the development ofunderstanding:understanding:• teaching that emphasizes the importanceteaching that emphasizes the importanceof logicof logic• the doctrine of associationismthe doctrine of associationism
Productive ThinkingProductive Thinkinga cb e dFinding the area of a parallelogram: 1)formula, area of rectangle= altitude Xbase; 2) draw parallelogram; 3) pupilsshown how to drop perpendicular lines;4) formula same as rectangle, since theparallelogram had been transferred intoa rectangleSame idea as first figure; pupils hadno difficulty in solving the problem
Productive ThinkingProductive ThinkingB – responses:A – responses:Problems and solutions involving trapezoidal figures. In the A-responses the subjects change the figures into rectangles by shifting thetriangles. In B-responses previously learned operations are appliedindiscriminately.
Productive ThinkingProductive ThinkingA BThe areas of theforms in ColumnA can be foundusing thestrategy ofbalancingexcesses anddiscrepancies,whereas theforms in ColumnB cannot be.
Problem SolvingProblem SolvingKarl Duncker studies of problem solving among collegeKarl Duncker studies of problem solving among collegestudents:students:Given an inoperable stomach tumor and raysGiven an inoperable stomach tumor and rays(which at high intensity will destroy tissue both(which at high intensity will destroy tissue bothhealthy and diseased), how can the tumor behealthy and diseased), how can the tumor bedestroyed without damaging surrounding tissue?destroyed without damaging surrounding tissue?Typically, the subjects were also shown a schematic sketchTypically, the subjects were also shown a schematic sketchof the problem while it was being presented verbally.of the problem while it was being presented verbally.
Problem SolvingProblem SolvingA schematic representation of Duncker’s tumor problem. Theellipse represents the cross section of the diseased area with thetumor in the middle. If the body is rotated, the radiation will bemaximal in the center and minimal on the periphery.
Problem SolvingProblem SolvingDuncker’s analysis on the stages undergone byDuncker’s analysis on the stages undergone bythe subjects during the process:the subjects during the process:• Discovery of the “general or essential propertiesDiscovery of the “general or essential propertiesof a solution”of a solution”• Functional solutionsFunctional solutions• Specific solutionsSpecific solutions
Productive ThinkingProductive Thinkingrote memorizationrote memorization --learner learns facts orlearner learns facts orrules without trulyrules without trulyunderstanding them;understanding them;learning is rigid,learning is rigid,forgotten easily, andforgotten easily, andcan be applied only tocan be applied only tolimited circumstanceslimited circumstancesproblem solving basedproblem solving basedon Gestalton Gestaltprinciplesprinciples –– based onbased onan understanding of thean understanding of theunderlying nature of theunderlying nature of theproblem; learningproblem; learningcomes from within thecomes from within theindividual, not imposedindividual, not imposedby someone else; easilyby someone else; easilygeneralizable andgeneralizable andremembered for a longremembered for a longtimetimeVS.
Productive ThinkingProductive ThinkingProposed that thinking is done inProposed that thinking is done interms of wholes. The learnerterms of wholes. The learnerregards the situation as a whole,regards the situation as a whole,and the teacher must present theand the teacher must present thesituation as a whole.situation as a whole.Problem solving should proceed fromProblem solving should proceed fromthe whole problem downward tothe whole problem downward tothe parts, not the reversethe parts, not the reverseTrial-and-errormethod:A solution to a problemis hidden,in a sense, and thelearner may makemistakes before hittingon thecorrect answer
Memory TraceMemory Trace• A current experience gives rise to a memory processA current experience gives rise to a memory process• Memory processMemory process– the activity in the brain caused by an environmentalthe activity in the brain caused by an environmentalexperienceexperience– the process could be simple or complex, dependingthe process could be simple or complex, dependingon the experience it is based onon the experience it is based on– when a process is terminated, a trace of its effectwhen a process is terminated, a trace of its effectremains in the brainremains in the brain– the trace will influence all similar processes that occurthe trace will influence all similar processes that occurin the futurein the future
Memory TraceMemory Trace• a process, which is caused by ana process, which is caused by anexperience, can occur only once in “pure”experience, can occur only once in “pure”form; thereafter, similar experiences resultform; thereafter, similar experiences resultfrom the interaction between the processfrom the interaction between the processand the memory traceand the memory trace• a trace exerts an influence on the processa trace exerts an influence on the processin the direction of making it similar to thein the direction of making it similar to theprocess which originally produced the traceprocess which originally produced the tracee.g. If the last thing one did in ae.g. If the last thing one did in aproblem-solving situation was to solve theproblem-solving situation was to solve theproblem, the solution becomes “etched” inproblem, the solution becomes “etched” inone’s mind, making the problem easier toone’s mind, making the problem easier tosolve; improvement in a skill as the result ofsolve; improvement in a skill as the result ofthe increasing influence of the trace on thethe increasing influence of the trace on theprocessprocess[in essential[in essentialagreement withagreement withGuthrie]:Guthrie]:•An act is aAn act is amovement ormovement orseries ofseries ofmovements thatmovements thatbrings about somebrings about someresult.result.• “…“…learning thelearning theentire act calls forentire act calls forrepeated practice”repeated practice”
Memory TraceMemory Tracetrace systemtrace system – numerous interrelated– numerous interrelatedindividual tracesindividual traces• through repetition the trace systemthrough repetition the trace systembecomes more important than thebecomes more important than theindividual traces that make it upindividual traces that make it up• a kind of neurological summation ofa kind of neurological summation ofall our experiences with objects in aall our experiences with objects in acertain classcertain class
Memory TraceMemory TraceTraditionally, one theory of memory was that when we perceived anTraditionally, one theory of memory was that when we perceived anobject and subsequently were able to recall it, the reason was that aobject and subsequently were able to recall it, the reason was that a“trace” had been left in the brain. As we forgot, this “trace” gradually“trace” had been left in the brain. As we forgot, this “trace” graduallydied out.died out.Memory was a dynamic process in which traces underwent progressiveMemory was a dynamic process in which traces underwent progressivechanges as time passed; these changes were in accordance withchanges as time passed; these changes were in accordance withthe principles of organization that governed the original perceptionsthe principles of organization that governed the original perceptions• Wuff’s study on geometric figures – where the original figure was “weak”Wuff’s study on geometric figures – where the original figure was “weak”(very ambiguous), the subjects tended to sharpen and make it a better(very ambiguous), the subjects tended to sharpen and make it a betterfigure (good form)figure (good form)• Gibson and Bartlett’s study on serial reproduction – distortions tended toGibson and Bartlett’s study on serial reproduction – distortions tended tooccur, but in the direction of good formoccur, but in the direction of good form• Allport and Postman’s study on rumors – shortening and simplifying of theAllport and Postman’s study on rumors – shortening and simplifying of theresultsresults
Memory Trace:Memory Trace:Gibson and Bartlett’s StudyGibson and Bartlett’s Studyon Serial Reproductionon Serial ReproductionOriginalReproduction 1Reproduction 2 Reproduction 3Reproduction 8 Reproduction 9 Reproduction 10Reproduction 15Reproduction 18
Memory TraceMemory Trace““bundle hypothesis”bundle hypothesis”- complex thoughts are- complex thoughts aremade up of simplermade up of simplerideas boundideas boundtogether bytogether bycontiguity, similarity,contiguity, similarity,or contrastor contrast[associationists; also[associationists; alsoaccepted by theaccepted by thebehaviorists];behaviorists];- memory occurs when- memory occurs whenone element in theone element in thebundle causes thebundle causes therecall of the otherrecall of the otherelements (trigger)elements (trigger)Law of PragnanzLaw of Pragnanz- the wholeness ofthe wholeness ofexperience and theexperience and therecollection ofrecollection ofexperience;experience;- memories tend to bememories tend to becomplete andcomplete andmeaningful, evenmeaningful, evenwhen the originalwhen the originalexperience was not;experience was not;- irregular experiencesirregular experiencestend to betend to beremembered asremembered asregular, unique eventsregular, unique eventsremembered in termsremembered in termsof something familiarof something familiarVS.
Kurt Lewin (1890-1947)Kurt Lewin (1890-1947)a famous, charismatic psychologist who is nowviewed as the father of social psychologyHis famous formula for framing behavior, thatbehavior is a function of the person and theenvironment, seems self-evident, but in fact is anattempt to reconcile two competing strains ofmodern psychology. He worked with brilliant andinfluential minds, yet was unable to obtain aprestigious position in the United States until 1945.He was energetic, congenial and hopeful, yetsuffered terrible personal hardships, including hisexperience as a soldier in World War I, his failedfirst marriage, the distress of Germanreconstruction, and finally Nazism.“There isnothing sopractical as agood theory."
Field TheoryField Theory““Human behavior at any given time is determinedHuman behavior at any given time is determinedby the total number ofby the total number of psychological factspsychological facts beingbeingexperienced at that time.”experienced at that time.”Psychological fact:Psychological fact: anything of which a person isanything of which a person isconscious, includingconscious, including• being hungry,being hungry,• a memory of a past event,a memory of a past event,• being in a certain physical location,being in a certain physical location,• the presence of certain other people,the presence of certain other people,• or having a certain amount of moneyor having a certain amount of money[all these make up the person’s life space][all these make up the person’s life space]
Field TheoryField Theorysome of these facts will exert a positivesome of these facts will exert a positiveinfluence on the person’s behavior andinfluence on the person’s behavior andsome a negative influence;some a negative influence;a change in any psychological facta change in any psychological factrearranges the entire life spacerearranges the entire life space →→ thethecauses of behavior are continuallycauses of behavior are continuallychanging; they are dynamicchanging; they are dynamic
A Handbook of ChildA Handbook of ChildPsychology:Psychology:Three Types of ConflictThree Types of ConflictLewin’s ThreeLewin’s ThreeTypes of Conflict:Types of Conflict:(a) Approach-(a) Approach-approach conflict;approach conflict;(b) Approach-(b) Approach-avoidance conflict;avoidance conflict;and (c) Avoidance-and (c) Avoidance-avoidance conflict.avoidance conflict.C+P+Pl(a)CTr+-(b)T--P(c)CVTVPR
Motivation andMotivation andthe Zeigarnick Effectthe Zeigarnick EffectLewin proposed a basic state of balance or equilibriumLewin proposed a basic state of balance or equilibriumbetween the person and the environment;between the person and the environment;believed that behavior involves a cycle of tensionbelieved that behavior involves a cycle of tensionstates or need-states followed by activity and reliefstates or need-states followed by activity and relief• Bluma Zeigarnick’s 1927 experiment concluded:Bluma Zeigarnick’s 1927 experiment concluded:The subjects remembered the uncompletedThe subjects remembered the uncompletedtasks more readily than they recalled thetasks more readily than they recalled thecompleted tasks. (Zeigarnick effect)completed tasks. (Zeigarnick effect)• E.g. waiters, bus conductorsE.g. waiters, bus conductors
Social PsychologySocial Psychology• Group dynamics – application of psychologicalGroup dynamics – application of psychologicalconcepts to individual and group behaviorconcepts to individual and group behavior• Social action research – study of relevant socialSocial action research – study of relevant socialproblems with a view to introducing changeproblems with a view to introducing change• Sensitivity training for educators and businessSensitivity training for educators and businessleaders to reduce inter-group conflict andleaders to reduce inter-group conflict anddevelop individual potentialdevelop individual potential
LESSER KNOWN GESTALTLESSER KNOWN GESTALTPSYCHOLOGISTSPSYCHOLOGISTS• Kurt Goldstein (1878 -1965) – pioneer in clinicalKurt Goldstein (1878 -1965) – pioneer in clinicalneuroscienceneuroscience• Karl Buhler (1879 – 1963) – forerunner of modernKarl Buhler (1879 – 1963) – forerunner of moderncognitive psychologycognitive psychology• Karl Duncker (1903 – 1940) – functional fixednessKarl Duncker (1903 – 1940) – functional fixedness• Mary Henle (1913 - ) – “chronicler of Gestalt psychology”Mary Henle (1913 - ) – “chronicler of Gestalt psychology”• Rudolph Arnheim (1904 – ) – critic of misconceptions ofRudolph Arnheim (1904 – ) – critic of misconceptions ofGestalt psychologyGestalt psychology
THE SPREAD OFTHE SPREAD OFGESTALT PSYCHOLOGYGESTALT PSYCHOLOGY• Mid-1920s a forceful school of thought in Germany, centered at theMid-1920s a forceful school of thought in Germany, centered at thePsychological Institute of the University of BerlinPsychological Institute of the University of Berlin• 1933 when Nazi seized power, many scholars including founders1933 when Nazi seized power, many scholars including foundersleft for the USleft for the US• personal connections (e.g. Herbert Langfield of Princeton Universitypersonal connections (e.g. Herbert Langfield of Princeton Universitymet Koffka in Berlin and sent his student E.C. Tolman to Germany;met Koffka in Berlin and sent his student E.C. Tolman to Germany;Tolman served as a subject in Koffka’s research program)Tolman served as a subject in Koffka’s research program)• articles by American psychologist Harry Helson, published in thearticles by American psychologist Harry Helson, published in theAmerican Journal of Psychology, also helped spread Gestalt theoryAmerican Journal of Psychology, also helped spread Gestalt theory• Koffka and Kohler visited the US for lectures and conferencesKoffka and Kohler visited the US for lectures and conferences
THE SPREAD OFTHE SPREAD OFGESTALT PSYCHOLOGYGESTALT PSYCHOLOGYReasons its acceptance as a school of thought came slowly:Reasons its acceptance as a school of thought came slowly:• Behaviorism was at its peak of popularity;Behaviorism was at its peak of popularity;• There was a language barrier, translation delayed full and accurateThere was a language barrier, translation delayed full and accuratedissemination of the Gestalt viewpoint;dissemination of the Gestalt viewpoint;• Misconception that Gestalt psychology dealt only with perception;Misconception that Gestalt psychology dealt only with perception;• The founders settled at small colleges in the US that did not haveThe founders settled at small colleges in the US that did not havegraduate programs, so it was difficult for them to attract disciples tograduate programs, so it was difficult for them to attract disciples tocarry on their ideas;carry on their ideas;• American psychology has advanced far beyond the ideas of WundtAmerican psychology has advanced far beyond the ideas of Wundtand Titchener than was German psychology, so that it seemed likeand Titchener than was German psychology, so that it seemed likethe German psychologists came to America protesting somethingthe German psychologists came to America protesting somethingthat was no longer of any concern.that was no longer of any concern.
GESTALT PSYCHOLOGY:GESTALT PSYCHOLOGY:CONCEPT MAPCONCEPT MAPGESTALTPSYCHOLOGYMax WertheimerKurtKoffkaPhiPhenomenonWolfgang KohlerOrganizationalPrinciples (e.g.Pragnanz)Perceptual PrinciplesFigure Ground ContinuityProximitySimilarityClosureProductiveThinkingDunker andothersRise of CognitivePsychologyLearningResearchKurt LewinBluma ZeigarnikZeigarnik EffectAdvances in SocialPsychology
CONTRIBUTIONSCONTRIBUTIONS• Gestalt movement left an indelible imprint on psychologyGestalt movement left an indelible imprint on psychologyand influenced work on perception, learning, thinking,and influenced work on perception, learning, thinking,personality, social psychology, and motivation.personality, social psychology, and motivation.Some of Gestalt’s effect on social psychology is found inSome of Gestalt’s effect on social psychology is found inthe following concepts:the following concepts:o The Zeigarnik EffectThe Zeigarnik Effecto Group DynamicsGroup Dynamicso Social CognitionSocial Cognition
CONTRIBUTIONSCONTRIBUTIONS• The Gestalt focus on conscious experience centered onThe Gestalt focus on conscious experience centered ona modern version of phenomenology.a modern version of phenomenology.• Many aspects of contemporary cognitive psychologyMany aspects of contemporary cognitive psychologyowe their origins to Gestalt psychology.owe their origins to Gestalt psychology.E.C. Tolman’s interesting attempt to wed Gestalt theoryE.C. Tolman’s interesting attempt to wed Gestalt theorywith the behavioristic point of view (with the behavioristic point of view (Purposive BehaviorPurposive Behaviorin Men and Animalsin Men and Animals). … It is worth noting that despite its). … It is worth noting that despite itsemphasis on behavioristic studies of learning, it is aemphasis on behavioristic studies of learning, it is acognitive theory of how learning occurs. This cognitivecognitive theory of how learning occurs. This cognitiveapproach again emphasizes the perceptual orientation ofapproach again emphasizes the perceptual orientation ofGestalt psychology even when dealing with behavioralGestalt psychology even when dealing with behavioralprocesses.processes.
CRITICISMSCRITICISMS• Gestalt psychology had been too dependent on theory, andGestalt psychology had been too dependent on theory, andlacked positive empirical evidence to support the theory (e.g. thelacked positive empirical evidence to support the theory (e.g. the“aha” experience was hard to define).“aha” experience was hard to define).• Although Gestalt psychologists had used experimentation in theirAlthough Gestalt psychologists had used experimentation in theirstudies, these experiments were poorly controlled and lacked anystudies, these experiments were poorly controlled and lacked anyreal predictive power. Too often introspection was dependedreal predictive power. Too often introspection was dependedupon as the prime method, one which was hard to replicate.upon as the prime method, one which was hard to replicate.• The phenomenological approach was subjective and dualistic.The phenomenological approach was subjective and dualistic.• The isomorphic principle of a map in the brain corresponding toThe isomorphic principle of a map in the brain corresponding towhat once experienced was a pure physiological assumption. Itwhat once experienced was a pure physiological assumption. Itwas a unique explanation, but any proof was entirely indirect.was a unique explanation, but any proof was entirely indirect.
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