phrenology


phre·nol·o·gy

noun \fri-ˈnä-lə-jē\

Definition of PHRENOLOGY

:  the study of the conformation of the skull based on the belief that it is indicative of mental faculties and character
phre·no·log·i·cal \ˌfre-nə-ˈlä-ji-kəl, ˌfrē-\ adjective
phre·nol·o·gist \fri-ˈnä-lə-jist\ noun

Origin of PHRENOLOGY

Greek phren-, phrēn
First Known Use: 1805

phre·nol·o·gy

noun \fri-ˈnäl-ə-jē\   (Medical Dictionary)
plural phre·nol·o·gies

Medical Definition of PHRENOLOGY

: the study of the conformation of the skull based on the belief that it is indicative of mental faculties and character

phrenology

noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Study of the shape of the skull as an indication of mental abilities and character traits. Franz Joseph Gall stated the principle that each of the innate mental faculties is based in a specific brain region (“organ”), whose size reflects the faculty's prominence in a person and is reflected by the skull's surface. He examined the skulls of persons with particular traits (including “criminal” traits) for a feature he could identify with it. His followers Johann Kaspar Spurzheim (1776–1832) and George Combe (1788–1858) divided the scalp into areas they labeled with traits such as combativeness, cautiousness, and form perception. Though popular well into the 20th century, phrenology has been wholly discredited.

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