Gestalt Theory- The Insight Learning
Dr. V.K. Maheshwari, Former PrincipalK.L.D.A.V (P.G) College, Roorkee, India
Learning means to bring changes in the behaviour of the organism. It is very difficult to give auniversally acceptable explanation of learning because various theories developed by psychologistsattempt to explain the process from different angles.During the first quarter of 20
century the quarrels within academic psychology lay chiefly inside theframework of association psychology .Structuralism, functionalism and behaviourism were allmembers of the association family. They are all examples of the working out of an empiricalmethodology of science, where by the accumulation of facts was supposed to lead one to the properconception of nature.
Meaning of Gestalt Theory
The Gestalt theorists were the first group of psychologists to systematically study perceptual
organisation around the 1920’s, in Germany
.They were Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Ernst Mach,and particularly of Christian von Ehrenfels and the research work of Max Wertheimer, WolfgangKöhler, Kurt Koffka, and Kurt LewinAccording to the Gestalt psychologists certain features in visualperception are universal. In semiotic terms, these universal features can be thought of as aperceptual code.Gestalt is asensual theory, what we see is a result of light and dark objects, edges and contoursthat we form into a whole image. Sensual theories are of a lower order of thinking thanperceptualtheories, such as semiotics, that are concerned with the meaning we attach to what we see.Dissatisfied with the behaviourist approach of learning, the psychologists tried to see learning as amore deliberate and conscious effort of the individual rather than a mere product of habit formationor a machine-like stimulus-response connection. According to them the learner does not merelyrespond to a stimulus, but mentally processes what he receives or perceives. Thus learning is apurposive, explorative and creative activity instead of trial and error.Things cannot be understood by the study of its constituent parts only ,bu actually it is understoodonly by perceiving it as a totality or whole.
Gestalt theory focused on the mind’s perceptive. The word ‘Gestalt’ has no direct translation in
English, but refers to “a way a thing has been gestalt; i.e., placed, or put together”; commontranslations include ‘form’ and ‘shape’. Gaetano Kanizca refers to it as ‘organized structure’. Gestalt
theorists followed the basic principle that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. In otherwords, the whole (a picture, a car) carried a different and altogether greater meaning than itsindividual components (paint,canvas,brush;or tire, paint, metal, respectively). In viewing the