It all started with Max Wertheimer who, while studying on the Psycological insitute of Frankfurt, went and bought a toy stroboscope in a train station. He became interested in how we perceive motion. The toy stroboscope was a rotating drum through which you could see still images that appeared to be moving. Wertheimer asked himself “If we don’t see what is, then what is it that we see?”. In Frankfurt, Max had two assistants: Wolfgang Köhler and Kurt Koffka.

Wertheimer, Köhler och Koffka are seen as the founders of the Gestalt psychology.

Gestalt psychology is the teaching of perception. These “laws” were created about 100 years ago, here are some examples:

The law of Prägnantz

We try to create meaningful wholes with as little energy consumption as possible.

The law of Closure

To create a meaningful whole we tend to add what is missing.

The Law of Closeness

We tend to group similar objects that are closer to each other, instead of the more distant ones.




We tend to see three rows with X (because they are closer) instead of five columns with X.

The law of Closedness

We intend to group objects that close/come together and create a whole. This law can overrule the law of closeness.

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The Law of Similarity

We tend to group similar objects instead of different ones. 






In the example above it is common to see a diagonal line with O.

Read more about Gestalt Psychology on Wikipedia