Gestalt Principles/ laws
The Gestalt Principles are a set of laws that describe ‘how humans typically see objects by grouping similar elements, recognizing patterns and simplifying complex images’. The principles of grouping / Gestalt laws of grouping. Gestalt psychologists argued that these principles exist because the mind has an innate disposition to perceive patterns in the stimulus based on certain rules. These principles are organized into five categories: Proximity, Similarity, Continuity, Closure and Connectedness.
Important psychologists- Max Wertheimer, Irvin Rock and Steve Palmer. Wertheimer’s were called the “Gestalt laws of grouping” i.e. “principles of grouping”. Rock and Palmer helped Wertheimer in his research to explain human perception of groups of objects and how we perceive parts of objects and form whole objects on the basis of these.
1. Principle/Law of Proximity
- Refers to the way smaller elements are “assembled” in a composition.
- Also called “grouping”, the principle concerns the effect generated when the collective presence of the set of elements becomes more meaningful than their presence as separate elements.
- Arranging words into sentences or titles is an obvious way to group unrelated elements to enhance their meaning (it also depends on a correct order).
- Grouping the words also change the visual and psychological meaning of the composition in non-verbal ways unrelated to their meaning.
- Elements which are grouped together create the illusion of shapes or planes in space, even if the elements are not touching.
- Grouping of this sort can be achieved with tone or value, color, shape, size or other physical attributes.
2.Principle/Law of Similarity
The principles of similarity and proximity often work together to form a Visual Hierarchy. Either principle can dominate the other, depending on the application and combination of the two. For example, in the grid above, the similarity principle dominates the proximity principle and you probably see rows before you see columns.
3.Principle/Law of Closure
Closure is also thought to have evolved from ancestral survival instincts wherein if one was saw a predator partially, their mind would automatically complete the picture and know that it was time to react to potential danger even if not all the necessary information was readily available.
4.Principle/Law of Good continuation
When there is an intersection between two or more objects, people tend to perceive each object as a single uninterrupted object. This allows differentiation of stimuli even when they come in visual overlap. We have a tendency to group and organize lines or curves that follow an established direction over those defined by sharp and abrupt changes in direction.
5.Principle/Law of Common fate
When visual elements are seen moving in the same direction at the same rate , perception associates the movement as part of the same stimulus. For example, birds may be distinguished from their background as a single flock because they are moving in the same direction and at the same velocity, even when each bird is seen—from a distance—as little more than a dot. The moving ‘dots’ appear to be part of a unified whole. Similarly, two flocks of birds can cross each other in a viewer’s visual field, but they will nonetheless continue to be experienced as separate flocks because each bird has a direction common to its flock.
This allows people to make out moving objects even when other details are obscured. This ability likely arose from the evolutionary need to distinguish a camouflaged predator from its background.
The law of common fate is used extensively in user-interface design, for example where the movement of a scrollbar is synchronized with the movement (i.e. cropping) of a window’s content viewport; The movement of a physical mouse is synchronized with the movement of an on-screen arrow cursor, and so on.
6.Principle/Law of Good form
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MCQ test – Gestalt Principles