Gestalt Psychology Reflection
Wolfgang Kohler (1887-1967) founded Gestalt psychology, which is known as the school of thought that evaluates the human mind and behaviors as a whole. Gestalt psychology embraced the usefulness of consciousness, while criticizing the attempt to reduce it to atoms or elements. The Gestalt psychologists held firm that when sensory elements are combined, the elements will form a new design or configuration. Gestalt psychologists felt that there is more to perception than meets the eye, so to speak. Gestalt psychologists felt that an individual’s perception goes well over our sensory elements, the basic physical data provided to the sense organs.
The main influence of the Gestalt position, its focus on the wholeness of perception, is linked to the workings of Immanuel Kant (1724-1804). Immanuel Kant felt that when we see objects, we come across mental states that compose bits and pieces. These elements are linked meaningfully, and not through mechanical processes of association. The mind in the stage of perceiving will create a whole experience. Franz Brentano opposed Wundt’s focal point of elements of conscious experience, stating that psychology should study the act of experiencing. Ernst Mach, professor at the University of Prague, provided a direct influence on the Gestalt thinking, with The Analysis of Sensations. Within his book, he explained special patterns like geometric figures and temporal patterns like melodies. Mach thought, that an individual’s perception of an object, does not change even if we change our orientation to it. For example, a box is a box despite what angle we look at it from. Christian Von Ehrenfels went into more detail on Mach’s ideas and suggested qualities of experience that cannot be explained as combinations of sensory elements, calling it Gestalt Qualitaten. A melody is a form quality, due to its sounding, the same even when transferred to another key. William James is another...