chapter  VIII
40 Pages

THE HANDLING OF FORMS

IN all intelligence tests which apply to an optically given situation, the subject of the experiment has-if one watches in detail-among other tasks, to grasp certain forms and shapes (" Gestalten": v. Ehrenfels, Wertheimer) 1. These factors of form in most of the experiments described have been of the simplest, so that the uninitiated hardly recognize the characteristic properties of" shapes" (Gestalten) in them: sheer distances (very often), the relation of sizes to each other (in the experiment with the double stick, the relation of the two openings), crude directions and at the most the components of direction (model experiment of the preceding chapter, experiment with door, etc.), But always where a problem of form made greater demands on the animals-i.e. where, untheoretically, one would for the first time speak of forms and shapes (in the narrower sense) -the chimpanzee began to fail, and, regardless of fine details in the structure of the situation, to proceed as if all forms were "en bloc" without any more precise structure. This occurred in the experiment with the wound gymnasti~ rope, with the coiled wire, and in building with boxes. Now, situations in which one tested mammals, from cats upwards, for intelligence, usually contained very complicated forms, especially all sorts of door-bolts and such-like.