Lothar Spillmann

Lothar Spillmann, was for many years Professor in the Brain Research Unit at the University of Freiburg, is Visiting Professor at the Herder Foundation, Bonn, and the China Medical University, Taichung, Taiwan. He edited Wolfgang Metzger's Laws of Seeing (MIT Press, 2005), another classic work from the Gestalt movement.

  • On Perceived Motion and Figural Organization

    On Perceived Motion and Figural Organization

    Max Wertheimer and Lothar Spillmann

    Two seminal articles by a founder of the Gestalt school of psychology, newly translated and accompanied by essays that connect his work to current research.

    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.

    • Hardcover $45.00 £38.00


  • Laws of Seeing

    Laws of Seeing

    Wolfgang Metzger

    The first English translation of a classic work in vision science from 1936 by a leading figure in the Gestalt movement, covering topics that continue to be major issues in vision research today.

    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.

    • Hardcover $48.00 £40.00
    • Paperback $35.00 £28.00