A psychological school of thought which considers the human mind and behavior as a whole different from the sum of their parts. A whole canon of related organizing principles are throught to govern one’s perception, among other things. The word Gestalt refers to a “unified or meaningful whole” in German.
Example: A popular illusion can be viewed two ways: as two symmetrical faces looking at each other, or as the vaselike shape made from the space between the faces. Nothing about the image changes, just our perception of it.
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Jan 2009