Major Movements in Psychology

Gestalt Psychology

Why is Gestalt theory important?

Arguably, Gestalt theory is important more for its profound philosophical implications than for the specifics of its research findings. For one thing, by demonstrating its principles with solid empirical research, Gestalt theory put the mind back into academic psychology. Secondly, gestalt theory introduced a holistic paradigm, which was in sharp contrast to the associationist approach found in both behaviorism and Wilhelm Wundt’s structuralism. In associationism, complex knowledge is seen to derive entirely from associations between simple memories. Gestalt theorists rejected this view as overly simplistic as they believed that complex knowledge also develops holistically, through recognition of patterns and identification of the whole.


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