Laws Of Perception//Principles of Perceptual Organisation// Errors In Perception//Educational Psychology//Tnteu B.Ed


Laws Of Perception

Perception is defined as the process of assigning meaning to information received about the environment based on past experience.

Perceptual laws was developed by German psychologists; the Gestalt laws describe how we interpret the complex world around us. 

  • Few real-life examples of the Gestalt laws are - series of flashing lights appear to be moving, able to read a sentence like this, notli ket his ort hat

According to Gestalt psychology, this apparent movement happens because our minds fill in missing information.

Motion pictures are based on this principle, with a series of still images appearing in rapid succession to form a seamless visual experience.

Gestalt psychology focuses on how our minds organize and interpret visual data. It emphasizes that the whole of anything is greater than its parts.

Based upon this belief, Wertheimer along with Gestalt psychologists Wolfgang Köhler and Kurt Koffka, developed a set of rules to explain how we group smaller objects to form larger ones (perceptual organization). They called these rules the Gestalt Laws.

What is Perceptual Organization?

Perceptual selectivity is concerned with internal and external variables that gave individual’s attention.

Perceptual organization is concerned with process of organizing the inputs into identifiable whole objects. 

A person’s perceptual process organizes the incoming information into meaningful whole.

Principles of Perceptual Organization

1. Figure Ground

Figure-ground perception is the ability to differentiate an object from its background.

Figure–ground organization is a type of perceptual grouping that is a vital necessity for recognizing objects through vision.

In Gestalt psychology it is known as identifying a figure from the background. For example, black words on a printed paper are seen as the "figure", and the white sheet as the "background"

2. Perceptual Grouping

There is a tendency to group several stimuli together into a recognizable pattern. Grouping is done on the basis of Closure, Continuity, proximity or similarity.

Laws Of Perceptual Organization:

      Laws of perceptual organization is based on External and Internal Factors of Perception.

External Factors of Perception

  • Laws of Proximity
  • Laws of Similarity
  • Laws of Continuity
  • Laws of Closure

Internal Factors of Perception

  • Past Experience
  • Attitude or Mind Set

The Law of Proximity:

Stimulus elements which are closer tend to be perceived as one entity. It will be observed that the closer elements in figure below can be perceived as groups forming vertical columns.


The Law of Similarity: 

Similar elements of a stimulus tend to be part of a unit. This similarity may be in grey level, colour, orientation or shape which is perceived as horizontal columns.

The Law of Continuity: 

Stimuli tend to form a group which minimizes a change or discontinuity, which is perceived as two lines with first order continuity.

The Law of Closure: 

Stimulus elements tend to be grouped into a commonly known complete figure. It will be perceived as a circle despite the fact that some part of it is missing.


Law of Contrast:

Contrast effect is an unconscious bias that happens when two things are judged in comparison to one another, instead of being assessed individually.                          

Law Of Past Experience:

The perception of visual elements is affected by someone’s past experiences.

Most would say the image above depicts a house rather than a square, rectangle, and triangle. This is an instance of the brain perceiving a picture based on familiarity rather than seeing random shapes.

Unlike the other gestalt principles, the past experiences principle is highly subjective and based on the individual since people have different experiences.

Attitude or Mental Set:

Another important mental condition that determines our perception is attitude or mental set. A thirsty man sees at a distance a vague figure as a pot of water.

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