Gestalt psychology emerged in Germany as a revolt against structuralism. Later the gestalt psychologists criticized the reductionist approach of behaviorists like Watson. This school was founded by Max Wertheimir (1880-1943), and his colleagues Kurt Koffka (1886-1941), and Wolfgang Kohler (1887- 1967).
They disliked the ‘brick and mortar’ psychology of the structuralists. The German word ‘gestalt’ means ‘form’ or ‘configuration’. This school believed that structuralists’ analysis of mind into its component parts was wrong. On the other hand, mind functions as a ‘whole’ as it combines different units into a meaningful whole or pattern. Their slogan was ‘The whole is different from the sum of its parts’.
The gestalt school focused on the study of how perception is organized. If we would analyze our perceptual experience into its component parts, we would miss the uniqueness or wholeness of our experience. Those basic components that are combined to form perception produce something greater and more meaningful than the individual elements alone. Gestalt psychologists provided the laws of perceptual organization and theories on insightful learning and productive thinking.