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Describe the social and cultural conditions that led to Gestalt psychology's disappearance. Then analyze the basic...

Describe the social and cultural conditions that led to Gestalt psychology's disappearance. Then analyze the basic assumptions of psychoanalysis and Behaviorism for any traces of Gestalt psychology. What elements of Gestalt psychology do you recognize as existing in the basic premises of psychoanalysis and Behaviorism?

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Answer #1

Gestalt psychology was a leading school of thought in Germany in the 1920s. However, it suffered a major setback with the rise of Nazism in Germany, and the three founders of Gestalt psychology- Wolfgang Kohler, Kurt Koffka and Max Wertheimer and many of their students sought exile in the United States. At that point, the discipline virtually disappeared. Since behaviorism was so prominent in the United States at the time. However, within the United States with the growing paranoia and prejudice about German intellegentsia, the Gestalt theory was pushed aside. US was a hotbed for behaviourist Psychology at the time which discredited abstract mentalist theories like Gestalt psychology.

However Gestalt psychology was a significant theoretical development in psychology. Its traces can be found in psychoanalysis. The use of projective techniques of assessment such as the Rorschach ink-blot test converges with Gestalt psychology. The premise is to look at an ink-blot and interpret what one sees in the shape of otherwise ambiguous ink blot images. It can be seen that the perception of the ink-blot falls into Laws of Gestalten such as figure-ground perception about the more obvious, uniform and visually bold stimuli being consolidated into a figure against the more unbound, discrete background. Moroever, the psychoanalytic theory of Dream interpretation and the therapeutic method of free association are related to perception of discrete associations or dream symbols into uniform meaningful ‘whole’ which reveal about the unity of the unconscious and which certainly have a strong basis in the perception and memory theories of Gestalt psychology.

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