The classification of the qualities of objects by degree heat and cold, moisture and dryness etc was commonplace in the middle ages



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The classification of the qualities of objects by degree - heat and cold, moisture and dryness etc. - was commonplace in the middle ages.

  • The classification of the qualities of objects by degree - heat and cold, moisture and dryness etc. - was commonplace in the middle ages.

    • Henry Lyte's translation of Dodoens' Niewe herball or historie of plantes, 1578 includes a description of rue:
    • "Rue is hoate and dry in the thirde degree."
  • Shakespeare went on to apply the degree classification to drink, in Twelfth Night, 1602:

    • "For he s in the third degree of drinke: hee's drown'd: go looke after him.”

“The third degree” is well-known to all US crime-fiction enthusiasts as “an intensive, possibly brutal interrogation” appearing as early as Forbes (1900)

  • “The third degree” is well-known to all US crime-fiction enthusiasts as “an intensive, possibly brutal interrogation” appearing as early as Forbes (1900)

  • In Masonic lodges there are three degrees of membership: Entered Apprentice, Fellowcraft, and Master Mason. When a candidate receives the third degree in a Masonic lodge, he is subjected to some activities that involve an interrogation and it is more physically challenging than the first two degrees.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Xjs6iTjdJc&feature=player_embedded





Gestalt therapy is not really derived from Gestalt psychology.

  • Gestalt therapy is not really derived from Gestalt psychology.

    • Although it borrowed some terms like closure and insight (defining them differently), it is recognized to have little to do with Gestalt psychology.
    • Perls admitted never reading the books of the Gestalt psychologists but dedicated a book to Wertheimer.
    • Henle: “The most grotesque misunderstanding of Gestalt psychology is the notion that it has some relation to Gestalt therapy…there is nothing in common


This was the major alternative and challenge to structuralism during the early 20th century.

  • This was the major alternative and challenge to structuralism during the early 20th century.

    • Founded by the successors to the people in Chapter 6.
  • Gestalt means “shape” or “form.”

  • Major proponents:

    • Max Wertheimer – developed Gestalt principles
    • Kurt Koffka – developed laws of perception
    • Wolfgang Kohler – worked with apes on insight
    • Kurt Lewin – developed “Field theory”


Gestalt Psychology grew out of the perceptual theories of physicist Ernst Mach and the experimental work of Christian von Ehrenfels.

  • Gestalt Psychology grew out of the perceptual theories of physicist Ernst Mach and the experimental work of Christian von Ehrenfels.

  • Mach described properties of spatial and auditory forms (squares, circles, simple melodies).

    • As perceptual wholes these forms have qualities that distinguish them from their elements (parts).
    • Its form quality gives an object perceptual or psychological permanence despite changes in sensation
    • A song sung by different voices remains the same song.


Wertheimer studied under Stumpf in Berlin, then Kulpe in Prague (psychology of legal testimony).

  • Wertheimer studied under Stumpf in Berlin, then Kulpe in Prague (psychology of legal testimony).

  • Fascinated by the apparent motion of objects outside a train window, he bought a stroboscope to study “where does movement come from?”

    • Schumann loaned him a tachistoscope and introduced him to Koffka and Kohler (students of Stumpf).
  • Apparent motion of a white stripe from horizontal to vertical was demonstrated.



http://www.michaelbach.de/ot/mot_reverse-phi/index.html

  • http://www.michaelbach.de/ot/mot_reverse-phi/index.html

  • http://www.lifesci.sussex.ac.uk/home/George_Mather/TwoStrokeFlash.htm



Holistic thinking – the whole is always more than the sum of its parts, called supersummativity.

  • Holistic thinking – the whole is always more than the sum of its parts, called supersummativity.

  • Phenomenological basis – analyzing the essence of phenomena is the subject matter of psychology.

  • Methodology – lifelike experiments using small numbers of subjects.

  • Isomorphism – psychological processes are directly related to biological (brain) processes.



Benussi showed that when two points on the skin are stimulated the stimulus appears to move in an arc through space, like a flea hopping.

  • Benussi showed that when two points on the skin are stimulated the stimulus appears to move in an arc through space, like a flea hopping.

  • Von Bekesy produced a tactile phi perception of a vibration jumping from knee to knee or between.

  • Geldard & Sherrick produced a progression of jumps up the arm from wrist to elbow (like a rabbit).

  • In all of these, the perceptual experience had a property (movement) not present in the components.



The figure emerges as a whole, not piecemeal, demonstrating that perceptions are active, lively and organized, not passive receivers of stimuli.

  • The figure emerges as a whole, not piecemeal, demonstrating that perceptions are active, lively and organized, not passive receivers of stimuli.







Closure applies to memory, not just visual stimuli.

  • Closure applies to memory, not just visual stimuli.

    • Waiters can remember checks until the bill is paid.
    • Zeigarnik Effect -- she gave 18-22 tasks but interrupted half part-way through. Later, interrupted tasks were 90% more likely to be recalled.
    • TV cliff-hanger episodes generate tension.
  • Alpha the chimp filled in the missing wedge of a pie-shaped figure.

    • Results with other chimps produced inconsistent results, perhaps because they were too young.


Koffka distinguished between the geographic environment and the behavioral environment.

  • Koffka distinguished between the geographic environment and the behavioral environment.

    • The man in the snowstorm who crossed a lake not a plain without knowing it. His behavioral environment was plain, not lake.


Despite the turmoil in Germany after WWI, Gestalt Psychology flourished in the 1920’s.

  • Despite the turmoil in Germany after WWI, Gestalt Psychology flourished in the 1920’s.

  • Wolfgang Kohler succeeded Carl Stumpf as director of the Berlin Psychological Institute.

    • A decade later, the Nazi’s wrecked it.
    • In 1933, Jewish professors, including Wertheimer, Kohler & Koffka, were expelled from the university (27 psychologists).
    • Many were assisted in finding jobs in the USA, some at the NYC New School for Social Research (Univ. in Exile).


Germany’s most celebrated philosopher, Heidegger, supported the Nazi’s anti-intellectualism & Hitler.

  • Germany’s most celebrated philosopher, Heidegger, supported the Nazi’s anti-intellectualism & Hitler.

  • Under Nazi leadership, Wundt’s lab became a folk-cell or center for ultra-nationalistic activities.

  • Kohler (not Jewish) vigorously opposed the Nazis.

    • He wrote the last anti-Nazi article published, mocked the Hitler salute and gave an anti-Nazi lecture.
    • He refused to take a loyalty oath to Hitler and agitated for reinstatement of Jewish colleagues.
  • He emigrated in 1935, going to Swarthmore.



Wertheimer studied human thought and education at the New School for Social Research (1933).

  • Wertheimer studied human thought and education at the New School for Social Research (1933).

    • Fromm’s interviews with major scientists at the New School was lost until republished in 1997.
  • Wertheimer wrote “Productive Thinking” (1945) recommending a Gestalt approach to teaching.

  • He developed new methods of teaching math and thought insightful productive thinking could be cultivated in all children (not just math geniuses).



Kohler studied with Stumpf, then went to the Canary Islands (Tenerife) to study primates and was stranded there for 7 years by WWI.

  • Kohler studied with Stumpf, then went to the Canary Islands (Tenerife) to study primates and was stranded there for 7 years by WWI.

  • Kohler questioned the S-R learning approach of Thorndike (trial & error), arguing that animals are capable of reasoning in the right context.

    • He said animals were unable to demonstrate higher level reasoning in puzzle boxes.
    • He devised situations that animals could solve using insight.




Chimps seemed to use insight to solve more complicated problems involving combining tools or using objects to reach bananas, with transfer.

  • Chimps seemed to use insight to solve more complicated problems involving combining tools or using objects to reach bananas, with transfer.

    • They seemed to have moments of insight, jumping up with inspiration after giving up on a problem.
    • Animals were tested in social situations where they learned by observation and imitation.
    • Kohler reported his results descriptively without numbers and statistical interpretations.
  • British intelligence thought he was a spy.





Apes were able to find buried food immediately but not after a delay – ape memory is limited.

  • Apes were able to find buried food immediately but not after a delay – ape memory is limited.

  • He demonstrated that fear is not a learned response by showing that apes reacted with fear to novel stimuli such as camels or masks not paired with punishment.



Lewin studied in Berlin under Stumpf but found Wundtian psychology irrelevant and dull.

  • Lewin studied in Berlin under Stumpf but found Wundtian psychology irrelevant and dull.

    • He organized a series of workers classes to teach basic skills -- considered subversive by the university.
  • He volunteered for WWI winning an Iron Cross, then published “The War Landscape” describing the soldier’s experience of the war.

    • He used terms like life space, boundary, direction and zone, which became important in his later topological theory & described depersonalization of the enemy.




Returning to the Berlin Psychological Institute, he found Gestalt psychology interesting but had a more applied focus.

  • Returning to the Berlin Psychological Institute, he found Gestalt psychology interesting but had a more applied focus.

    • Two papers on the laborer in agriculture and industry.
    • In 1919 he returned to the idea of life space, comparing agricultural and industrial spaces.
    • He criticized the time-and-motion studies of Frederick Winslow Taylor (Principles of Scientific Management), arguing work has life value and must be humanized.
    • He inspired Zeigarnik’s research on waiter’s recall.


An individual is a complex energy field, a dynamic system of needs and tensions directing behavior:

  • An individual is a complex energy field, a dynamic system of needs and tensions directing behavior:

  • where behavior (B) is a function f of a person (P) interacting with an environment (E).

  • Each person moves in a life space that contains goals with positive or negative valence.

    • Goals create vectors that attract or repel.
  • He used non-quantitative geometry to represent this





Lewin criticized statistical approaches to child behavior and conceptions of “the average child.”

  • Lewin criticized statistical approaches to child behavior and conceptions of “the average child.”

    • The totality of a child’s life must be studied and since each life space is different, using intensive case study.
  • An infant’s life space is small and undifferentiated but grows larger and more differentiated with age.

  • Lewin conducted detour studies similar to Kohler but used topology to explain the results.

  • “Environmental Forces in Child Behavior & Development.”







Lewin left Germany because of Hitler & anti-semitism at the Univ. of Berlin.

  • Lewin left Germany because of Hitler & anti-semitism at the Univ. of Berlin.

    • Ogden (Kulpe’s student) got him a 2-yr job at Cornell in home economics studying eating habits of children.
  • Lewin tried for an appointment at Hebrew Univ. studying displacement of Jews but Freud opposed it

  • He was appointed at the Univ. of Iowa’s Children Welfare Research Station under a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation.



People reach for the pie at the back of the counter.

  • People reach for the pie at the back of the counter.

    • The amount of effort expended strengthens the valence of a goal – goals become more attractive with effort.
  • Under conditions of frustration, children’s behavior becomes dedifferentiated (regresses to an early stage).

  • Authoritarian vs democratic leadership styles have a strong influence on children’s behavior.

    • Authoritarian styles lead to more child aggression.


In this too, he stressed democracy over autocracy.

  • In this too, he stressed democracy over autocracy.

  • Lewin used “action research” – reflective team problem solving -- to diagnose productivity problems in Harwood Manufacturing.

    • Workers felt productivity goals were unachievable.
    • When allowed to set their own goals and solve their own productivity problems, in improved considerably.
  • Lewin used this approach in his own lab, stating that he could not think productively as an individual.



With Margaret Mead, he showed that group discussions led to more behavior change (eating visceral meats) than facts her in dynamic lectures.

  • With Margaret Mead, he showed that group discussions led to more behavior change (eating visceral meats) than facts her in dynamic lectures.

    • He also worked on propaganda, leadership, military morale, and rehabilitation issues.
    • William Wyler’s “The Best Years of Our Lives”
    • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tU0d3DVcKoY&NR=1
  • To better carry out his activities he founded the Research Center for Group Dynamics at MIT.



Ways to increase group productivity and counter the tendency of groups to stray from their goals.

  • Ways to increase group productivity and counter the tendency of groups to stray from their goals.

  • Studies of communication and the spread of rumors.

  • Areas of social perception and interpersonal relations, group membership and individual adjustment.

  • Studies in leadership training, leading to the formation of T groups (training groups) designed to open communication and combat prejudice.



Founded the Commission on Community Interrelations (CCI) for the American Jewish Congress to conduct studies of discrimination.

  • Founded the Commission on Community Interrelations (CCI) for the American Jewish Congress to conduct studies of discrimination.

    • Interviews with customers of black or white clerks showed no effect of race on sales.
    • This finding was publicized to combat job discrimination
  • Interviews with people in integrated vs segregated housing projects showed greater pride & community, less suspicion & hostility in the integrated projects.

    • Most positive results were for 70% black occupancy.


Lewin had found that you can change attitudes by changing behavior, so he encouraged the AJC to challenge the college admissions quota system.

  • Lewin had found that you can change attitudes by changing behavior, so he encouraged the AJC to challenge the college admissions quota system.

  • A study of Ways of Handling a Bigot found that in playlets enacting bigotry, 80% of the audience wanted to see the bigot challenged, but calmly.

  • Lewin died in 1947 of a heart attack, but his work continued at his institutes.

    • Those more interested in applied research split off and moved to the University of Michigan.



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