Psychology 1000 Lecture Notes - Subjective Constancy
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David Molnar October 25, 2011
Psychology 1000 - Lecture 6 - S, P + C III
4. Perceptual Stability
a. Perceptual Constancy
b. Perceptual Organization
-principle of figure-ground
-principle of contour
- principle of grouping
-symmetry (good figure)
-“principle” of closure
-We have an un-learned capacity, ability and thus tendency to organize incoming
sensations into patterns.
-Those patterns are technically called Gestalts meaning “forms” or “wholes”.
-Figure ground: We have an innate ability to be able to distinguish an object or event by
its background. The object is referred to as figure, background referred to as ground.
-Characteristics: Figure has some shape or boundary quality. The ground tends to be
formless, continuous, behind or underneath a figure.
-Reversible figure-ground: When figure and ground cant be distinguished.
-We are able to distinguish figure from ground because of contour.
-Principle of Contour: Marked change in aspect or aspects of incoming stimulation.
-Principle of Grouping:
-Law of similarity: we tend to group incoming stimuli on the basis of similarity to
-Law of symmetry: we tend to group incoming stimuli in a pleasing or
-Law of continuation: we tend to perceive stimuli continuing as the had started.
-Law of proximity: we tend to perceive more than is actually present.
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