Gestalt Psychology Essay

641 Words Apr 9th, 2011 3 Pages
What is the main premise Gestalt psychology and how does it function within art and design? “Humans are psychologically disturbed and often deeply upset by imbalance, disorder, chaos, tension and conflicts…We are comfortable only when we feel in equilibrium, that is, balanced and in control.”
These two statements describe the basic foundations for Gestalt psychology. Gestalt psychology utilizes the brain’s predisposition to seek a whole in order to understand its parts. Put simply, the perception of the whole is greater than the sum of its components. The Gestalt premise is a number of principles or ‘laws’ related to the organisation of visual fields. These principles alter the viewer’s ‘default’ view or expectations and promote a more
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Assimilation is the notion of nostalgia in visual art. It plays upon the viewer’s previous knowledge and experiences in order to produce a meaningful response. This behavioural response is also referred to by psychologists as “isomorphic correspondence”. For example, we know that an open flame will burn us, we can feel the burn ourselves and our response therefore is to yell at a small child for getting too close. The seventh principle of Gestalt psychology is irradiation. Irradiation is the manipulation of contrasts in order to locate edges.

http://homepages.ius.edu/rallman/figrnd.html
An example of irradiation, the stark contrast between the white and blue allow the viewer to see the square as either a whole on top of a whole or as a cut out.
Gestalt psychology in art offers an understanding and explanation for the mental processes of the artist as well as the thought processes of the perceiver. In design, it is very important to know Gestalt theory because it allows us to predict how viewers respond to design. It does not only assure that our intention will be understood correctly by the viewers, but it also helps us to create a dynamic design.

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[ 1 ]. it will be cool finally meeting you in person should i have high expectations?
The Language of Visual Art by Jack Frederick Myers: Chapter 2, Page 21 (from Reading 1)
[ 2 ]. The Language of Visual Art by Jack

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