GESTALT PSYCHOLOGY is a school of psychological thought that emphasizes the significance of the total situation or pattern in relation to any element of behavior which is part of it. The German word Gestalt is generally translated as configuration, but sometimes as "form," "pattern," or "figure." Gestalt psychologists hold that all experience consists of unanalyzable, organized wholes, or Gestalten, which possess their own structure and cannot be broken down into sensations, reflexes, or feelings in the traditional manner of psychology without disturbing the natural interrelationships.
Gestalt psychology was founded by the German psychologists Max Wertheimer, KURT KOFFKA, and WOLFGANG KOHLER in 1912 and has had considerable influence on modern psychology in general. It began as a. reaction against the stress in psychology on mental elements. It undertook to demonstrate that a total stimulating situation is not only greater than the sum of its parts, but that the complete pattern is formed first and determines the nature of its parts. A melody pattern, for example, seems to be more than its separate notes, depending as it does upon a relationship between the notes. Moreover, this relationship appears to be of prime importance because the same notes in another relationship do not give the same melody.