The human brain is the most complex organ whose abilities are still not fully understood. For centuries, scientists have advanced various theories about its structure and work. The greatest trace in history was left to the doctor Franz Gall, who declared that the psychic abilities and inclinations of a person depend on the structure of the skull. This theory is called "phrenology," which in Greek means "study of the mind."
The history of pseudoscience
For the first time, Franz Josef Gall thought that the irregularities of the skull could “tell” about the abilities and inclinations of man in his school years. He drew attention to the fact that children with “bulging” eyes, or as they are called, bug-eyed, had a better memory. This theory was supported by others, which gave the young Franz an impetus for further discoveries.
Gall studied the appearance of people, compared with their character and analyzed all the information collected. This unusual hobby completely absorbed the young man, so in order to get more in-depth knowledge of human anatomy, he decided to become a doctor. Over time, he began his own medical practice, and also held parallel lectures for the Vienna intelligentsia on his theory and discoveries made.
People admired the ability of the doctor, because it was enough for him to look at the interlocutor to find out what his character was, and what one could expect from him in any given situation. At lectures, Gall gladly shared his secrets with the interested public. In addition, he wrote a book on the basics of phrenology. With it, anyone could learn to recognize the peculiarities of the character of people by their appearance and uneven skull.
The phrenological theory is based on the following assumptions:
- The structure of the brain is heterogeneous - it consists of a certain number of parts, which corresponds to the number of inclinations, abilities and feelings.
- The more developed a particular feeling - the more prominent the skull in the corresponding area.
- The brain controls feelings, abilities, and inclinations; therefore, each of its constituent parts has a different degree of development, which is displayed on the surface of the skull as irregularities.
- Intellectual ability and moral qualities are innate.
Basics of Phrenology
During his research, Franz studied the heads of thousands of people. He visited shelters, hospitals, prisons, studied and measured the heads of people, searched for the relationship between the irregularities of the skull and the nature of their owners. The most interesting for Gall were people with an unusual shape of the head.
Based on the data collected, a 27-point assessment of aptitudes and abilities was developed: (increased by followers to 39)
- Reproductive functions and instincts.
- Love for children and care for them.
- Friendliness and affection for people.
- Masculinity, courage, self-preservation instinct.
- Inclination to sadism and murder.
- Tendency to deception, deceit, cunning.
- The desire to take possession of other things, greed.
- Arrogance, pride.
- The desire to become famous, ambition.
- Caution, the ability to think through their actions a few steps forward.
- Tendency to science, the desire for new knowledge.
- Topographic memory, orienteering.
- Visual memory.
- Memorization of written and spoken phrases.
- Knowledge of language, correct pronunciation of speech.
- Artistic leaning, subtle sense of color.
- Talent for music, a sense of tact.
- Mathematical thinking.
- Architecture and design.
- Discretion, insight, insight.
- Propensity to metaphysical knowledge.
- Subtle sense of humor, wit.
- Poetic abilities.
- Sincerity, compassion, kindness.
- The tendency to imitation, the development of facial expressions.
- Spirituality, belief, religiosity.
- Hardness, stability, perseverance.
Over time, the list of psychological abilities and inclinations was increased to 39 points thanks to the work of followers of Franz Gall. Phrenologists studied not only local irregularities of the skull, but also its structure as a whole. Studies have allowed them to draw the following conclusions:
- People with the shape of the head in the form of a pear are selfish, fixated on material and base needs.
- The wide jaw and thus crankiness of the skull above the temples indicates the predominance of animal instincts, such as greed, gluttony, lust, and more.
- A rich imagination endowed people whose head expands over the temples. In addition, they may have mystical abilities.
- The owners of the elongated, narrow head shape are curious and suffer from the sciences.
- Flat nape says about selfishness, and a convex - about affection and sensuality.
- Persons with a bulge in the center of the parietal zone possess firmness of spirit and great strength of will. If the hill is located closer to the forehead, then such people are distinguished by piety and kindness.
Detailed studies of individuals were also conducted, thanks to which phrenologists revealed several more psychological features:
- broad forehead - noble aspirations;
- wide jaw - animal instincts, selfishness;
- thin lips - cunning, secrecy;
- plump lips - materiality, greed;
- low location of the mouth, while one lip is fuller than the other - loving, lust, voluptuousness;
- crooked nose - aggressiveness, incontinence;
- large nose - great energy potential.
A complete list of external features of the skull is quite wide, moreover, when studying the character of a person, a combination of several aspects is not rarely used. Despite the fact that phrenology was recognized by pseudoscience, because she had many contradictions, which Gall simply ignored, his followers continue to develop what they started. Evidence of this is the relevant literature, which can be found, both in bookstores and on the Internet.
The influence of phrenology
Phrenology had no scientific substantiations, as the professors repeatedly stated, and gave a lot of logical arguments. Over time, Gall's theory was completely discredited and officially recognized as pseudoscience. To date, it is equivalent to palmistry, esoterica and astrology.
During the research and preaching of his theory, Franz, unwittingly, provoked the aggravation of racism. His methods of determining the psychological characteristics of people were used by the Nazis as evidence that the Aryan race was superior. In addition, a lot of effort and all kinds of resources were spent to prevent criminal activity that flourished in Buenos Aires.
Despite the negative consequences, phrenology had a positive effect on the development of neurology. Scientists have begun to more deeply explore the human brain and nervous system. In addition, pseudoscience gave impetus to the discovery of anthropometry, as well as the biosocial theory of crime, which has become a huge contribution to the development of criminology.