The Gestalt psychologists, especially Max Wertheimer, developed a number of “laws” that predict how perceptual grouping occurs under a variety of circumstances (Wertheimer, 1923/1938). Technically, in sciences, laws are predictions that are true. In reality, these laws are better classified as principles, which are true most of the time. However, the term law has stuck with these principles because they were established so long ago. So we will continue to refer to them as laws, even though technically they are not scientific laws.
The Law of Closure is the gestalt law that states that if there is a break in the object, we perceive the object as continuing in a smooth pattern. For example, in the circle below, we tend to see a complete circle with something over top of it. We like to see as simple of a figure as possible.
Use this activity to explore how the Law of Closure operates.
To see the illustration in full screen, which is recommended, press the Full Screen button, which appears at the top of the page.
Below is a list of the ways that you can alter the illustration. The settings include the following:
Stimulus Type: choose whether you are using a square or a
Gap Size: adjust the size of the gap in the stimulus.
Number of Gaps: choose the number of breaks that will appear in the shape. Choose: 1, 2, 3, or 4.
Color: change the color of parts of the image to weaken grouping.
Pressing this button restores the settings to their default values.