Gestalt Psychology : How People Perceive Objects

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1. Gestalt psychology attempts to explain how people perceive objects, particularly the way that elements of an image are grouped together to create larger objects. The principle of figure-ground notes that the organization of an image depends on what we see or identify as the figure or object and what we see as ground or the background. One example of figure and ground could be words on a page. Rather than perceiving the white of a page in a book as a large figure with small breaks in it to represent the background, we see the words as the figure and the page as the ground. Another more notable example is that of the faces-vase drawing in which there are black and white shapes. When focusing on the white shapes, one may perceive the image as two faces facing each other in front of a black background. When focusing on the black, one may see it as a vase with a white background. The image is physically the same, but the perception of what is the figure and what is the ground differs. The next principle is proximity in which objects are perceived as being grouped together when they are placed near each other or close together. For example, if there are six dots spread across a page evenly spaced, they will not be perceived as a group. If, however, three of those dots are made to be closer together on the left side of the page and the other three dots are closer together on the right, the viewer will interpret two groups based on the nearness of the set of dots. The common

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