See Article History Phrenology, the study of the conformation of the skull as indicative of mental faculties and traits of character, especially according to the hypotheses of Franz Joseph Gall — , a German doctor, and such 19th-century adherents as Johann Kaspar Spurzheim — and George Combe — Phrenology enjoyed great popular appeal well into the 20th century but has been wholly discredited by scientific research. The divisions of the skull as suggested by phrenologists such as Johann Kaspar Spurzheim. Having arbitrarily selected the place of a faculty, he examined the heads of his friends and casts of persons with that peculiarity in common, and in them he sought for the distinctive feature of their characteristic trait. However, the names were changed by Spurzheim to align with more moral and religious considerations. Gall marked out on his model of the head the places of 26 organs as round enclosures with vacant interspaces.

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Early life[ edit ] Gall was born in the village of Tiefenbronn to a wealthy Roman Catholic wool merchant. The Galls, originally a noble family from Lombardy, [3] had been the leading family in the area for over a century. His father was the mayor of Tiefenbronn and he was one of 12 children, only 7 of whom lived to adulthood.

As a boy, he was fascinated by the differences between himself, his siblings, and his classmates. He also realized the importance of observation as a scientific technique at a young age. In his advanced studies, he again made observations about his classmates. He noticed that many of the particularly bright students had prominent eyeballs and concluded that this could not be purely coincidental. While in medical school, he studied under Johann Hermann and Maximilian Stoll who impressed upon him the importance of natural observation.

Cranioscopy is a method to determine the personality and development of mental and moral faculties on the basis of the external shape of the skull. During his lifetime, Gall collected and observed over skulls in order to test his hypotheses. Gall believed that the bumps and uneven geography of the human skull were caused by pressure exerted from the brain underneath. He divided the brain into sections that corresponded to certain behaviors and traits that he called fundamental faculties.

This is referred to as localization of function. Gall believed there were 27 fundamental faculties, among them were: recollection of people, mechanical ability, talent for poetry, love of property, and even a murder instinct. However, after numerous dissections and observations he was able to assert that a mature skull under 14 inches in circumference was not able to function normally. In , Spurzheim separated from Gall in order to make a name for himself in Britain.

Gall would later accuse Spurzheim of plagiarism and perverting his work. Other achievements[ edit ] Other than his contributions to phrenology, Gall is lesser known for his other achievements.

While developing his theories on localization of function, Gall significantly advanced the science of dissection. Gall also researched and theorized about language, communication, and the brain. He argued that pantomime , or the science of gesture, was a universal language for all animals and humans.

He believed every living thing was born with the ability to understand gestures on some level. It was translated to English in by Lewis Winslow.

The Roman Catholic Church considered his theory as contrary to religion. Established science also condemned these ideas for lack of scientific proof of his theory. Still others attempted to discredit Gall because they believed he had not given rightful credit to the theories and scientists who influenced him. The Austrian government accused Gall of being a materialist and banned his ideas because of their threat to public morality.

He sought a teaching position in Germany and eventually settled in Paris. However, Napoleon Bonaparte , the ruling emperor , and the scientific establishment led by the Institute of France , pronounced his science as invalid. Despite all this, Gall was able to secure a comfortable existence on the basis of his speciality. He became a celebrity of sorts as he was accepted into Parisian intellectual salons.

He died in Paris, on 22 August Although married, he remained childless. Some direct descendants of his brothers lived in Germany until Even though phrenology is now known to be incorrect, Gall did set the groundwork for modern neuroscience by spreading the idea of functional localization within the brain. Later, others tried to improve on his theories with systems such as characterology.

He also influenced the French anatomist, Paul Broca. Richmond Hill, Ont.







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