Phrenology

Phrenology is basically the study of personality through the study of the shape
of the skull. The basis of this theory is that the brain conforms to the shape
of the head and its contours. This pseudoscience says that because we have
isolated where different parts of personality come from we can tell how dominant
this trait would be in a person`s life by the size of the piece of the brain. We
have since proven that this theory is not true. Franz Joseph Gall is considered
to be the founder of the direct scientific link between the morphology of the
skull and personality traits. Gall was one of the first scientists to consider
the brain the home of all mental activities. His main work was called The
Anatomy and Physiology of the Nervous System in General, and of the Brain in
Particular. In this article he put forth five points that phrenology was based
on in general. 1. That moral and intellectual faculties and innate. 2. That
their exercise or manifestation depends on organization. 3. That the brain is an
organ of all the propensities, sentiments, and faculties. 4. The brain is
composed of many particular organs as there are different propensities,
sentiments, and faculties which differ from one another. 5. That the form of the
head or cranium represents the form of the brain, and thus represents the
relative development of the brain organs. Gall linked the faculties with precise
brain localizations through careful observation and expensive experimental
measures. Johann Spurzheim`s contribution to phrenology was also great. He
helped Gall in a study of brain injuries with the phrenology concept Gall had
created. He also studied many cases of aphasia following victim`s cranial
injuries in battle. In 1832, he arrived in America, which was at that time
desperate for insight into human personality, and started on a lecture circuit
that eventually killed him only six months into it. While Spurzheim was in
America he managed to inspire two young, frustrated evangelists whose names were
Lorenzo Niles Fowler and Orson S. Fowler. These two are largely responsible for
spreading phrenology throughout the country. They traveled from town to town
carrying the truth of phrenology. They offered lectures, readings, and to
evaluate the charteristics of total strangers through the bumps and valleys on
their heads. Soon everyone from small-town folk to the rich and famous were
getting readings. It became a fad throughout America. Hairstyles were changed to
show off attractive phrenological features. Employers wanted people with certain
phrenological profiles. They even asked for a reading by the Fowler`s as a
reference. The Fowler`s New York office, called the Phrenological Cabinet became
one of the most visited attractions in town. It served as a museum of sorts also
containing hundreds of heads of famous people. The Fowler`s also published a
great amount of material. They put out the American Phrenological Journal and
Miscellany, many books and materials on phrenology, and they published the first
volume by a young writer named Walt Whitman. They were considered the leading
phrenologists of their time. Caesar`s phrenological bust (left) **Franz Joseph
Gall Phrenology was a craze in the 1800s. Everyone wanted to have a reading.

People even wanted to show off their more exciting phrenological features by
changing their hairstyles. The craze went as far as employers only wanting
certain characteristics found in their phrenological profiles. The only problem
with all of these things is that phrenology has no scientific basis at all. The
craze went as far as employers only wanting certain characteristics found in
their phrenological profiles. The only problem with all of these things is that
phrenology has been proven wrong. First of all, it appears that most of Gall`s
early research was done on criminals and the insane. This led him to place theft
organs and murder organs in the brain. Spurzheim later got rid of these and
replaced them with such things as benevolence and self-esteem. Second of all
scientists know today that personality is not isolated in different parts of the
brain. The parts interact in a way that wasn`t realized in the 1800s. While
phrenology still has its advocates for the most part it has been proved wrong
and is out of date. Phrenology has been important though. It has brought about
psychological theories that might not have been thought of for years. It has
influenced some of the great thinkers and writers of our time. Such as Edgar
Allen Poe, Walt Whitman, Queen Victoria of Great Britain, and hundreds of
others. It has allowed us to move on to a new way of thinking that will most
likely carry us into the future as a society or possibly to another new line of
thinking that is even more accurate than current thought. In conclusion I think
that phrenology has been one of the best mistakes made in psychology. If we can
learn this much from a theory that is so wrong just imagine what we will learn
when someone comes up with something that is actually right.

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Bibliography
Compton`s Encyclopedia World Book Encyclopedia The History of Phrenology
134.184.33.110/phreno/intro.html www.dcn.davis.ca.us/~btcarrol/skeptic/phren.html
www.epub.org.br/cm/n01/frenolog/frenlink.htm
Psychology