According Gestalt Psychology, founded by Max Wertheimer, was to some extent a rebellion against the molecularism of Wundt’s program for psychology, in sympathy with many others at the time, including William James. In fact, the word Gestalt means a unified or meaningful whole, which was to be the focus of psychological study instead.
It had its roots in a number of older philosophers and psychologists:
Ernst Mach (1838-1916) introduced the concepts of space forms and time forms. We see a square as a square, whether it is large or small, red or blue, in outline or technicolor... This is space form. Likewise, we hear a melody as recognizable, even if we alter the key in such a way that none of the notes are the same.
Christian von Ehrenfels (1859-1932), who studied with Brentano in Vienna, is the actual originator of the term Gestalt as the Gestalt psychologists were to use it. In 1890, in fact, he wrote a book called On Gestalt Qualities. One of his students was none other than Max Wertheimer.
Oswald Külpe (1862-1915) was a student of G. E. Müller at Göttingen and received his doctorate at Leipzig. He studied as well with Wundt, and served as Wundt’s assistant for many years. He did most of his work while at the University of Würzburg, between 1894 and 1909.
He is best known for the idea of imageless thoughts. Contrary to Wundtians, he showed that some mental activities, such as judgments and doubts, could occur without images. The “pieces” of the psyche that Wundt postulated -- sensations, images, and feelings -- were apparently not enough to explain all of what went on.
He oversaw the doctoral dissertation of one Max Wertheimer.
So who was this Max Wertheimer? He was born in Prague on April 15, 1880. His father was a teacher and the director at a commercial school. Max studied law for more than two years, but decided he preferred philosophy. He left to study in Berlin, where he took classes from Stumpf, then got his...