Phrenology Essay

This essay has a total of 867 words and 5 pages.

Phrenology




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
personís 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 Spurzheimís 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 victimís 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 Fowlerís as a reference. The Fowlerís New York office, called the
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