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Gestalt (configuration) perception purports that perception is holistic rather than atomistic: meaning a percept cannot be reduced to its constituent parts; the whole is more than the sum of its parts. It is a qualitative rather than quantitative theory of perception. Here are Gestalt concepts I'm familiar with (there may be more):
Emergence: The perceiver can "see" the whole object even if some of its component parts are not there.
Reification: Perceiver constructs more spatial or dimensional aspects of the object than what is given by the senses.
Multistability: When a perceiver can go back and forth between two or more interpretations of seeing an object. Examples: a cube (front and back switch places) and the duck/rabbit - http://mathworld.wolfram.com/Rabbit-DuckIllusion.html
Invariance: The essential structure of an object will still be perceived even if the translation, scale, rotation, or elasticity is altered.
6 Laws of Pragnanz(conciseness):
Closure - the mind completes/experiences aspects not experienced visually - i.e. connecting the dots mentally.
Similarity - the mind groups things based on size, shape, color, etc.
Proximity - the mind may see a group of objects as a whole if they are close together.
Symmetry - the mind perceives symmetrical objects collectively.
Continuity - the mind continues visual, audible and kinetic (moving) patterns. (in an "X" we see two continuous lines intersecting; not two angles meeting and stopping in the middle).
Common Fate - elements moving in the same direction are perceived as a whole (flock of birds, school of fish),
Gestalt Laws of Perception is a theory of mind and brain positing that the operational principle of the brain is holistic, parallel, and analog, with self-organizing tendencies. The Gestalt effect refers to the form-forming capability of our senses, particularly with respect to the visual recognition of figures and whole forms instead of just a collection of simple lines and curves.
The concept of Gestalt was first introduced in contemporary philosophy and psychology by Christian von Ehrenfels. Gestalt psychology was founded by German thinkers Max Wertheimer, Wolfgang Kohler, and Kurt Koffka and focused on how people interpret the world. Although Gestalt has been criticized for being merely descriptive, it has formed the basis of much further research into the perception of patterns and objects ( Carlson et al. 2000), and of research into behavior, thinking, problem solving and psychopathology. Gestalt psychologists developed a set of principles to explain perceptual organization, or how smaller objects are grouped to form larger ones. These principles are often referred to as the “laws of perceptual organization.”
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