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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 ?
42) As part of its anti-evangelical mission, the society promulgated such "useful knowledge" as phrenology and animal magnetism.
5) Phrenology manuals and guides for self-improvement lined the library shelves alongside works on electricity as well as the psychological work of the French physician, Jean-Etienne Dominique Esquirol, who wrote extensively on insanity.
For Candie (played by Leonardo DiCaprio), phrenology not only explained slavery, it justified it.
6) A believer in phrenology, Whitman made regular references to it in his writings, so it is no surprise that he was interested in having his brain studied after his death.
BEETHOVEN'S EARS When Beethoven died several years after Haydn, and with the interest in phrenology still booming, there were similar concerns, with one gravedigger claiming he had been offered a thousand florins to "deposit the head of Beethoven in a certain place".
Phrenology was a branch of science concerned with the function of the human brain.
It started with a set of phrenology machines from the 1920s.
His phrenology speech delivered towards the end of the filmawhile wielding a hammeragot so intense that he accidentally split his hand open while giving it, and that's the cut that was used in the film.
Different monthly topics are associated with pioneer life during the year--making wine, coopering, livestock care, phrenology, or heirloom gardening.
Pseudo-science too-The Thing about Thugs uses the 19th-century fad of phrenology, or skull- reading.
It was, rather, a popular and diverse field of inquiry, composed of investigations in a number of different fields, including craniology, ethnology, physiology, mesmerism, and phrenology.
It argues that liberalism and phrenology were different ways of understanding human character, in an attempt to govern society according to Nature's law.