Common fate

The Gestalt principle of common fate explains that we perceive objects moving in the same direction as forming a common group, by comparison to objects that move in different direction or remain stationary.

Common fate is directly related to encoding the retinal variable of motion, and is a stronger principles of perceptual organisation than proximity, similarity or enclosure.

The retinal variable of orientation is also related to common fate, whereby certain objects can still be shown to point to a specific direction, e.g. using arrows. This means that the objects can be stationary and still be perceived to have a common fate because we perceived them as ‘going towards’ some direction.


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Demetris Christodoulou