May 1960

Perception of Hidden Pictures by Schizophrenic Patients

Author Affiliations

Weyburn, Sask., Canada
Saskatchewan Committee on Schizophrenia Research.
Research Psychiatrist, the Saskatchewan Hospital, Weyburn, Sask.

AMA Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1960;2(5):521-527. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1960.03590110045005

Introduction  Selectivity is an important aspect of perception. There is a natural tendency to differentiate the perceptual field into figure and ground. Some figures stand out from the ground and are perceived easily. Other figures are hidden in, or “confounded” with, the ground and require some effort to be discovered. This effort entails the ability to select relevant information and disregard irrelevant information. In terms of Gestalt psychology, the task consists of breaking down the Gestalt given in the immediate perception and constructing a new Gestalt in accordance with the perceptual set of the organism. When a meaningful figure, such as a picture of a common object, is hidden in the ground by lines drawn over the picture, there is a Gestalt formed by the immediate field factors. These factors, such as proximity, similarity, and Prägnanz, or good continuation, were described by the “laws” of classical

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