Placeholder for Molly, who will edit this when she gets somewhere with internet. The Phi phenomenon is one of dozens of perceptual illusions (instances in which what is perceived is different from what is sensed) that could be listed as 'things' to know. Also, I think we should agree that productive thinking (vs reproductive thinking) includes insight as part of this 'thing.'


Max Wertheimer, along with Koffka and Kohler, was a founder of Gestalt Psychology. His 1945 publication “Productive Thinking” discusses productive thinking as insight-based reasoning, or the production of new ideas or breakthroughs in solving a problem (as opposed to reproductive thinking – repetition of already existing thoughts and ideas). A good example of insight provided by Kohler were his experiments in which he provided chimpanzees with hanging bananas that were out of reach. The chimps could jump and for bananas, but could not reach them. Solving this problem required a moment of “insight” in which they stack the boxes to reach the bananas.

Max Wertheimer is also known for his work on perception and perceptual organization, which includes his experiments studying the Phi phenomenon. This phenomenon is the apparent perception of motion when images are shown in rapid succession, despite these images being stationary.

For an example:

also see:

Wertheimer, M. (1912). Experimental Studies on Motion Vision. Zeitschrift fur Psychologie, 61: 161-265.

Wetheimer, M. (1945). Productive Thinking. New York and Evanston: Harper & Row Publishers.

the mentality of apes

Kohler, W. (1925). The mentality of apes. New York: Liveright.

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