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The Concept of Perceptual ‘Field’ and the Revolution in Cognition Caused by Köhler’s Physische Gestalten

  • Alf C. Zimmer
Chapter
Part of the Synthese Library book series (SYLI, volume 295)

Abstract

The development of cognitive science at the beginning of the 20th century is characterised by several seemingly unrelated paradigms:
  1. (i)

    the formalisation of perceptual and cognitive processes according to the model of Newton’s Principia;

     
  2. (ii)

    the development of theories of reasoning sharing with traditional approaches the distinction between procedures (rules) and content (semantics) but discarding logic as the ‘true’ form underlying human reasoning instead postulating ratiomorph processes; and finally

     
  3. (iii)

    a novel approach to solve the old problem of the relation between sensations and perceptions and the corresponding bottom-up or top-down theories, namely Wolfgang Köhler’s field theoretic approach of 1920 and Kurt Koffka’s (1935) evolutionary account of the development of cognitive and perceptual processes of 1921 where the concept of ‘Prägnanz’ (in English: saliency or singularity, see Kanizsa and Luccio, 1986) describes the phenomenological ‘pull’ of percepts toward Gestalten comparable to the forces in an electromagnetic field.

     

Keywords

Illusory Contour Implicit Position Perceptual Field Gestalt Theory Gestalt Psychologist 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alf C. Zimmer
    • 1
  1. 1.Psychologie IIRegensburg UniversitätRegensburgGermany

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