Over het boek
A strange finding underlies this booklet. Looking for a formal expression of Gestalt theory the result was a relation between two completely different phenomena in cognition and perception research. Gestalt theory emphasizes that it is the observer who creates the experienced structures. The theory does not deny that there are structures outside. However, the human brain is not an information processing mechanism that projects the outside structures into the inside. It builds its own structures in sufficient harmony with its surroundings. For a researcher the interesting question is how this happens. An answer could give insight in how we learn language, how we interpret sound, how we perceive figures, and so on. There are rules and formal models that describe the outside conditions for inside experience, but these do not answer the question. This booklet is an attempt to give such an answer. Its result shows why these rules and formal models are successful in predicting experiences. But there is another result related to phenomena that at first sight has nothing to do with Gestalt theory. In cognitive psychology and language research one regularly notices that humans can process 5, 6 or 7 items in one event. In perception research one finds that subjects use two interpretations, one of which dominates. The first phenomenon is known as “seven minus two”, the second one as duality. In this study both phenomena appear to be strongly related. Combining the formal approach with the notion of associative memory leads to remarks on brain research, individual differences, and learning and forgetting.