Gestalt Approach

Ever wonder how you can know that a melody played in one key is the same melody when it is played in another key, even though all the notes are different? This and related questions, such as how you segment a scene into figure and background, have been the subject of a branch of psychology called the Gestalt school since the beginning of the 20th century. The Gestalt approach to perception of considering how the mind organizes meaningless, elemental stimuli into meaningful global perceptions originated when Christian von Ehrenfels (1859–1932) published his pivotal paper “Über Gestaltqualitäten” (On the Qualities of Form) in 1890. This work postulated the radical view that “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” What von Ehrenfels meant by ...

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