rss_2.0Gestalt Theory FeedSciendo RSS Feed for Gestalt Theory Theory Feed of the 22nd Scientific Conference of the Society for Gestalt Theory and its Applications in Trieste (2022) road to Necker cube perception<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>The study of cases of illusory or unstable perception of some visual stimuli allows exploration of the psychology of perception of the surrounding world. The wired construction known as “Necker cube” is one such stimulus: it can be perceived as a cube whose front face is seen higher than the back face or vice versa. The switch can occur intentionally or spontaneously. The investigations were focused on switching parameters, relation of the switching to eye position, pre-history, and environment. Here we define that the kernel of the problem is recognizing the 2D drawing as a 3D Necker cube. To this end, we have expanded Gestalt's psychology methods that allow us to recognize 2D figures in drawings for recognizing 3D figure in a flat drawing (including the Necker cube). The presented algorithm for recognizing the cube based on the imitation principle allowed the development of the model of switching between two possible perceptions of the Necker cube. The paper shows that the predictions are in conformity with previously available experimental data. The results confirm the imitation principle of perception, and suggest expanding our research on perception to a wider class of 3D figures, opening a window into the internal processes of perception.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Benussi, the Gustav Mahler of Psychology<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Summary</title> <p>The paper celebrates the person and work of Vittorio Benussi, a forgotten genius of psychology. In particular, it addresses the two most important scientific projects that Benussi developed during his time in Graz and Padua, respectively: the psychology of perception and the psychology of emotions and the unconscious. It highlights the originality and topicality of Benussi’s work and emphasizes its proximity to the latest trends in these research fields.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue for Gerhard Stemberger on the Occasion of the Award of the Honorary Membership of the GTA Experimental Phenomenology of Perception. A Collective Reflection on the Present and Future of this Approach<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Summary</title> <p>The paper presents the result of a collective reflection inspired by the individual suggestions of 30 researchers working in different research areas. They are all familiar with the Experimental Phenomenology of Perception, and are aware of the importance that this approach might represent nowadays in their specific research field. The picture that emerges from this ‘mosaic’ stimulates us to consider the potential future developments of this approach if we accept that we need to push its borders beyond the traditional aims of the study of perception (as masterfully developed by the historic Italian Maestri of this approach). If we take this broader view, the Experimental Phenomenology of Perception can extend its perimeters from an analysis of strictly perceptual aspects to an analysis of cognitive and metacognitive aspects (such as aesthetic evaluations, the perception of risk, the experience of certainty/uncertainty in a reasoning process, the perception of proximity to/distance from the solution to a problem and meaning-making in language). The cognitive and metacognitive aspects referred to are grounded in and modelled on the perceiver’s experience of a given situation.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Perceiving Abs nces<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>Can we really perceive absences, i.e., missing things? Sartre tells us that when he arrived late for his appointment at the café, he saw the absence of his friend Pierre. Is that really what he saw? Where was it, exactly? Why didn’t Sartre see the absence of other people who were not there? Why did other people who were there not see the absence of Pierre? The perception of absences gives rise to a host of conundrums and is constantly on the verge of conceptual confusion. Here I focus on the need to be clear about four sorts of distinctions: (i) the difference between perceiving an absence and perceiving something that is absent; (ii) the difference between perceiving an absence and an absence of perceiving; (iii) the difference between perceiving an absence and perceiving something as an absence; and (iv) the difference between perceiving an absence and perceiving that something is absent.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue on Reality: Metzger and the Rejection of the “Eleatic Postulate”<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>In 1940, Wolfgang Metzger began a profound reflection on the meaning of the phenomenological approach to Gestalt psychology, which had its starting point in the rejection of what he called the “Eleatic” or “Eleatic–Rationalistic Postulate,” that is, the notion that, in his opinion, had dominated Western scientific and philosophical thought of the past centuries, according to which any assertion about the state of things that could lead to self-contradictory conclusions had to be considered unfounded. On the basis of this rejection and with exclusive reference to access to experiential data, Metzger proposed to distinguish five meanings of reality: (1) the physical or experiential world; (2) the intuitive or experienced world; (3) the experienced world (met, Angetroffen) in contrast to the represented world; (4) the something or fullness in contrast to emptiness or nothingness; (5) the real in contrast to the apparent. For Metzger (1950), this concept, although primarily related to perception, has far-reaching implications for our conception of others and of society. We question here the validity of Metzger’s concept, its explanatory significance, and its relation to other phenomenological concepts, such as that of Merleau-Ponty.</p></abstract>ARTICLEtrue Theory and Socioeconomic Analyses<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Summary</title> <p>The analysis of social and economic phenomena has a long Gestalt-theoretical tradition but is currently seen rather as a niche subject. In this article, recent important approaches are presented that explicitly or implicitly refer to Gestalt-theoretical considerations. The particular relevance of narratives is pointed out. In addition, further analytical challenges are discussed.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Theory and the Network of Traditional Hypotheses<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Summary</title> <p>Since at least the time of Helmholtz, the process of visual perception has been regarded as a two-stage affair consisting of an initial sensory stage corresponding to the proximal stimulus and a subsequent cognitive stage corresponding to the distal object. This construction amounts to an awkward mind body dualism wherein part of perception is done by the body and the other part is done by the mind. Gestalt theory rejected both raw sensations and their cognitive interpretation, offering a single unified perceptual process that responds to an extended pattern of stimulation. They proposed organizational rules that describe how objects arise from the indifferent retinal mosaic. The same grouping principles by which objects are segmented also function to segregate regions of uniform illumination. Lightness values can then be computed by comparing luminance values within each such framework of illumination, with no need for the mystical concept of taking the illumination into account.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Contrast Spatially Propagates on Perceptually Unified Elements<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>In 1993, Agostini and Proffitt showed that perceptual belongingness (the subsumption of some sets of elements into a perceived whole) causes simultaneous lightness contrast to be seen in configurations in which the inducing elements are not adjacent to the target. The aim of the present research was to measure the strength of belongingness in determining the contrast phenomenon when the numbers of the inducing and induced elements and their relative positions are manipulated in Agostini-and-Proffitt-type configurations. In the first experiment, by using a forced choice paradigm, naïve observers indicated which gray disks arranged to form the letter T in two rows (organized with black/white inducers) appeared lighter/darker. In the second experiment, expert observers performed two nulling tasks: 1) the lightness of gray disk(s) was adjusted until it was perceived equal to that of gray target(s) aligned with white/black inducers; 2) the lightness of target(s) organized with white/black inducers was adjusted to match the target(s) organized with black/ white inducers. We found that also when there are few inducers, perceptual belongingness causes the contrast effect to propagate spatially on all the induced elements. Spatial position does not influence the induction effect. Low-level theories cannot account for these phenomena, but higher-level processes must be factored in to explain them.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Computational Model of Human Colour Vision for Film Restoration<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>Even today, film restoration (both photographic and cinematographic) is a challenge, because it involves multidisciplinary competences: from analogue film inspection and conservation to digitisation and image enhancement. In this context, thanks to the high manageability of digital files, the film restoration workflow often follows a digitisation step, which presents many approximations and issues that are often ignored. In this work, we propose an alternative approach to the issues commonly encountered in film restoration (mainly concerning colour and contrast restoration) aiming at restoring the original colour appearance, through models of human colour perception.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Ambiguous Expression by Leonardo da Vinci<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>The Mona Lisa (1503–6) is probably the most celebrated example of ambiguous expression in art. Soranzo and Newberry (2015) demonstrated that a similar ambiguity can be perceived also in La Bella Principessa (1495–6), another portrait credited to Leonardo da Vinci (1452–1519) by many. The paper aims to show that an ambiguous expression can be perceived in a further painting attributed (although not unanimously) to Leonardo: The Lady with Dishevelled Hair, or La Scapigliata. An experiment was conducted whereby participants rated on a 7-point Likert scale the perceived level of contentment of La Scapigliata and that of a comparable painting created by Andrea di Cione, alias Il Verrocchio. The two artworks were presented in random order to two groups of participants. One group could see the artworks from Close (0.6m) whilst the other group from Far (6m) from a Close (0.6 m) or Far (6 m) condition. Results show that the change of distance affected the perceived level of contentment of Leonardo’s figure but not that of Verrocchio’s. Specifically, whilst both artworks received similar ratings of contentment from the close-up condition, La Scapigliata was perceived to be more content from afar. It is concluded that La Scapigliata exhibits an ambiguous expression, and that this ambiguity is similar to the one observed in the Mona Lisa and La Bella Principessa. This result can be only partially interpreted within the spatial frequency hypothesis advanced by Livingstone (2000) and shows that a phenomenological account of Leonardo’s work might be more suited to capture the full extent of the phenomenon. Specifically, it is suggested that the principles of perceptual belongingness (Wertheimer, 1923) may need to be considered to fully capture the extent of the ambiguity depicted by Leonardo.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Combined Effect of Motion and Lightness Contrast on Anomalous Transparency<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Summary</title> <p>We report an effect of anomalous transparency that is similar to other phantom effects. In an experiment aimed at testing the combined role of (i) motion of the occluding surface and (ii) lightness contrast and polarity on the perception of anomalous transparency, we found that transparency is perceived only with low contrast, and enhanced when the occluding surface is moving. A tentative explanation is suggested, based on simultaneous lightness contrast as a segregation factor and on motion as an integration factor, and discussed in light of previous studies conducted in the theoretical framework of Gestalt theories in perception.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Interactions between Sounds and Colour Afterimages: Revisiting Werner and Zietz’s Approach<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>We ran a pilot experiment to explore, using a new psychophysical method, the hypothesis proposed by Zietz and Werner in the ’30s, that a sound presented simultaneously with an afterimage can change its phenomenal appearance in non-synaesthetes. The method we adopted is able to directly collect and visualise the apparent changes in intensity of the afterimages, by recording observers’ interactions with a physical feedback mechanism (the paths that the observers generated by moving a cursor), without referring to verbal descriptions. These first findings support some of the most meaningful observations reported by Werner (1934) and Zietz (1931), according to which the colours of the afterimages ‘disintegrate’ at the hearing of a low sound and ‘concentrate’ for a high sound. This relationship is particularly evident with the Yellow stimulus, where the perceived colour intensity of its afterimage seems to have a faster negative change with a low-pitched tone sound, and an increase in intensity and duration when perceived simultaneously with a soprano sound. These data are also coherent with the crossmodal correspondences between both pitch and loudness in audition and lightness and brightness in vision reported in the literature.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue and Scale in Medieval Painting Reflects Imagination and Perception<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>Prior to the discovery of linear perspective in the fifteenth century, European artists based their compositions more on imagination than the direct observation of nature. Medieval paintings, therefore, can be thought of as ‘mental projections’ of space rather than optical projections, and were sometimes regarded as ‘primitive’ by historians as they lacked the spatial consistency of later works based on the rules of linear perspective.</p> <p>There are noticeable differences in the way objects are depicted in paintings of the different periods. For example, human figures in pre-linear perspective works often vary greatly in size in ways that are not consistent with the laws of optics. Some art historians have attributed this to ‘hierarchical scaling’ in which larger figures have greater narrative significance. But there are examples of paintings that contradict this explanation.</p> <p>In this paper we will consider an alternative to the hierarchical scaling hypothesis: that medieval artists used relative size to elicit empathy and to reflect the perceptual structure of imagination. This hypothesis was first proposed by the art historian Oskar Wulff, but has largely been dismissed since. We argue that artists of this period, far from being naïve, used sophisticated techniques for directing the attention of the viewer to a particular figure in a painting and encouraging them to ‘see’ the depicted space from that figure’s point of view. We offer some experimental evidence in support of this hypothesis and suggest that the way artists have depicted space in paintings has an important bearing on how we imagine and perceive visual space.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Completion of Color<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Summary</title> <p>Amodal completion involves the impression of existence and properties of visually occluded parts of objects. One aspect of this phenomenon that has been somewhat neglected is the amodal completion of color, which involves the impression that amodally completed surfaces have a particular color. In this paper, this aspect is investigated by constructing a large number of displays with identical target figures embedded in systematically varying contexts, to find out which contexts are conducive for amodal completion of color and which are not. In this setup, the main effects of changes of contexts are changes of geometric and photometric features of junctions along the borders of the target regions, which can cause dramatic differences in the appearance of those regions. Generally, a certain arrangement of T-junctions supports the impression of amodal completion of color, and it can be argued that certain types of X-junctions support a variant of this effect as well.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Color and Space in Perception and Art Space of Colour and the Colour of Space<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Summary</title> <p>In the visual arts, the constructions of the spatial and chromatic structures of pictures can hardly be separated from each other. The phenomenological approach from the perspective of the arts provides an independent and worthwhile approach to the topic of colour and space. We address some matters of composition in design and, to some extent, in naturalistic painting. The phenomenological approach from the perspective of the arts reveals various topics that invite further investigation by the means of generic vision science. However, although such studies might lead to increased academic insight, a thorough inquiry by the means of experimental phenomenology might well lead to formal descriptions that come somewhat closer to possible applications in the visual arts.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Metzger: Schöpferische Freiheit. Gestalttheorie des Lebendigen. Herausgegeben von Marianne Soff und Gerhard Stemberger, mit einem Geleitwort von Jürgen Kriz. Wien: Verlag Krammer 2022, dritte Auflage. ISBN-13: 978 3 901811 80 7, Pattern, Space and Time in Art Perception: Two Case Studies<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Summary</title> <p>Colour and space are pervasive topics in both perception and art. This article investigates the role of colour and pattern in relation to space and time in the art works by two artists: Frank Stella, a well-known Post-War American abstract painter, and Pieter Vermeersch, an emerging Belgian abstract painter, representing a contemporary trend to break the barriers between artistic disciplines. While Stella adheres to the Modernist logic of non-illusionistic, non-spatial, non-referential art as object, perceived instantaneously, Vermeersch explores ways to enhance the viewers’ spatial and temporal experiences through complex art installations with multiple objects and architectural elements interacting with each other and with the spaces in which they are embedded. We discuss these major themes in some representative art works, and in the way they are perceived and appreciated by contemporary viewers, investigated in four empirical studies: two laboratory experiments using well-controlled stimuli derived from at works, and two museum studies employing a variety of methods, including mobile eye-tracking and questionnaires.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue