What are the basic principles of Gestalt psychology, and why was it important in the early life of psychology? What areas do you think were the Gestalt principles and avenues of research best suited for in modern psychology? In your opinion, is there a place for Gestalt psychology in current psychological research and application? Why?
From a scientific perspective, psychoanalysis or psychodynamic views have very little validity. Do you agree or disagree with this statement? Justify your answer. Why did Freudian psychoanalysis have such a seemingly dominant influence, not on U.S. psychology development, but on popular culture?
How did the perspectives of empiricism and structuralism lead to the development of American functionalism? Does American functionalism differ significantly from its European heritage? Why?
Describe the main factors of humanistic psychology. Compare and contrast their views with those of their contemporaries, such as psychoanalytic. In terms of application, what would make humanistic psychology appealing?
Gestalt psychology is a school of thought that looks at the human mind and behavior as a whole. When trying to make sense of the world around us, Gestalt psychology suggests that we do not simply focus on every small component. Instead, our minds tend to perceive objects as part of a greater whole and as elements of more complex systems. There are six individual principles commonly associated with Gestalt theory: similarity, continuation, closure, proximity, figure/ground, and symmetry & order (also called pragnanz). There are some additional, newer principles sometimes associated with Gestalt, such as common fate. Gestalt psychology helped introduce the idea that human perception is not just about seeing what is actually present in the world around us; it is heavily influenced by our motivations and expectations.