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Encyclopedia of Psychology Alan E. Kazdin, PhD, Editor-in-Chief


A fourth Gestalt law is common fate: a set of points that undergo the same spatial movements are joined together to form one object. In similar fashion, a set of frequency components that have the same onset and offset, or that have the identical pattern of loudness or frequency variation are joined into one source.


Captain Cook stumbled on the east coast of the continent in 1770. His description of what he had discovered inspired various prominent English politicians, including Lord Sydney, to declare the place an ideal location for a penal colony. The First Fleet under the command of Captain Arthur Phillip, made up of six convict transport ships, three store ships, and two ships of war, arrived in Sydney Cove on 26 January 1788, the day that Australians celebrate as the birthdate of the nation in what was then called the colony of New South Wales

Most of the early psychology pioneers arrived in Australia from Britain at the turn of the century, and included W. Boyce-Gibson in Melbourne, and Francis Anderson in Sydney. In the main, these scholars were steeped in the philosophical discipline of British empiricism, which insisted that knowledge should be derived from and tested against experience rather than arrived at by deduction. They tended to believe that the human condition could be improved by education.

The Contemporary Sociocultural Scene

At the end of World War II, about 95% of the population came from British stock. By contrast, in 1998 one in three of the population of about 20 million were either born overseas or are the offspring of parents who were born overseas in non-English-speaking countries (McLennan. I 996). The population also includes substantial numbers of non-European settlers, particularly from Southeast Asia. There are also about 300,000 descendants of the aboriginal inhabitants of Australia, who are currently emerging as a potent political force in their attempts to achieve restitution for past exploitation.

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