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The Gestalt Approach To Perceptual Organization

            The Gestalt Approach to Perceptual Organization.
             Perceptual Organization refers to how we sense things in our environment and interact with them. Gestalt psychology or theory evolved when a group of German psychologists; Wertheimer, Koffka and Kohler began to question the then prominent principles structuralism and behaviorism. They argued that it was not possible to break down psychological processes. This theory, demonstrated that our perceptions are highly organized and have immediate, vivid qualities that cannot be explained in terms of piecing together basic elements. The psychologists had the opinion that our perceptions are inherently configurational, meaning that the elements making up the perception could not be separated from the way in which those elements were combined as a whole. This theory is known as 'Gestalt' taken from the German word for "form ". .
             The Gestalt Approach is summed up as "The whole is different than the sum of its parts." An example of this fundamental principle is provided by the phi phenomenon, first described by Wertheimer (1912). The phi phenomenon is the illusion of movement created by presenting visual stimuli in rapid succession. For example, movies and TV consist of separate still pictures projected rapidly one after the other. Although we see smooth motion, in reality the "moving" objects merely take a slightly different position in successive frames. The same principle is illustrated by electric signs, such as those on movie marquees or at road construction sites. The bulbs going on and off in turn, with the appropriate timing, give the impression of motion. Of course, nothing in the sign really moves. The elements (the bulbs) are stationary. Working as a whole, however, they have a property (motion) that isn't evident in any of the parts. The Gestalt psychologists formulated a number of rules that they called the principles of perceptual organization.

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