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date: 24 January 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter offers an overview of the major concepts and developments in Gestalt theory, which was the major theoretical framework for most of the empirical work on perceptual organization in the first half of the past century. A historical review of this school of thought, with all of the key players and the context within which they worked, provides contemporary scientists with the proper perspective to be able to build on the foundations from the past, while simultaneously avoiding its mistakes. Difficult theoretical concepts, such as Gestalt laws, Prägnanz, and isomorphism are explained. The emphasis lies on the Berlin school of Gestalt psychology (Wertheimer, Köhler, and Koffka), but the relationships with the Graz and Leipzig schools, and with the second generation in Europe and the USA, are discussed as well.

Keywords: Gestalt, Gestalt qualities, Gestalt laws, Berlin School of Gestalt Psychology, history of Gestalt psychology, Prägnanz, simplicity

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