At almost the same time the behaviorist revolution was gathering strength in the United States, the Gestalt revolution was taking hold of German psychology. Gestalt theories followed the basic principle that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. The main founders of Gestalt Psychology are Max Wertheimer, Kurt Koffka and Wolfgang Köhler. Max Wertheimer, Kurt Koffka and Wolfgang Kohler worked in establishing theories of Gestalt Psychology. Kurt Koffka His main focus was in the field of cognition and psychological development. Wolfgang Köhler also journeyed to Tenerife in the Canary Islands off Africa’ s, to study chimpanzees. Köhler suggested that Gestalt theory was a general law of nature that should be extended to all the sciences.
The six perceptual organization principles are as follows: Chapter 12 Figures 12.1 (a) (b) (c) (d) 1. Proximity: Parts that are placed close together, they tend to be perceived as a group (a), the circles in three double columns rather than as one large collection. 2. Continuity: There is a tendency in our perception to follow a direction, to connect the elements in a way that makes them seem continuous or flowing in a particular directions. (a) you tend to follow the columns of small circles from top to bottom. 3. Similarity: Similar parts tend to be seen together as forming a group. (b), the circles and the dots each appear to belong together, and you tend to perceive rows of circles and rows of dots instead of columns.
4. Simplicity: A good gestalt is symmetrical, simple and stable and cannot be made simpler. (c) are good Gestalt because they are clearly perceived as complete and organized 5. Closure: There is a tendency in our perception to complete figures, to fill in gaps. (c), you perceive three squares even though the figures are incomplete. 6. Figure/Ground: We tend to organize perceptions into the object being looked at and the background against which it appears. (d) the figure and the ground are reversible, you may see two faces or you may see a vase, depending on how your perception is organized.
Schultz, D. (2011). A history of modern psychology (10th edition) Chapter 12