Thursday, April 10, 2014
Phenomenology of Perception
“complex scenes of life”
“Gestalt principles, or gestalt laws, are rules of the organization of perceptual scenes. When we look at the world, we usually perceive complex scenes composed of many groups of objects on some background, with the objects themselves consisting of parts, which may be composed of smaller parts, etc. How do we accomplish such a remarkable perceptual achievement, given that the visual input is, in a sense, just a spatial distribution of variously colored individual points? The beginnings and the direction of an answer were provided by a group of researchers early in the twentieth century, known as Gestalt psychologists. Gestalt is a German word meaning 'shape' or 'form'. Gestalt principles aim to formulate the regularities according to which the perceptual input is organized into unitary forms, also referred to as (sub)wholes, groups, groupings, or Gestalten (the plural form of Gestalt). These principles mainly apply to vision, but there are also analogous aspects in auditory and somatosensory perception. In visual perception, such forms are the regions of the visual field whose portions are perceived as grouped or joined together, and are thus segregated from the rest of the visual field. The Gestalt principles were introduced in a seminal paper by Wertheimer (1923/1938), and were further developed by Köhler (1929), Koffka (1935), and Metzger (1936/2006; see review by Todorović, 2007). For a modern textbook presentation, including more recent contributions, see Palmer (1999).”
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