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Hellmuth Metz-Göckel

Abstract

The Society for Gestalt Theory and its Applications (GTA) is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. The task of this article was to give a selection of gestalt theoretical research, which was created within the framework of the GTA. After a brief introduction to the theory, recent developments that have emerged since the founding of the Society and have found expression in the journal Gestalt Theory, as well as in many other publications, have been discussed. A number of contributions to the fundamental area could be cited: consciousness research, multifield approach, synergetics, language, development, and so on. The transfer of basic knowledge to a number of application-oriented disciplines, namely, psychotherapy, education, arts, culture, nation and society, organizations, and so on, has been presented. The article has shown that Gestalt theory has great relevance in both basic and application-related areas and can cover a wide range of issues.

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Hans-Jürgen P. Walter

Abstract

The author exemplifies the congruency of essential foundations between the critical realism of the Berlin School of Gestalt Psychology (Gestalt theory) and Nicolai Hartmann`s Critical Ontology. For instance, this congruency manifests in the importance given to critical-realistic epistemology - purified from idealistic prejudices, not least prejudices such as production-theoretical ones - connected with an unconditional phenomenology. Altogether, it results in a shared critical distance from scholars of Brentano, such as Husserl and Meinong, as well as from Neo-Kantianism.

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Michael W. Busch

Abstract

The international research on teams, which is inspired by the input-process-output model, is mostly empirical. Researchers in this field look for causal explanations between independent (e.g., team size and team composition) and dependent (e.g., team performance) variables. Recently, some critics have pointed to the deficits in this model. Especially, the temporal, contextual, and dynamic aspects of teams need to be investigated further (multilevel approach). Emergent states, such as team cognitions, team emotions, and team hierarchies, comprise a promising field of study that leads to a more comprehensive and holistic understanding of teams. These emergent states offer an opportunity to reconcile former concepts (Lewin’s gestalt, Koestler’s holarchy, and Cattell’s syntality) with topical team research. Therefore, the future of research on teams may partly lie in its past.

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Gisela Kubon-Gilke

Abstract

The current theory of social policy is characterized by considerable inconsistencies and analytical gaps. Disciplinary one-sidedness goes together with nontransparent and partially incompatible epistemological considerations. In this paper, it is shown that the Gestalt theory can be a sound starting point for the theory of social policy. Gestalt theory provides a groundwork for the selection of behavioral assumptions, the understanding of self-organization processes and the formulation of basic normative questions.

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Irene Candelieri

Abstract

Since the 1970s, new therapeutic practices, involving the interaction between humans and dolphins - Tursiops truncatus in particular, have developed. Such practices are known as dolphin-assisted therapies (DAT), a specific case of a more heterogeneous set of experiences with dolphins called dolphin-assisted activities (DAA): these include programmes of dolphin watching and swimming in high seas, as well as shows in dolphinariums and marine parks. DAT has grown rapidly as a highly attractive form of therapy, due to the well-liked animals used in an aquatic, and often exotic, environment. This kind of co-therapy seems to testify the enchantement that dolphins - in myths and chronicles often reported in rescue at sea, perceived as especially charismatic - exert on people; the human attempt of bonding with them, possibly in response to the need of building a human-animal bodily intersubjectivity.

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Silvia Bonacchi and Fiorenza Toccafondi

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Über die Fähigkeit, an zwei Orten gleichzeitig zu sein Ein Mehr-Felder-Ansatz zum Verständnis menschlichen Erlebens

Mit Diskussionsbeiträgen von Michael B. Buchholz, Jürgen Kriz, Rainer Kästl

Gerhard Stemberger

Summary

In 1915 the Danish psychologist Edgar Rubin describes in his famous work on figure-ground perception, the phenomenon that when you look attentively at a picture, a second, virtual ego arises, breaking away from the viewer-ego to wander around in the picture along the contours of the depicted. In 1982, German Gestalt psychologist Edwin Rausch expanded this observation of the emergence of a second phenomenal ego to the conclusion that not only does a second phenomenal ego emerge, but with it a second phenomenal total field, ie a second phenomenal world with its own phenomenal ego and an own phenomenal environment of this ego.

Several years ago, I proposed a multi-field-approach in psychotherapy building on this research. This approach involves three levels:

First, the level of phenomenological observation and psychological analysis of the conditions that determine the formation of such a second total field (and even further total fields), regardless of whether this occurs spontaneously or intentionally or as a result of external influences.

Second, the level of explanation of various psychic processes, which in the field of psychotherapy have been explained so far mainly on the basis of depth psychology, and the conceptualization of the therapeutic situation and therapeutic processes from a Gestalt psychological perspective.

Third, finally, the level of practical application of such insights on the development of appropriate procedures and interventions that can promote or defer the emergence of such second or multiple fields in psychotherapy.

The present article introduces the multi-field approach, especially at the first level, and refers to research and discussion on mind wandering, imagining, daydreaming and dissociation.

Open access

Lucia Lumbelli

Summary

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 Wertheimer (1945) and Duncker (1935).

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.