On Perceived Motion and Figural Organization

Overview

There are few articles in science that remain relevant over a span of 100 years; Max Wertheimer’s pioneering experimental studies on apparent motion and figural organization are notable exceptions. Wertheimer’s 1912 account of motion perception started a revolution and established the Gestalt school of psychology. It also paved the way for further investigations of apparent motion perception, including subsequent research by Oliver Braddick, Stuart Anstis, Vilaynur Ramachandran, and others. Wertheimer’s 1923 article on figural organization (known as the “dot study” for its numerous examples of dot patterns) helped define grouping as a principle of figure-ground perception. This book provides contemporary readers and researchers with Wertheimer’s two pivotal articles, newly translated into English and each accompanied by a synopsis, and two essays on apparent motion and figural organization that describe the long-term impact of Wertheimer’s work.

The translation of the original German into readable English prose allows English-language readers for the first time to appreciate Wertheimer’s visionary ideas. The accompanying essays tie Wertheimer’s phenomenological descriptions to the underlying neuronal mechanisms, bridging the years between the articles’ first publication and modern research.

Table of Contents

  1. Contents
  2. Prefatory Note
  3. Preface
  4. Experimental Studies on Seeing Motion

    Max Wertheimer (1912), translation by Michael Wertheimer and K. W. Watkins

  5. Synopsis of Max Wertheimer's 1912 Article

    Viktor Sarris

  6. Motion Perception: A Modern View of Wertheimer's 1912 Monograph

    Robert Sekuler

  7. Investigations on Gestalt Principles

    Max Wertheimer (1923), translation by Michael Wertheimer and K. W. Watkins

  8. Synopsis of Max Wertheimer's 1923 Article

    Viktor Sarris

  9. The Current Status of Gestalt Rules in Perceptual Research: Psychophysics and Neurophysiology

    Lothar Spillmann

  10. Epilogue: Max Wertheimer in Frankfurt and Thereafter

    Viktor Sarris

  11. Appendix A: Chronology: Max Wertheimer (1880-1943)
  12. Appendix B: Max Wertheimer's Publications
  13. Appendix C: Max Wertheimer's Courses at the Frankfurt Institute of Psychology: 1912-1916
  14. Appendix D: Max Wertheimer's Courses at the Frankfurt Institute of Psychology: 1929-1933
  15. Appendix E: Max Wertheimer's 1933 Apparatus at the Frankfurt Institute of Psychology
  16. Author Index
  17. Subject Index