4.7 Gestalt Laws

Gestalt Laws and Insight :- Insight is completely implicit in gestalt, and its criterion lies in the manifestation of the full solution to a particular problem in the contest of the total organisation of the field.
Kohler’s Experiments :- In order to establish the existence of insight, Kohler conducted a number of experiments on a chimpanzee named Sultan. Although he conducted a number of other experiments on dogs, hens and other creatures, his experiments with Sultan were the most noteworthy.

Kohler divided his experiments into four steps.

(1) Sultan was placed in a cage. A stick was placed in the cage and a banana just outside the cage, but outside Sultan direct reach. Sultan made many attempts to obtain the banana but it failed. It sat down in despair. But, after some time, it suddenly got up, lifted the stick and used it to draw the banana towards it self.
(2) In the second stage, Kohler placed inside the cage two sticks which could joined to each other. This time the banana was so placed that it could not be drawn by the chimpanzee towards itself with a single stick. After numerous attempts, Sultan joined the two sticks together and succeeded in obtaining the banana.
(3) In the third step, Kohler hung the banana from the roof of the cage at such a height as to ensure that Sultan could not reach it even by jumping upwards. A box was also placed inside the cage. After many attempts, Sultan climbed up on the box and obtained the bananas.
(4) In the final step, Kohler placed two boxes at one place in the cage the banana was placed at an even high level. At first, Sultan kept on trying to reach the banana by standing up on one box, but after numerous failures, it placed on box upon the other and claiming quit obtained the banana.

Kohler’s experiments clearly proved that before insight comes into existence or evolves in the creator, the relationship between all elements in a problem is clearly observed. Only then can the creature reorganises or rearrange these elements and discover a solution. Of course, in the case of animals, it was found that insight was preceded by ‘trial and error’. But even in animals, transfer to experience was found because the knowledge obtained by solving one problem was applied to solving other problems.

Factors Influencing Insight :- Many experiments have thrown light upon and established the various factor which influence insight. These factors are elaborated in the following paragraphs:
1. Intelligence - Insight is directly related to the creature’s level on intelligence. Man being more intelligent than a chimpanzee, displays a higher degree of insight than the chimpanzee.
2. Experience - Experiences prove of great value and assistance is solving any problem. Experience individual invariably make full use of their insight in solving any new problem which confronts them. Experiences are easily transferred from the situation in which they are acquired to a novel situation. Besides, they make invaluable contribution to the development of insight.
3. Perception of a Problem - Insight is neither possible, nor can it become operative, till the whole of a problem is fully perceived. The structure of the problem also has an influence upon insight.
4. Trial and Error - Some psychologists are of the view that the trial and error lies hidden in the root of insight, but it is a generally known fact that whatever an activity may be, attempts or efforts or trial always lie at its root.


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DSSSB, CTET & KVS Exam Preparation | Clear CTET: Gestalt Laws
Gestalt Laws
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