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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 ?
American Phrenological Journal and Miscellany 1 (1 March 1839), 200.
influenced by eugenic and phrenological models of intellectual
There the firm printed the American Phrenological Journal (and its many subsequent iterations), received visitors, and, via lectures, publications, and skull readings, popularized a science aimed at delineating one's character traits by identifying how the shape of one's head corresponded to the contours of one's brain and thus to one's personality (Stern 34).
There is also an item on the establishment of a phrenological professorship in a college of Buenos Aires.
His popular phrenology lectures reached a wider popular audience in 1839 when the Phrenological Society of New York transcribed, collated, and reprinted his American lectures under the title Lectures on Phrenology, By George Combe, Esq.
Mill) and phrenological notions are merely "suggestive.
physiognomical and phrenological emphases on bodily depth and on the
Moreover, Usher's "inordinate expansion above the regions of the temple" (321) demonstrates the fact that he possesses a conspicuous phrenological bump of "Ideality," denoting taste, love of beauty, and poetry.
Phrenological knowledge and the social structure of early nineteenth-century Edinburgh.
One popular late nineteenth century baby book, for example, included a phrenological chart--so that parents could read their baby's head bumps for revelations about character.
28) Leslie Atzmon, "Arthur Rackman's Phrenological Landscape: In-Betweens, Goblins, and Femme Fatales," Design Issues 18 (2002), p.
The building ("a classic Fowler's octagon", that is built according to phrenological dictates (ENGEL, 1987, p.