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Why and how is the Gestalt theorists’ concept of productive thinking particularly suitable for being applied to the educational question of how student motivation can be encouraged, thus providing an important condition for self-regulated, intrinsically motivated learning?

An answer to this question has been sought using an approach to the fostering of text comprehension ability, based upon the features specific to productive thinking, originally identified by and .

Firstly, these specific features are dealt with and their educational implications compared with those deriving from the definitions of problem-solving used most frequently in educational research. Secondly, an analysis is made of the process by which the features specific to productive thinking are turned into the conditions for a kind of text analysis suitable for designing an instructional project aimed at enhancing text comprehension ability and, at the same time, encouraging intrinsic motivation and self-regulation on the part of the learner. Thirdly, an educational project centred on the thinking-aloud poor reader is described, where thinking aloud and reflection–response are combined in order to guarantee the maximum level of intrinsic motivation. In the concluding section, the most important features of the project are discussed in relation to reciprocal teaching and scaffolding.



This article questions certain assumptions concerning film form made by the recent (neuro)psychological film research and compares them to those of precursors of film psychology like Hugo Münsterberg and Rudolf Arnheim, as well as the principles of Gestalt psychology. It is argued that principles of Gestalt psychology such as those of ‘good form’ and good continuation are still underlying the psychological research of film, becoming particularly apparent in its approach to continuity editing. Following an alternative Gestalt genealogy that links Gestalt theory with more recent dynamic models of brain activity and with accounts of brain complexity and neuronal synchronisation, the article concludes that psychological research on film needs to shift the focus from form to transformation, both in conceiving the perceptual and cognitive processing of films and in approaching film aesthetics more broadly.


Prägnanz was suggested by Max Wertheimer in the 1920s as subsuming all “Laws of Gestalt” as they apply to visual awareness. Thus, it assumes a prominent position in any account of Gestalt phenomena. From a phenomenological perspective, some visual stimuli evidently “have more Prägnanz” than others, so Prägnanz seems to be an intensive quality. Here, we investigate the intricacies that need to be faced on the way to a definition of formal scales. Such measures naturally depend both upon the stimulus and upon the observer. Structural complexity bottlenecks of visual systems play a role, as well as the relevance to biological fitness, that is the affinity to the optical user interface. This positions the notion of Prägnanz squarely within the realm of biology. Indeed, the familiar “releasers” of ethology are singular cases of extremely high Prägnanz.