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What are the general rules of Gestalt relating to human perception?

There are three general rules of perception according to Gestalt theory:

  • Objects will be perceived in their simplest form:

Take the olympic logo as an example. When we look at that logo, we do not perceive it as a blue curved line intertwined by a yellow curved line intertwined by a black curved line, and so on. We perceive it as 5 different coloured rings intertwined with each other.

  • Humans naturally follow lines or curves:

On Indian roads, a broken white line signals that it is allowed to overtake another vehicle. We do not perceive the broken white line as many smaller lines one after the other. We still see and follow it along the road as one line despite the gaps in between.

  • The mind will attempt to fill in detail that isn’t actually there:

In the World Wildlife Fund for Nature logo, the panda’s head and back are technically incomplete as there are no lines finishing the graphic. But our brain uses previous knowledge (and common sense) to fill the unavailable detail.