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Psychologists have identified several "laws" of perceptual organisation on grouping which illustrate their view that the perceived whole of an object is more than the sum of its parts; that objects are interpreted as "gestalten".

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Introduction

Psychologists have identified several “laws” of perceptual organisation on grouping which illustrate their view that the perceived whole of an object is more than the sum of its parts; that objects are interpreted as “gestalten”.

GESTALT LAWS OF PERCEPTION

Proximity: Elements appearing close together – in space or time – tend to be perceived together, so that different spacings of dots produce four vertical lines or four horizontal lines.

Another example would be the perception of a series of musical notes as a melody because they occur soon after one another.

Similarity: Similar figures tend to be grouped together. So, the triangles and circles (right b) are

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Middle

Closure: The law of closure says that we often supply missing information to close a figure and separate it from its background. By filling in the gaps, the illustrations (right d) are seen as a triangle and a seashell.                

Part-whole relationship: As well as illustrating continuity and proximity, the three figures (right e) illustrate the principle that “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts”. Each pattern is composed of 12 crosses, but the gestalten are different, despite the similarity of the parts.

Simplicity: According to this law, stimulus pattern will be organised into its simplest components. The figure (right f) is usually perceived

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Conclusion

was effected by whether the large letter matched or not such that when the large letter was different, response times were longer. This suggests that it is difficult to avoid processing the whole and that global processing necessarily occurs before any more detailed perceptual analysis.

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