Perceptual Grouping and Spatial Distortion. A Developmental Study

James T. Enns, Joan S. Girgus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Observers aged 6 to 24 years estimated distances between elements in patterns illustrating the Gestalt grouping principles of proximity, similarity, closure, and good continuation. Observers of all ages consistently judged distances between elements in the same perceptual group as smaller than physically identical distances between elements in different perceptual groups, which indicated that all observers were sensitive to the structure of the Gestalt patterns. The magnitude of these distance distortions decreased significantly with age, which suggests that perceptual development includes improvements in the ability to disregard Gestalt groupings when the task requires selective attention to certain elements.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)241-246
Number of pages6
JournalDevelopmental Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1985

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Demography
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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