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An obsolete doctrine asserting each mental faculty is located in a definite part of the cerebral cortex, the size of which part varies in a direct ratio with the development and strength of the corresponding faculty; this size is indicated by the external configuration of the skull.
Synonym(s): craniognomy
[phreno- + G. logos, study]


Etymology: Gk, phren, mind
the study of the conformation of the skull based on the assumption that mental faculties are localized in particular sites on the surface of the brain. According to phrenologists, intelligence or other faculties of a person may be mirrored through elevations in the skull overlying the particular area of the brain.
A medical ‘discipline’ popular in the 18th to 19th century, which was based on the now-quaint belief that there was a relationship between the structure of the skull and mental traits


A theory, taken seriously for a time in the 18th century, that human characteristics were reflected in the relative growth of parts of the brain and that these could be detected by palpation of the skull bumps which, it was claimed, conformed to the shape of the brain.


Franz J., German-Austrian anatomist, 1758-1828.
Gall craniology - an obsolete doctrine. Synonym(s): phrenology
References in periodicals archive ?
74) These initiatives were the major means by which the freethinkers sought to popularize the "sciences" of phrenology and animal magnetism (hypnotism) and their secular rationalist methodologies for the working class.
Both phrenology and moral management were bound up with the nineteenth-century theory of faculty psychology.
Although I enjoyed most of the movie's illuminating scenes that forced movie goers to remember and reflect on the great enslavement (Maafa) of African descended people, the dinner table scene surrounding the pseudo-science of phrenology left a lasting and deep imprint on the brain inside my skull.
Far from rejecting science as a whole, these figures sought to link "scientific revolution" to race revolution by incorporating phrenology, mesmerism, physiology, and other fields of popular science into their acts and lectures.
development of not only seemingly tenuous sciences like phrenology or
Mauro sometimes falls into the jargon of art history, or spends a bit too much time on the historical context of phrenology and the prevailing racism of the time.
The discovery is reminiscent of phrenology, the Victorian belief that personal characteristics are revealed in the shape of the head.
While phrenology and other physical characteristics have since been scientifically discredited as a cause or explanation for criminal behaviour, these men did help pave the way for more modern theories.
Phrenology or the art of interpreting the shape of a person's head to define personality traits was very popular at the turn of the century.
Chapter three delves into the mind/soul/body and includes brief discussions on the wholists versus localization debate, phrenology, as well as addressing the relatively new field of neurotheology.