Gestalt References

A collection of Gestalt references of both major and minor Gestalt authors, some of which are accompanied by a brief commentary.

Compiled by Steve Lehar

See also the Open Directory Page on Gestalt

Hyper-links to Key Authors

Rudolf Arnheim
Fred Attneave
Christian von Ehrenfels
Gunnar Johansson
Kurt Koffka
Wolfgang Köhler
Gaetano Kanizsa
Emanuel. L. J. Leeuwenberg
Kurt Lewin
Stephen E. Palmer
P. A. Van der Helm
Max Wertheimer

Hyper-links to Selected Subject Specialties


The References

Albertazzi L. (1999) Shapes of Forms: From Gestalt psychology and phenomenology to ontology and mathematics. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic.

Good Gestalt text

Rudolf Arnheim

Rudolf Arnheim is one of those rare and exceptional thinkers gifted in both the arts and sciences. His greatest contribution was to reveal the intimate connection between Gestalt theory and the world of art and aesthetics. His seminal work "Art and Visual Perception" (1969) is of interest both to artists and psychologists, although few contemporary psychologists have had the vision to see its significance. Arnheim's "The Power of the Center" (1988) offers a concrete description of the field-forces in visual perception, as revealed by the laws of visual composition in art.

Arnheim R. (1945) The Gestalt Theory of Expression. Psychological Review 56, 156-171.

Arnheim R. (1951? 1968?) Gestalt Psychology and Artistic Form. In: L. L. Whyte (Ed.) Aspects of Form. London: Lund Humphries, 196-208.

Arnheim R. (1966) Toward a Psychology of Art. Berkeley & Los Angeles CA: University of California Press.

Arnheim, R. (1969) Art and Visual Perception: A psychology of the creative eye. Berkeley CA: University of California Press.

Arnheim R. (1971) Entropy and Art: An essay on disorder and order. Berkeley CA: University of California Press.

Arnheim R. (1988) The Power of the Center: A study of composition in the visual arts. Berkeley CA: University of California Press.

Ash S. E. & Witkin H. A. (1948) Studies in Space Orientation: I. Perception of the Upright with Displaced Visual Fields. Journal of Experimental Psychology 38, 325-327.

Judgements of vertical in tilted rooms.

Ash, M. (1998). Gestalt Psychology in German Culture, 1890-1967. Cambridge UK: Cambridge University Press.

An excellent book on the history of Gestalt.

Fred Attneave

Fred Attneave made a significant contribution to Gestalt theory with his observations on the connection between Gestalt and Information Theory in his (1954) article "Some Informational Aspects of Visual Perception". This offered a means to quantify the Gestalt grouping laws, and to specify more precisely the nature of prägnanz. This concept was further elaborated by Garner (1974) in "The Processing of Information and Structure". Attneave also was the first to postulate a tri-dimensional manifold as the computational substrate of spatial perception, in his (1982) article "Prägnanz and Soap Bubble Systems", an idea which has inspired much of my own thinking on perception.

Attneave F. (1954) "Some Informational Aspects of Visual Perception" Psychology Reviews 61 183-193

Attneave F. (1955) Symmetry, Information, and Memory for Patterns. American Journal of Psychology 68: 209-222.

Attneave F. (1955) Perception of Place in a Circular Field. American Journal of Psychology 68, {either 209-22 or 69-82}.

Attneave F. (1959) Applications of Information Theory to Psychology: A summary of basic concepts, methods, and results. New York: Holt.

Attneave F. (1967) Criteria for a Tenable Theory of Form Perception. In: W. Wather-Dunn (Ed.) Models for the Perception of Speech and Visual Form. Cambridge MA: The MIT Press. 56-67.

Attneave F. (1968) Triangles as Ambiguous Figures. American Journal of Psychology 81, 447-453.

Attneave F. (1972) Representation of Physical Space. In A. W. Melton & E. J. Martin (Eds.) Coding Processes in Human Memory. Washington DC: V. H. Winston.

Attneave F. (1974) How Do You Know? The American Psychologist 29, 493-499.

Attneave F. (1954/1976) Multistability in Perception. Scientific American 225, 142-151. Reprinted in: Recent Progress in Perception: Readings from Scientific American. San Francisco CA: W. H. Freeman, 142-151.

Attneave F. (1982) Prägnanz and Soap Bubble Systems: A Theoretical Exploration. In J Beck (Ed.) Organization and Representation in Perception. Hillsdale NJ: Erlbaum. 11-29.

Attneave F. & Pierce C. R. (1978) Accuracy of Extrapolating a Pointer into Perceived and Imagined Space. American Journal of Psychology 91, 371-384.

Attneave F. & Block N. (1973) Apparent Motion in Tri-Dimensional Space. Perception & Psychophysics 13, 301-307.

Attneave F. & Farrar P. (1977) The Visual World Behind the Head. American Journal of Psychology 90, 549-563.

Aubert H. & Foerster R. (1856) Über den Raumsinn der Netzhaut. Jber. Schles. Ges. Vaterl. Kult. 43, 33f.

First but brief paper on Aubert-Foerster phenomenon whereby Visual acuity, measured in visual angle, is greater at small distances than it is at large distances. See also Jaensch (1909).

Aubert H. & Foerster R. (1857) Untersuchungen über den Raumsinn der Retina. Arch. Ophthal. Berlin 3 (2), 1-37.

Later, but more extensive paper on Aubert-Foerster phenomenon whereby Visual acuity, measured in visual angle, is greater at small distances than it is at large distances. See also Jaensch (1909).

Beck J. (1982) Organization and Representation in Perception. Hillsdale NJ: Erlbaum.

Bozzi P. (1999) Experimental Phenomenology: A Historical Profile. In: L. Albertazzi (Ed.) Shapes of Forms: From Gestalt Psychology and Phenomenology to Ontology and Mathematics. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic. 19-50.

p. 21: "The history of the ideas relevant to understanding of Gestalt theory ... began with Kant."

Christian von Ehrenfels

Ehrenfels' (1890) paper " Über Gestaltqualitäten" provided the original inspiration for the Gestalt movement by demonstrating that recognition is often independent of the exact stimulus values, depending instead on higher order pattern or 'gestalt'. For example the recognition of a melody is independent of the actual pitch, or tempo, in which that melody is played.

Ehrenfels von C. (1890) Über Gestaltqualitäten. Vierteljahresschr. für Philosophie, 14, 249-292.

Ehrenfels C. von (1890/1988) On "Gestalt Qualities". In B. Smith (Ed. & Trans.) Foundations of Gestalt Theory. Wien: Philosophia Verlag. pp 82-117.

Epstein W. (1988) Has the Time Come to Rehabilitate Gestalt Theory? Psychol. Res. 50, 2-6.

Ertel S., Kemmler L., & Stadler M. (Eds., 1975) Gestalttheorie in der modernen Psychologie. Darmstadt: Steinkopf.

Galli, A. (1932) Über mittels verschiedener Sinnesreize erweckte Wahrnehmung von Scheinbewegung. Arch. f. d. Ges. Psych. 85, 137-180.

Garner W. R. (1974) The Processing of Information and Structure. Potomac MD: Erlbaum.

People can remember "good" figures better, match more quickly, describe in fewer words, learn more quickly.

Gurwitsch, Aaron (1966). Studies in Phenomenology and Psychology. Northwestern University Press.

This book contains several excellent essays on Gestalt theory and its relationship to phenomenology.

Hamlyn D. W. (1957) The Psychology of Perception; A philosophical examination of Gestalt theory and derivative theories of perception. New York: Humanities Press.

Handel S. & Garner W. R. (1966) The Structure of Visual Pattern Associates and Pattern Goodness. Perception & Psychophysics 1, 33-38.

Hartgenbusch H. G. (1927) Gestalt Psychology in Sport. Psyche 27, 41-52. Originally published as: Beobachtungen und Bemerkungen zur Psychologie des Sports. Psych. Forsch. 7, 386-397.

Hartmann L. (1923) Neue Verschmeltzungsprobleme. Psychologische Forschung 3, 319-396.

Hartmann test to measure figural stability. View figure through episcotister (spinning wheel with gaps). The critical fusion velocity is the rotational speed beyond which the figure is no longer observed to flicker.

Hartmann G. W. (1935) Gestalt Psychology: A survey of facts and principles. New York: The Ronald Press Company.

Good paper

Heider, F., & Simmel, M. (1944). An experimental study of apparent behavior. The American Journal of Psychology, 57, 243-259.

Heider spent several years in Berlin, then in Hamburg (with Werner), then worked for Koffka at Smith College where he also met the young J.J. Gibson. The apparent behavior study brings an additional perspective to Michotte (whose study postdated that of Heider). Heider can also be viewed as the founder of ecological thinking in psychology.

Held R. (1972) Perception: Mechanisms and models. Readings from Scientific American. San Francisco CA: W. H. Freeman.

Held R. (1974) Image, Object, and Illusion: Readings from Scientific American. San Francisco CA: W. H. Freeman.

Held R. (1976) Recent Progress in Perception: Readings from Scientific American. San Francisco CA: W. H. Freeman.

Helson H. (1963) Studies on Anomalous Contrast and Assimilation. Journal of the Optical Society of America 53, 179-184.

Conditions leading to brightness contrast v.s. brightness assimilation.

Helson H. (1969) Why did their precursors fail and the Gestalt psychologists succeed? American Psychologist 24, 1007-1011.

Helson H. (1977) The Influence of Gestalt Psychology in America. Annals of the New York Acadamy of Sciences 291, 3-12.

Henle M. & Arnheim R. (1976) Vision and Artifact. New York: Springer.

Hochberg J. & Brooks V. 1960 "The Psychophysics of Form: Reversible Perspective Drawings of Spatial Objects". American Journal of Psychology 73 337-354.

Hochberg J. & McAlister E. (1953) A Quantitative Approach to Figural "Goodness". Journal of Experimental Psychology 46, 361-364.

Attneave (1954) "The first significant advance in objective theories of figural goodness.

Hochberg J. E. (1964) Perception. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.

Hochberg J. E. (1973) Organization and the Gestalt Tradition. In E. Carterette & M. Friedman (Eds.) Handbook of Perception, Vol 1. New York: Academic Press.

Hornbstel (1925) Die Einheit der Sinne. Melos 4, 290-297.

The unity of the senses. There are many parallels between different modalities. Visual: bright/dark; Auditory: loud/soft; Pain: sharp/dull; Temperature: cold/warm; Kinesthetic: light/heavy; Pressure: hard/soft; etc.

Jaensch E. R. (1909) Zur Analyse der Gesichtswahrnehmungen. Erg. Bd. 4 d. Zts. f. Psych.

The Aubert-Foerster phenomenon: Visual acuity, measured in visual angle, is greater at small distances than it is at large distances.

W. D. Ellis

Ellis W. D. (Ed. 1950) A Sourcebook of Gestalt Psychology. New York: The Humanities Press

This is one of the most authoritative texts on Gestalt theory, and the one which has perhaps been the most influential in America.

Gunnar Johansson

Gunnar Johansson caused a considerable stir in the vision community with his (1973) demonstration of what has come to be known as biological motion. Johansson attached tiny point-lights at various points on people dressed in black clothes, for example on their shoulders, hips, knees, ankles, elbows, and wrists, then he filmed them moving about in a dark room, where only the point-lights showed. Subjects viewing the films perceived the moving lights as moving bodies, and could even distinguish male from female gaits. In true Gestalt tradition Johansson demonstrates a powerful perceptual ability that defies explanation in simplistic computational models.

Johansson G. (1950) Configurations in Visual Event Perception. Uppsala: Almquist & Wiskell.

Johansson G. (1958) Rigidity, Stability, and Motion in Perceptual Space. Acta Psychologica 14, 359-370.

Johansson G. (1964) Perception of Motion and Changing Form. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology 5, 181-208.

Johansson G. (1971) Visual Motion Perception. T. R. University of Upsala, Sweden.

Johansson G. (1973) Visual Perceptin of Biological Motion and a Model for its Analysis. Perception & Psychophysics 14, 201-211.

Johansson G. (1975) Visual Motion Perception. Scientific American 232 (6) 76-88.

Johansson G. (1977) Spatial Constancy and Motion in Visual Perception. In: W. Epstein (Ed.) Stability and Constancy in Visual Perception: Mechanisms and processes. New York: Wiley.

Julesz B. (1971) Foundations of Cyclopean Perception. Chicago ILL: University of Chicago Press.

Julesz B. (1975) Experiments in the Visual Perception of Texture. Scientific American, April.

Gaetano Kanizsa

Gaetano Kanizsa was one of the most colorful of the Gestaltists. His (1979) book "Organization in Vision" is presented as a visual argument constructed of a series of illusory figures, each of which makes a particular point about perception. It is a delightful and very "Gestalt" way to present an argument, which is both convincing, and easy to read.

Kanizsa G. (1974) Contour Without Gradients or Cognitive Contours: Ital. Jour. Psych. 1, 93-113.

Kanizsa G. (1976) Subjective Contours. Scientific American 234, 48-52.

Kanizsa G. (1979) Organization in Vision: Essays on Gestalt Perception. New York: Praeger.

Kanizsa G. (1955) Margini Quasi-Percettivi in Campi con Stimulazioni Omogeana. Revista di Psicologia 49, 7-30.

Popularized subjective contours.

Kanizsa G. (1987) Quasi-Perceptual Margins in Homogeneously Stimulated Fields. In: S. Petry & G. MeyerThe Perception of Illusory Contours. New York: Springer.

Katz D. (1935) The World of Colour. London: Kegan Paul, Trench, & Trubner & Co.

Transparency, shadow, glossiness etc. do not hold for isolated patches of colored light. Many of these cases involve "scission".

Katz D. (1950) Gestalt Psychology: Its nature and significance. New York: Ronald

Katz D. (1961) Gestaltpsychologie. Basel: B. Schwabe.

Kester (1926) Über Lokalisation und Bewegungserscheinungen bei Geräuschpaaren. Psychol. Forsch. 8, 75-113.

"Sound movement" analogous to Wertheimer's Phi phenomenon in sound.

Kurt Koffka

One of the original three founders of the Gestalt movement, Koffka's influential (1935) book "Principles of Gestalt Psychology" published in English language did much to introduce Gestalt theory to the American audience.

Koffka K. (1924) The Growth of Mind. New York:

Koffka K. (1930) Some Problems in Space Perception. In C. Murchison (Ed.) Psychologies of 1930. Worcester: 161-187.

Reputedly the best account of Gestalt theory on depth & distance.

Koffka K. (1935) Principles of Gestalt Psychology. New York: Harcourt Brace.

Wolfgang Köhler

Although he was not the originator of Gestalt theory, in my view Wolfgang Köhler was the most prolific and articulate of the original Gestaltists. His (1924) "Die physischen Gestalten in Ruhe und im stationären Zustand" helped to demystify the holistic emergent aspects of Gestalt theory by offering examples of holistic and emergent processes from the physical sciences. Unfortunately this book has never been published in English translation. Köhler was also the first Gestaltist to state the most important principle of isomorphism, and how it relates to the philosophical infrastructure of perception, as discussed in his (1971) paper "The Mind-Body Problem". The implications of these insights remain to be acknowledged in contemporary psychology.

Köhler W. (1924) Die physischen Gestalten in Ruhe und im stationären Zustand: Eine naturphilosophische Untersuchung. Erlangen: Verlag der Philosophichen Akademie.

Dynamic self-distribution of electrical charges on a conductor, and properties of electrical and magnetic fields "illustrate in physics the peculiarities of the perceptive forms".

Köhler W. (1933) Psychologische Probleme. Berlin: Verlag Julius Springer.

Köhler W. (1938) The Place of Value in a World of Fact.

Köhler W. (1947) Gestalt Psychology. New York: Liveright.

Köhler W. (1960) Dynamics in Psychology. New York: Grove Press.

Köhler W. (1969) The Task of Gestalt Psychology. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Köhler W. (1971) "The Mind-Body Problem". In M. Henle (Ed.) The Selected Papers of Wolfgang Köhler. New York, Liveright, 62-82.

Köhler W. & Held R. (1949) The Cortical Correlate of Pattern Vision. Science 110, 414-419.

In this paper Köhler attempts a neurophysiological theory of Gestalt perception by way of electric fields in the brain. However subsequent work by other authors seemed to disconfirm this particular hypothesis, at least in its most simplistic form. Unfortunately the disconfirmation of this specific neurophysiological model was generally and erroneously perceived as an indictment of all of Gestalt theory, and therefore this paper more than any other, led to the ultimate demise of Gestalt theory as a serious contender in psychology.

Köhler W. & Emery D. A. (1947) Figural Aftereffects in the Third Dimension of Visual Space. American Journal of Psychology, 60, 159-201.

Köhler W. & Wallach H. (1944) Figural Aftereffects: An investigation of visual processes. Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, 88 (4) 269-357.

Kohler, Ivo (1964) The Formation and Transformation of the Perceptual World. New York: International Universities Press.

Kovács I., Papathomas I. V., Feher A. (1996) When the Brain Changes its Mind: Interocular Grouping During Binocular Rivalry. Society for Neuroscience Abstracts 22 (1) 271.

"Binocular rivalry goes beyond interocular suppression and follows more complex rules of perceptual organization. We suggest thta interocular grouping is mediated by extremely interactive feedforward - feedback connections involving a large part of the cortical architecture."

Leeuwenberg E. L. J. (1968) Structural Information of Visual Patterns: An efficient coding system in perception. The Hague: Mouton.

An interesting paper on the implications of information theory to the perception of geometrical form.

Leeuwenberg E. L. J. (1971) A Perceptual Coding Language for Visual and Auditory Patterns. American Journal of Psychology 84 (3) 307-350.

Leeuwenberg E. L. J. & Buffart H. F. J. M. (1978) Formal Theories of Visual Perception. Chichester: Wiley.

Leman M. (Ed. 1997) Music, Gestalt, and Computing: Studies in cognitive and systematic musicology.

Kurt Lewin

Kurt Lewin developed the field theory aspects of Gestalt theory, proposing that many aspects of perception and behavior can be explained by field-like forces of attraction and repulsion in the "behavioral environment", or the internal perceptual copy of the external world. As with much of Gestalt theory, the significance of this field-theory approach remains to be generally recognized in psychology.

Lewin K. (1931) Die psychologische Situation bei Lohn und Strafe. Leipzig.

Lewin K. (1936/1969) Principles of Topological Psychology. F. Heider & G. M. Heider (Transl.) New York: McGraw-Hill.

Lorenz K. Z. (1951) The Role of Gestalt Perception in Animal and Human Behavior. In L. L. Whyte (Ed.) Aspects of Form. London: Lund Humphries, 157-178.

Merleau-Ponty, M. (1962) Phenomenology of perception. London: Routlege & Kegan Paul

Perhaps the most profound discussion of Gestalt theory by a philosopher whose whole work was inspired by the discovery of this theory

Metzger W. (1975) Die Gesetze des Sehens. Frankfurt / M: W. Kramer.

Michaels K. M. & Zusne L. (1965) Metrics of Visual Form. Psychological Bulletin 63, 72-86.

Regularity & quantification of prägnanz.

Albert Michotte (1881-1965)

In his (1946) book "La Perception de la Causalité", Michotte demonstrated that the perception of causality, for example whether a moving block is perceived to cause another block to move, depends on the precise timing of the perceived event, i.e. on the exact interval between the time the first block meets the second, and time the second block starts moving. This suggests that causality is not so much a higher level "cognitive" function, but more of a lower level perceptual function, much like the perception of apparent motion. In his (1967) book " Les Complements Amodeux des Structures Perceptives" Michotte introduced the concept of the amodal percept, i.e. the perception of spatial structure in the absence of an explicit perceptual modality such as color, brightness, or binocular disparity. For example the hidden rear sides of objects are perceived amodally based only on the shape of their visible front surfaces.

Michotte A. (1946) La Perception de la Causalité. Louvain: Publications Universitares de Louvain.

Michotte A. (1963) The Perception of Causality. J. R. Miles & E. Miles (Transl.) London: Methuen.

Michotte A. (1967) Les Complements Amodeux des Structures Perceptives. Louvain: Institute de Psychologie de l'Universite de Luvain.

Michotte A. (1991) Michottes Experimental Phenomenology of Perception. George Thines, Alan Costall, & George Butterworth (Eds.) Hillsdale NJ: Erlbaum.

p. 170: Perceptual Reality "On the one hand, of course, we experience depth in [perspective] pictures; indeed as Michotte showed, observers have little difficulty in setting a comparison object (an adjustable wire figure) to match a 3-D object represented in a picture. Yet the depth is not experienced as real; we are not, for example, tempted to put our hands into the picture and touch the depicted objects. Why is this? The apparent reality of the image, Michotte argued, is limited by a perceptual conflict between the flatness of the picture's surface and the depthfinal of the depicted object."

p. 220: "According to Sensationalism, perceptual experience and intellectual functions are continuous: the contents of thought are nothing more than the associations and recombinations of sensations and images."

Michotte A., Thines G., & Crabbe G. (1962) Les Compléments Amodeux des Structures Perceptives. In: A. Michotte & J. Nuttin (Eds.) Studia Psychologica. Louvain: Publications Universitaires.

Murray D. (1995) Gestalt Psychology and the Cognitive Revolution. New York: Harvester / Wheatsheaf; London: Prentice-Hall, p. 52.

Musatti, C. L. (1953) Colore e Luche. Archivio di Psicologia, Neurologia e psichiatria, 14 (5) 544-577.

Conditions leading to brightness contrast v.s. brightness assimilation.

Stephen E. Palmer

Palmer S. E. (1975) Visual Perception and World Knowledge. In D. A. Norman & D. E. Rumelhart (Eds.) Explorations in Cognition. San Francisco CA: Freeman.

Palmer S. E. (1977) Hierarchical structure in perceptual representation, Cognitive Psychology 9, 441-474

Palmer S. E. (1980) What Makes Triangles Point: Local and global effects in configurations of ambiguous triangles. Cognitive Psychology 12, 285-305.

Palmer S. E. (1983) The Psychology of Perceptual Organization: A Transformational Approach. In J. Beck, B. Hope, & A. Rosenfeld (Eds.) Human and Machine Vision. New York: Academic Press.

Palmer S. E. (1985) The Role of Symmetry in Shape Perception. Acta Psychologica 59, 67-90.

Palmer S. E. (1992) Common Region: A new principle of perceptual grouping. Cognitive Psychology 24, 436-477.

Palmer S. E. & Bucher N. M. (1981) Configural Effects in Perceived Pointing of Ambiguous Triangles. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception & Performance 7, 88-114.

Palmer S. E. & Bucher N. M. (1982) Textural Effects in Perceived Pointing of Ambiguous Triangles. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception & Performance 8, 147-163.

Palmer S. E. (1990) Modern Theories of Gestalt Perception. Mind & Language 5 (4).

Palmer S. E. (1991) Goodness, Gestalt, Groups, and Garner: Local symmetry sub-groups as a theory of figural goodness. In G. Lockhead & J. Pomerantz (Eds.) The Perception of Structure. Washington DC: American Psychological Association, 23-40.

Petermann B. (1932/1950) The Gestalt Theory and the Problem of Configuration. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.

This book is finally critical of Gestalt theory.

Piaget J. (1956) The Child's Conception of Space. London: Routledge & Keegan Paul.

Piaget J. (1960) The Child's Concept of Geometry. New York: Basic Books.

Steinman R. M., Pizlo Z. & Pizlo F. J. (2000) Phi is not Beta, and Why Wertheimer's Discovery Launched the Gestalt Revolution: A minireview. Vision Research 40, 2257-2264.

Rawlins, F. I. G. (1953) Aesthetics and the Gestalt: A collection of essays and other writings. Edinburgh: Nelson.

Rock I. (1983) The Logic of Perception. Cambridge MA: MIT Press.

Rock is a gestaltist who left the Gestalt circle and came up with his own theory. That was his mistake.

Rock I. (1997) Indirect Perception. Cambridge MA: MIT Press.

Rosenthal V. & Visetti Y-M (1999) Sens et Temps de la Gestalt. (Gestalt Theory: Critical Overview and Contemporary Relevance) Intellectia 28 (1) 147-227. Available on-line

Excellent discussion of Gestalt, but in French.

Edgar Rubin

Rubin's principal contribution to Gestalt theory was his demonstration of the multistability of perception using bistable illusory figures such as the Faces/Vase illusion.

Rubin E. (1915) Synsoplerede Figuren. Copenhagen: Glyndendalska.

Rubin E. (1921) Visuell wahrgenommene Figuren. Copenhagen: Gyldendalske. [exerpts translated and reprinted in D. C. Beardslee & M. Wertheimer (Eds.), Readings in Perception, Princeton, NJ: D. Van Nostrand Co., Inc. pp. 194-203]

Rubin E. (1927) Visuell Wahrgenommene wirkliche Bewegungen. Zeitschrift für Psychologie 103, 384-392.

Sander F. (1931) Gestalt Psychologie und Kunsttheorie: Ein Beitrag zur Psychologie der Architectur. Neue Psychol. Studien 8, 311-333.

Sarris V. (1989) Max Wertheimer on Seen Motion: Theory and evidence. Psychol. Res. 51, 58-68.

Schimmel H. (2000) Gestalt: Erscheinungsformen in Architektur und Kunst. Stuttgart: Anabas Verlag.

Shepard R. N. & Chipman S. (1970) Second Order Isomorphism of Internal Representations: Shapes of States. Cognitive Psychology 1, 1-17.

Sheerer E. (1994) Psychoneural Isomorphism: Historical background and current relevance. Philosophical Psychology 7, 183-210.

Smith B. (ed. 1988), Foundations of Gestalt Theory, Munich and Vienna: Philosophia, 124-57.

Tampieri G. (1956) Sul Completamento Amodale di Rappresentazioni Prospettiche di Solidi Geometrici. Atli dell' XI Congresso Degli Psicologi Italiani, ed. L. Ancona, pp 1-3 Milano: Vita e Pensiero.

Tausch, R. (1954) Optische Täuschungen als artifizielle Effekte der Gestaltungs-prozesse von Grössen und Formenkonstanz in der natürlichen Raumwahrnehmung". Psychologische Forschung, 24, 299-348.

Teuber M. L. (1976) Sources of Ambiguity in the Prints of Maurits C. Escher. In: Recent Progress in Perception: Readings from Scientific American. San Francisco CA: W. H. Freeman, 153-167.

Wallach H. (1948) Brightness Constancy and the Nature of Achromatic Colors. Journal of Experimental Psychology 38, 310-324.

Wallach H. & O'Connell D. N. (1953) The Kinetic Depth Effect. Journal of Experimental Psychology 45, 205-217.

P. A. Van der Helm

Van der Helm, P.A., & Leeuwenberg, E.L.J. (1996). Goodness of visual regularities: A non-transformational approach. Psychological Review, 103 (3), 429-456. (more info)

Van Lier, R.J., Leeuwenberg, E.L.J., & Van der Helm, P.A. (1997). In support of hierarchy in object representations. Psychological Research, 60, 134-143.

Van der Helm, P.A., & Leeuwenberg, E.L.J. (1999). A better approach to goodness: Reply to Wagemans (1999). Psychological Review, 106 (1), 622-630.

Max Wertheimer

Max Wertheimer, together with Kurt Koffka and Wolfgang Köhler, was the founder of Gestalt theory. In his (1912) "Experimentelle Studien über das Sehen von Bewegung" he examined the phenomenon of apparent motion, where a pair of alternately flashing lights stimulate a percept of a single light moving back and forth. Wertheimer recognized that this phenomenon revealed a constructive or generative aspect of perception.

Wertheimer M. (1912) Experimentelle Studien über das Sehen von Bewegung. Zeitschrift für Psychologie, 61, 161-265. Also in M. Wertheimer (1925) Drei Abhandlungen zur Gestalttheorie. Erlangen.

Wertheimer M. (1923) Untersuchungen zur Lehre von Gestalt. Psychologische Forschung 4, 301-350. Reprinted in part in W. D. Ellis (Ed. 1950) A Sourcebook of Gestalt Psychology. New York: The Humanities Press, 71-88.

Wertheimer M. (1923) Principles of Perceptual Organization. In D. S. Beardslee & M. Wertheimer (Eds.) Readings in Perception. Princeton NJ: Van Nostrand-Reinhold. 115-137.

Wertheimer M. (1923) Laws of Organization in Perceptual Forms. Psychologische Forschung 4, 301-350. Reprinted in W. D. Ellis (Ed. & Transl. 1938) A Source Book of Gestalt Psychology. {New York: Harcourt Brace |?| London: Routledge & Kegan Paul} 71-88.


The concept of microgenesis refers to the development on a brief present-time scale of a percept, a thought, an object of imagination, or an expression. It defines the occurrence of immediate experience as dynamic unfolding and differentiation in which the germ of the final experience is already embodied in the early stages of its development.

Flavell, J. H., & Draguns, J. (1957). A microgenetic approach to perception and thought. Psychological Bulletin, 54(3), 197-217.

Kaden, S. E., Wapner, S., & Werner, H. (1955). Studies in physiognomic perception: II. Effect of directional dynamics of pictured objects and of words on the position of the apparent horizon. The Journal of Psychology, 39, 61-70.

Sander, F. (1930). Structures, totality of experience, and gestalt. In C. Murchinson (Ed.), Psychologies of 1930 (pp. 188-204.). Worcester, MA.: Clark University Press.

The only available paper by Sander (in English).

Wapner, S., & Werner, H. (1957). Perceptual development; an investigation within the framework of sensory-tonic field theory. Worcester, Mass.,: Clark University Press.

Werner, H. (1935). Studies in contour: I. Qualitative analyses. American Journal of Psychology, 47, 40-64.

Werner, H. (1956). Microgenesis and aphasia. Journal of Abnormal Social Psychology, 52, 347-353.

This is the paper in which Werner coined the term Microgenesis.

Werner, H. (1957). Comparative psychology of mental development. (Rev. ed.). New York: International Universities Press.

Werner, H., & Kaplan, B. (1963). Symbol formation: an organismic-developmental approach to language and the expression of thought. New York: Wiley.

Werner, H., & Wapner, S. (1952). Toward a general theory of perception. Psychological Review, 59, 324-338.

Werner, H., & Wapner, S. (1954). Studies in physiognomic perception: I. Effect of configurational dynamics and meaning-induced sets on the position of the apparent median plane. The Journal of Psychology, 38, 51-65.