The shape of problems
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The shape of problems book
Psychology in Italy during the twentieth century was unique. Vittorio Benussi (1878-1927) initiated an Italian variety of Gestalt psychology, deriving more from Meinong than the great German school; Cesare Musatti (18991979) continued the tradition; and Gaetano Kanizsa (1913-1993) brought it to fruition in his startling and original demonstrations of perceptual phenomena, especially illusory contours. Paolo Legrenzi is a crucial ﬁgure in this history, because he built the bridge from Gestalt theory in his collaborations with Kanizsa to information-processing psychology (see, e.g., Kanizsa & Legrenzi, 1978; Kanizsa, Legrenzi, & Sonino, 1983). As the epigraph to the present chapter shows, he has never lost sight of the Gestalt origins in the study of thinking. For over 30 years, he and I have carried out research together, usually in collaboration with his wife Maria Sonino, and mostly on deductive reasoning. He is thus both a colleague and a dear friend. In this chapter, my aim is to honour him with an analysis of human problem solving, a topic that goes back to some of his own studies (e.g., Legrenzi, 1994) and to those of his Gestalt forebears (e.g., Duncker, 1945; Katona, 1940; Köhler, 1925; Luchins, 1942; Maier, 1931; Wertheimer, 1945/1959).