Skip navigation
Paperback | $27.00 Short | £18.95 | ISBN: 9780262513364 | 232 pp. | 6 x 9 in | 194 illus.| August 2009
 

Essential Info

Laws of Seeing

Overview

This classic work in vision science, written by a leading figure in Germany's Gestalt movement in psychology and first published in 1936, addresses topics that remain of major interest to vision researchers today. Wolfgang Metzger's main argument, drawn from Gestalt theory, is that the objects we perceive in visual experience are not the objects themselves but perceptual effigies of those objects constructed by our brain according to natural rules. Gestalt concepts are currently being increasingly integrated into mainstream neuroscience by researchers proposing network processing beyond the classical receptive field. Metzger's discussion of such topics as ambiguous figures, hidden forms, camouflage, shadows and depth, and three-dimensional representations in paintings will interest anyone working in the field of vision and perception, including psychologists, biologists, neurophysiologists, and researchers in computational vision—and artists, designers, and philosophers.

Each chapter is accompanied by compelling visual demonstrations of the phenomena described; the book includes 194 illustrations, drawn from visual science, art, and everyday experience, that invite readers to verify Metzger's observations for themselves. Today's researchers may find themselves pondering the intriguing question of what effect Metzger's theories might have had on vision research if Laws of Seeing and its treasure trove of perceptual observations had been available to the English-speaking world at the time of its writing.

About the Author

Wolfgang Metzger (1899-1979) was a central figure in the Gestalt movement within psychology in Germany. He was Director of the Psychological Institute at the University of M√ľnster.

Reviews

"An excellent book, with a wealth of inspiring demonstrations and insights. The translators must be thanked for making it available to the English-speaking world.", Perception, Arni Kristj

Endorsements

"This is a classic work in the Gestalt tradition of visual perception, and many of the issues Metzger touched upon continue to be major themes in current research. The translation is very well done."
Pawan Sinha, Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, MIT

"Laws of Seeing will inspire both beginning students and serious researchers in psychophysics, neurophysiology, and computational modeling in their search for a better understanding of why we see the way we do. The text is illustrated by numerous figures demonstrating to the reader how Gestalt factors work in the laboratory and in nature. This masterpiece should be read not as history, but as a beacon for future research."
John S. Werner, Section of Neurobiology, Physiology & Behavior, University of California, Davis