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study of the shape of the human skull in order to draw conclusions about particular character traits and mental faculties. The theory was developed about 1800 by the German physiologist Franz Joseph Gall and popularized in the United States by Orson Fowler and Lorenzo Fowler through their publication the Phrenological Almanac and other publications. Modern neurology and physical anthropology have refuted the theory and consider its use a form of quackery.



a false theory that certain mental abilities are localized in various sectors of the human brain and can be distinguished by palpating the skull. Phrenology was developed by the Austrian physician and anatomist F. Gall; it was especially popular in the first half of the 19th century, owing to its propagation by Gall’s student J. Spurzheim and his followers in Western Europe. Dozens of phrenological societies were founded in Europe in the 1830’s and 1840’s. Phrenological data were used to diagnose mental and character traits. The achievements of physiologists, for example, M. J. P. Flourens in France, showed the insubstantiality of phrenology, which nevertheless continued to arouse interest until the early 20th century.

In the 1870’s a number of scientists, including G. Fritsch and E. Hitzig of Germany, developed theories concerning the localization of mental functions in various zones of the cortex of the large hemispheres of the brain. Their theories were sometimes called the new phrenology.



(formerly) the branch of science concerned with localization of function in the human brain, esp determination of the strength of the faculties by the shape and size of the skull overlying the parts of the brain thought to be responsible for them
References in periodicals archive ?
In an article titled Django Unchained and the Racist Science of Phrenology written by James Poskett, we borrow the following commentary: "Why don't they kill us?
Richard Fox, surveys manager at Butterfly Conservation, said: "Butterflies like many plants and other creatures are able to adjust their phrenology, their emergence dates and timings of things in their life-cycles, to take account of weather conditions.
The idea of the brain as a muscle is not new: Some proponents of the 19th-century pseudoscience of phrenology, which claimed that the shape of the skull reflected its contents, argued that mental exercise could promote the growth of desirable skull bumps.
Says Julia Villasenor Bell, the curator of the show, "This has been happening since the late 19th century with pseudo-sciences as phrenology (the measurement of the human skull to determine criminal inclinations) or the Berthillon method (the measurement of the human body and its classification to prevent criminal subjects).
Phrenology claimed that the secrets of the human mind were revealed by the shape of a person's skull.
From Thomson's Botanic Medicine to the disaster that was phrenology, to the incoherent homeopathic approaches--many fads of the time are included here.
MR: I have written essays critical of ideas long lodged in the curriculum of modern thought which are badly in need of reconsideration, and should in many cases be allowed to go the way of phrenology and the Piltdown Man.
Drawing upon Foucault, Wegenstein shows how the 19th-century discipline of phrenology and later the science of eugenics enabled physiognomic models of criminality, health, and deviance to be established in law and science.
HAYDN'S HEAD Composer Joseph Haydn's head was stolen from his grave by two men, motivated by their interest in phrenology, the belief that insights could be had from feeling the shape and size of the head.
0” for the Roots' seminal album Phrenology, exposing Cody's music to a wider mainstream audience.
Indeed, Yenor argues that the field of sociobiology "occupies the same place among some of today's marriage movement advocates that phrenology [head size and shape] did in Comte's social philosophy.
Dr Franz Joseph Gall (1758-1828), a German doctor, founded craniology, a would-be science later called phrenology.