Gall, Francis Joseph

Gall, Francis Joseph,

1758–1828, Austrian anatomist and founder of phrenology. He devoted most of his life to a minute study of the nervous system, especially the brain. With the collaboration of a favorite pupil, John Caspar Spurzheim (1776–1832), he incorporated his research into a four-volume work and atlas that appeared from 1810 to 1819. Gall demonstrated that the white matter of the brain consists of nerve fibers, and he launched the doctrine of localization in parts of the brain of various mental processes. Derided for his later involvement with the pseudoscience of phrenologyphrenology,
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
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, he left Austria but was received with honors in France and died a wealthy man in Paris. Spurzheim carried the teachings of Gall to England and the United States, also with great success.