Principles of perceptual organization and spatial distortion: The gestalt illusions

Stanley Coren, Joan S. Girgus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

92 Scopus citations


Five experiments with 94 normally seeing undergraduates demonstrated that organization of the visual field according to gestalt principles results in measurable spatial distortions. Using the principles of proximity, similarity, good continuation, and 2 types of closure, it was found that interior distances (within a perceptual unit or group) were underestimated relative to exterior distances. The relationship between these spatial distortions and the resultant perceptual organization are discussed. (38 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)404-412
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 1 1980

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


  • Gestalt illusions, college students
  • perceptual organization &
  • spatial distortion &


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