Phrenology

Topics: Phrenology, Scientific method, Psychology Pages: 2 (559 words) Published: June 4, 2006
Phrenology

From the Latin words phrenos (mind) and logos (study), Franz Joseph Gall (1758-1828), developed a complex theory of localization within our brain. This notion stated that certain areas of the mind controlled specific mental functions. Gall was the first to state this bold idea which has now been proved to be incorrect, but helped us to develop our current theories.

Gall's hypothesis stated that the brain was composed of organs that direct certain mental faculties. As these mental faculties develop the organs responsible for it also enlarge in size. With the internal structure of the brain changing shape, Gall believed that the external shape of the skull molded to match. Therefore the mental faculties that a person would excel in would create a protrusion on the corresponding area of the head or a depression if the person is lacking development.

With the aide of Johann Spurzheim, Gall constructed a model of the brain known as a phrenological map that supported the extensive theory he had created. Because of its simplistic and logical structure Gall's phrenological theory appealed to many people and it began to gain support. But with many possibilities for error, such as being misled by the subject's hairstyle or the bias that the interpreter would have from personal prejudices and knowledge of the subject, phrenology it wasn't highly respected by the scientific field and was later rejected and ridiculed because it was based on no scientific evidence.

The number of modern followers has greatly declined since the late nineteenth century. Astonishingly there are still followers of Phrenology around today. Two of the best known are Bernard Hollander, a British psychiatrist, and Paul Bouts. Bouts is a Belgian educator that combined phrenology with typology and graphology to create his own approach which he titled psychognomy.

Modern phrenologists have made many analyses of historical figures after their death using pictures to...

Bibliography: March 19, 2006: www.cerebromente.org.br/n01/frenolog/frenmap.htm
www.cerebromente.org.br/n01/frenolog/frenologia.htm
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