Franz Joseph Gall

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Gall, Franz Joseph


Born Mar. 9, 1758, in Tiefenbrunn, Austria; died Aug. 22, 1828, in Montrouge near Paris. Austrian physician and anatomist. Founder of phrenology.

On the basis of anatomical research and numerous observations of various groups of people, Gall came to the conclusion that the centers of mental life were concentrated not in the ventricles of the brain, as was generally believed at that time, but in the cerebral convolutions. His anatomic works were based on experiments. At the same time, the classification of mental capacities proposed by him was completely arbitrary. However arbitrary were the ideas of Gall on the location of mental functions in different parts of the cerebral hemispheres, the idea of the location of mental functions in itself represented an important step forward in psychological theory. Gall assumed that variations in cerebral convolutions must be revealed on the outer form of the skull—its bumps, by means of which the mental capacities of a man could be judged. These ideas were the foundation of phrenology, which gained tremendous popularity in the 19th century. Physiological research has proved phrenology untenable.


Iaroshevskii, M. G. Istoriia psikhologii. Moscow, 1966. Chapter 7.
Fraisse, P., and J. Piaget [comps.]. Eksperimental’naia psikhologiia: Sb. st., vol. 1. Moscow, 1966. Chapter 1.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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