Major Movements in Psychology

Gestalt Psychology

What is the basic concept of Gestalt psychology?

Gestalt psychology, which started in the early twentieth century, provided an important counterpoint to the academic psychology of its time, specifically Watson’s behaviorism and Wundt’s structuralism. Its full impact, however, would not be felt until many decades after its birth. Gestalt psychology originated in 1910 with Max Wertheimer’s study of the perception of motion.

The core idea behind Gestalt psychology is that the mind actively organizes information into a coherent whole or a gestalt. In other words, the mind is not a passive recipient of sensory stimuli but an active organizer of information. Furthermore, knowledge does not come from a collection of isolated bits of information. Rather the mind creates a whole out of the relationships between separate parts. Gestalt psychology is a holistic theory.


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