Results: Gestalt criticisms (Paul von Hippel -- Ohio State )

Subject: Results: Gestalt criticisms
From:    Paul von Hippel -- Ohio State  <pvh(at)CCRMA.STANFORD.EDU>
Date:    Tue, 12 Oct 1999 15:20:12 +0000

Some weeks ago, I posted a request for articles that criticize Gestalt-style explanations for being vague or after the fact. A number of people asked me to share the results of my inquiry. In the end, I found that the clearest criticisms of this type occur in a textbook by Goldstein (1996, pp. 190-194) and a book chapter by Pomerantz (1986, pp. 7-8): Goldstein, E.B. (1996). *Sensation and perception* (4th edition). Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks/Cole. Pomerantz, J.R. (1986). Visual form perception. Vol. 2, pp. 1-30 in *Pattern recognition by humans and machines* (Schwab, E.C., & Nusbaum, H.C., Eds.) Orlando, FL: Academic Press. As a number of respondents pointed out, the physiological claims of Gestalt theory have also been criticized. In addition, to some degree the theory has simply passed out of fashion as researchers became interested in different levels of explanation -- neurological, computational, or ecological. Finally, there have been attempts to defend the theory or to shore it up in answer to criticisms. I have not had a chance to investigate the pertinent citations, since they did not address my immediate needs. However, I will share those citations if asked. Many thanks to all who replied. Sincerely yours, Paul von Hippel Post-Doctoral Fellow School of Music Ohio State University 1866 College Road Columbus, OH 43210 614 292-7321 e-mail: von-hippel.1(at) (You can also reach me by simply replying to this message. All my mail is forwarded to the same final destination.)

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