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Gestalt psychology in Italy.

by I Verstegen
Journal of the history of the behavioral sciences ()


Graz gestalt psychology was introduced into Italy after World War I with Vittorio Benussi's emigration to Padua. His earliest adherent, Cesare Musatti, defended Graz theory, but after Benussi's premature death became an adherent of the Berlin gestalt psychology of Wertheimer-Köhler-Koffka. He trained his two most important students, Fabio Metelli and Gaetano Kanizsa, in orthodox Berlin theory. They established rigid "schools" in Padua and Trieste. The structure of Italian academics allowed for such strict orthodoxy, quite unlike the situation in America, where scientific objectivity mitigated against schools. In the 1960s, some of the students of Metelli and Kanizsa (above all Bozzi) initiated a realist movement-felt in Kanizsa's late work-that was quite independent of that of J. J. Gibson. Finally, more recently, Benussi and Graz theorizing have been embraced again, sentimentally, as a predecedent to Kanizsa-Bozzi.

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