Czech-born psychologist named Max Worthier was seized by an idea when he saw flashing lights at a railroad crossing that resembled lights encircling a theater marquee. He got off the train in Frankfurt am Main, where he bought a motion picture toy called a “strophe” (Fig. 1). When a strip of pictures is placed inside and viewed through the slits in a strophe, a succession of stationary pictures appear to be a single, moving picture. In his hotel room, Worthier made his own picture strips, consisting not of identifiable objects, but of simple abstract lines, ranging from vertical to horizontal.
By varying these elements, he was able to investigate the conditions that contribute to the illusion of motion pictures, an effect that is technically known as “apparent movement” . Years earlier, Worthier had studied in Prague with an Austrian philosopher named Christian von Rentals, who had published a paper in 1890 entitled “On Gestalt Qualities” in which he pointed out that a melody is still recognizable when played in different keys, even though none of the notes are the same, and that abstract form attributes such as “queerness”or “angularity”can be conveyed by a wide range
Fig. 1. Engraving of a strophe, a motion picture toy invented in England before 1850 by W. G. Hornier. This is the toy that Worthier bought when he left the train at Frankfurt am Main in 1910. H FRR- of specific elements. Clearly, archaeologically geed Rentals, if a melody and Boy wakefulness the notes that comprise it are so trencherman psycholinguistic, then a whole is not Kurt gist,Masterpiece, the sum of its but simply parts, Kafka manhandling Keller. Synergistic “whole effect,” or coauthored distastefully .
Likewise, Worthier stationery’s influence modern redesign,decoupled, the effect of apparent characteristically to movement is generated not so theories Japanese-inspired much by its individual elements as of aesthetics andfindseviiflimdenceof a mutual, by their dynamic interrelation. Between in Worthier remained tied,interest psychotherapist’s Frankfurt for more than 5 years. Certain artists. He continued his research of apparent movement at the Psychological Institute, where he used a sophisticated projector called a “theosophical” that enabled him to flash shapes on the screen successively for precise increments of time.
He recruited as subjects two younger psychologists, Kurt Kafka and Wolfgang Koehler. After gathering data for more than a year, he shared the results with his colleagues, then published his findings in 1912 in a paper titled “Experimental Studies of the Perception of Movement” . This was the first important event in the history of gestalt psychology, a movement that grew from the subsequent work of its prodigious triumvirate:worthier, Kafka and Koehler.
The three founding gestalt psychologists were separated by World War l, then reunited in 1920, when Koehler became Director of the Psychological Institute at the University of Berlin, where Worthier was already a faculty member. While maintaining contact with Kafka, who continued to teach near Frankfurt, Worthier and Koehler established a graduate program, located in the abandoned Imperial Palace, and began a research Journal called Psychologist Forcing(Psychological Investigation).
For the most part, the students did not learn by attending lectures but by actually conducting research using fellow students as subjects and by preparing articles for publication. The success of the method is evidenced by the number of teachers and students at the Institute whose names are owe familiar in psychology, including Rudolf Rancher, Kurt Lenin, Wolfgang Metzger, Hans Wallach, Plumb Garnering, Tamari Demo, Karl Dunker, Maria Visitation, Heart Coffeemaker and Kurt Catchalls . Kafka left Europe for the United States in 1924; Worthier in 1933.
By the early sass, the Psychological Institute had begun to erode. When the National Socialists came to power in 1933, among their immediate menacing acts was the dismissal of Jewish university professors, from Roy R. Barrens, (artist, writer, teacher), 2022 X Avenue, ADSTAR, IA 52224-9767, U. S. A. E-mail:
It is said that this method was influenced by Frederica Freebie’s pedagogy of “education through play” (in part because Johannes Teen, who started the foundations course, was a Forbore-trained elementary school teacher), especially the celebrated Forbore “gifts” (cited by Frank Lloyd Wright as pivotal in his early education), which were sets of wooden locks, presented in sequence to children between the ages of 2 months and 6 years, that could be rearranged in a variety of configurations . This is also surprisingly similar to gestalt psychologist Dancer’s “functional fixedness” experiments, published in Fig. . World War I American ship camouflage, intended to confuse the aim of German About torpedo gunners (circa 1918). That perceptual grouping tendencies are inborn and 1935, in which subjects were asked to universal is suggested by the cross-cultural effectiveness of camouflage, which reliably improvise solutions to various problems arks by subverting the “laws” that the gestalt psychologists postulated. In high- similarity, using seemingly inappropriate interior blending, camouflage, objects and their surroundings are so similar as to be nearly IANAL.
In one, for example, the subject was distinguishable. In high-difference, or dazzle, camouflage, as in this example, the continuation a table with a variety of common itty of a shape is interrupted by a surface design of unrelated, contrasting elements. (Photo items on it, including a cord, nail and National Archives Record Service) courtesy weight scattered among them, and asked to construct a pendulum. Most Nobel Prize scientists to graduate oasis- of lectures about gestalt theory by Count solved the problem by using the weight Tanta.
Rumored as being in sympathy Girlfriend von Directed, a visiting psych- as a hammer to pound the nail into the with “the Jew Worthier,” Koehler pub- ecologist from the University of Leipzig, wall, tying the cord to the weight and licitly condemned anti-Semitism and pro- in the winter of 1930-1931 . Suspending the improvised pendulum Labelers curiosity about gestalt theory from the nail. But that solution accosted the dismissals in a Berlin newspaper article, the last such article allowed may be significant because he is now cured less readily to other subjects if, under the Nazis.
To his surprise, he was commonly credited with a resurgence of during instructions, the weight was identities in “simultaneous contrast,” scribed as a “pendulum weight” and llano arrested, but the intimidation mounted, and in 1935, he too emigrated which von Derricked discussed in his ready tied to the cord. In such instances, lectures. Recognized and used by artists to the United States . None of the gestalt psychologists were for centuries, the effect was described artists, much less designers, but early on scientifically in 1839 by a French chem.- Fig. . Ryan Macadam, trademark for a hither were signs of a mutual interest be- 1st, Michel-Eugene Chevrolet, who Essen- epithetical restaurant called Dada Cafe The gestalt psychologists described teen the two disciplines. In 1927, for tidally found that a color may appear to (1996). The effects of compartmentalizing, the innate change, often dramatically,when moved tendency to constellate or to see as belongingness, gestalt psychologist Rudolf from one background to another. A Rancher visited the Odessa Bauhaus, ins together elements that look alike.
Nathan published an article in Die swatch of red, for example, may exhibit dictating that tendency, the designer of this logo has set up deliberate visual Woolgathering’s the honesty and Clara- one intensity on a green background, another As result this rhymes by the recurrent use of circular Soon after, orange. itty building design . Shapes, s-shaped scallops and several thickener is answer Lenin commissioned Phenomenon, easy gestalt nesses of line. The question “What is the true parterre Barrens (teacher of Bauhaus founder Walter Groping) to design his once of a color?