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Gestalt is a psychology term which means "unified whole".

It refers to theories of visual

perception developed by German psychologists in the 1920s. These theories attempt to describe how
people tend to organize visual elements intogroups or unified wholes when certain principles are applied.
These principles are:
Similarity occurs when objects look similar to one another. People often perceive them as a group or

The example above (containing 11 distinct objects) appears as as single unit because all of the shapes
have similarity.
Unity occurs because the triangular shapes at the bottom of the eagle symbol look similar to the shapes
that form the sunburst.

When similarity occurs, an object can be emphasised if it isdissimilar to the others. This is
called anomally.

The figure on the far right becomes a focal point because it isdissimilar to the other shapes.


Continuation occurs when the eye is compelled to move through one object and continue to another

Continuation occurs in the example above, because the viewer's eye will naturally follow a line or
curve. The smooth flowing crossbar of the "H" leads the eye directly to the maple leaf.


Closure occurs when an object is incomplete or a space is not completely enclosed. If enough of the
shape is indicated, people percieve the whole by filling in the missing infomation.

Although the panda above is not complete, enough is present for the eye to complete the shape. When
the viewer's perception completes a shape, closure occurs.


Proximity occurs when elements are placed close together. They tend to be perceived as a group.

The nine squares above are placed without proximity. They are perceived as separate shapes.

When the squares are given close proximity, unity occurs. While they continue to be separate shapes,
they are now perceived as one group.

The fifteen figures above form a unified whole (the shape of a tree) because of their proximity.


Figure and Ground
The eye differentiates an object form its surrounding area. a form, silhouette, or shape is naturrally
perceived as figure(object), while the surrounding area is perceived as ground(background).
Balancing figure and ground can make the perceived image more clear. Using unusual figure/ground
relationships can add interest and sublety to an image.

The word above is clearly perceived as figure with the surrounding white space ground.

In this image, the figure and ground relationships change as the eye perceives the the form of a shade or
the silhouette of a face.

This image uses complex figure/ground relationshipswhich change upon perceiving leaves, water and
tree trunk.

Thorndike's Theory of Learning
1)The most basic form of learning is trial and error learning.2)Learning is incremental not
insightful.3)Learning is not mediated by ideas.4)All mammals learn in the same manner.5)Law
of readiness Interference with goal directed behavior causes frustration and causingsomeone to
do something they do not want to do is also frustrating.a.When someone is ready to perform
some act, to do so is satisfying. b.When someone is ready to perform some act, not to do so is
annoying.c.When someone is not ready to perform some act and is forced to do so, it is
annoying.6)Law of Exercise We learn by doing. We forget by not doing, although to a small
extentonly.a.Connections between a stimulus and a response are strengthened as they are
used.(law of use) b.Connections between a stimulus and a response are weakened as they are not
used.(law of disuse)7)Law of effect If the response in a connection is followed by a satisfying
state of affairs, thestrength of the connection is considerably increased whereas if followed by an
annoying stateof affairs, then the strength of the connection is marginally decreased.8)Multiple
Responses A learner would keep trying multiple responses to solve a problem before it is
actually solved.9)Set or Attitude Set or attitude is what the learner already possesses, like prior
learningexperiences, present state of the learner, etc., while it begins learning a new
task.10)Prepotency of Elements Different responses to the same environment would be evoked
bydifferent perceptions of the environment which act as the stimulus to the responses.
Different perceptions would be subject to the prepotency of different elements for different
perceivers.11)Response from analogy New problems are solved by using solution techniques
employedto solve analogous problems.12)Associative Shifting Let stimulus S be paired with
response R. Now, if stimulus Q is presented simultaneously with stimulus S repeatedly, then
stimulus Q is likely to get pairedwith response R.13)Belongingness If there is a natural
relationship between the need state of an organism andthe effect caused by a response, learning
is more effective than if the relationship is unnatural
Theory of emotion
James is one of the two namesakes of theJames-Lange theoryof emotion,which heformulated
independently of Carl Lange in the 1880s. The theory holds that emotion is themind's perception
of physiological conditions that result from some stimulus. In James' oft-cited example; it is not
that we see a bear, fear it, and run. We see a bear and run,consequently we fear the bear. Our
mind's perceptionof the higher adrenaline level,heartbeat, etc., is the emotion.This way of
thinking about emotion has great consequences for the philosophy of aesthetics.Here is a passage
from his great work,
Principles of Psychology
, that spells out thoseconsequences.
[W]e must immediately insist that aesthetic emotion, pure and simple, the pleasure given us by
certainlines and masses, and combinations of colors and sounds, is an absolutely sensational
experience, anoptical or auricular feeling that is primary, and not due to the repercussion
backwards of other sensations elsewhere consecutively aroused. To this simple primary and
immediate pleasure in certain pure sensations and harmonious combinations of them, there may,
it is true, be added secondary pleasures; and in the practical enjoyment of works of art by the
masses of mankind these secondary pleasures play a great part. The more classic one's taste
is, however, the less relatively important arethe secondary pleasures felt to be, in comparison
with those of the primary sensation as it comes in.Classicismandromanticismhave their battles
over this point. Complex suggestiveness, theawakening of vistas of memory and association, and
the stirring of our flesh with picturesque mysteryand gloom, make a work of art romantic. The
classic taste brands these effects as coarse and tawdry,and prefers the naked beauty of the optical
and auditory sensations, unadorned with frippery or foliage. To the romantic mind, on the
contrary, the immediate beauty of these sensations seems dryand thin. I am of course not
discussing which view is right, but only showing that the discrimination between the primary
feeling of beauty, as a pure incoming sensible quality, and the secondaryemotions which are
grafted thereupon, is one that must be made.
[edit] William James' bear
FromJoseph LeDoux's description of William James'

Why do we run away if we notice that we are in danger? Because we areafraid of what will
happen if we don't. This obvious (and incorrect) answerto a seemingly trivial question
has been the central concern of a century-old debate about the nature of our emotions.It
all began in 1884 when William James published an article titled "What Isan Emotion?"
The article appeared in a philosophy journal called
,as there were no psychology journals yet. It was important, not because itdefinitively answered
the question it raised, but because of the way inwhich James phrased his response. He
conceived of an emotion in terms of a sequence of events that starts with the
occurrence of an arousingstimulus {thesympathetic nervous systemor
theparasympatheticnervous system}; and ends with a passionate feeling, a
consciousemotional experience. A major goal of emotion research is still to elucidatethis
stimulus-to-feeling sequenceto figure out what processes comebetween the stimulus
and the feeling. James set out to answer his question by asking another: do we run from
abear because we are afraid or are we afraid because we run? He proposed

that the obvious answer, that we run because we are afraid, was
,and instead argued that we are afraid because we run:Our natural way of thinking about... emotions
is that the mentalperception of some fact excites the mental affection called emotion, andthat
this latter state of mind gives rise to the bodily expression. My thesison the contrary is that the
bodily changes follow directly the PERCEPTIONof the exciting fact, and that our feeling of the
same changes as theyoccur is the emotion (called 'feeling' byDamasio). The essence of James'
proposal was simple. It was premised on the factthat emotions are often accompanied by
bodily responses (racing heart,tight stomach, sweaty palms, tense muscles, and so
on;sympatheticnervous system) and that we can sense what is going on inside our bodymuch
the same as we can sense what is going on in the outside world.According to James, emotions
feel different from other states of mindbecause they have these bodily responses that give rise
to internalsensations, and different emotions feel different from one another becausethey are
accompanied by different bodily responses and sensations. Forexample, when we see James' bear,
we run away. During this act of escape, the body goes through a physiological upheaval:
blood pressurerises, heart rate increases, pupils dilate, palms sweat, muscles contract incertain
ways (evolutionary, innate defense mechanisms). Other kinds of emotional situations will result
in different bodily upheavals. In each case,the physiological responses return to the brain in the
form of bodilysensations, and the unique pattern of sensory feedback gives eachemotion its unique
quality. Fear feels different from anger or love becauseit has a different physiological signature
{theparasympathetic nervoussystemfor love}. The mental aspect of emotion, the feeling, is a
slave toits physiology, not vice versa: we do not tremble because we are afraid orcry because we
feel sad; we are afraid because we tremble and are sadbecause we cry.