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Phrenology was founded by a physician named Franz Joseph Gall. He studied medicine and later practiced his profession in Vienna. While at school, he noticed that a few of his friends that were proficient in certain subjects were marked by various physical peculiarities, and that a difference of physical features often characterized a difference of disposition. Some boys, for instance, were apt at repetition of passages from memory; he observed that such scholars had full, prominent eyes. Gall was thus lead to believe that a particular aptitude could be discerned by a physical sign that accompanied it. In later life at University, he found a lot to support his ideas, which he was carefully trying to build up a theory.
Phrenology is reading someone based on the persons physical characteristics. Psychics can use this as well as their psychic abilities to provide more in depth readings.
The word phrenology owes its origin to Greek language and means knowledge of the mind. Since brain is the seat of mind, we use both these words interchangeably as the organs of thinking.
The concept of phrenology was, first of all, developed by a German physician Franz Joseph Gall in 1796 and it instantly became popular throughout Europe.
According to Gall, brain is not just a single organ but a collage of 27 separate organs where each organ performs a special function. He termed these organs as faculties of the brain. He declared that out of these 27 faculties 19 exist in animals also. And further, each of these faculties is housed in a special region of the skull and is associated with some characteristic of human mind.
Accordingly, therefore, there are the faculties for love, reproduction, vanity, music, colour, religiosity, combativeness, destructive tendency and affection for children. All these faculties or traits of nature cumulatively define human character and personality.
How did Gall establish the topography of various organs in the brain?
Gall came to the theory that the brain was the organ of the mind; that its shape and development varied according to the development of particular regions that were the seat of certain faculties and propensities; and that the shape of the skull or brain-pan roughly corresponded to the convolutions and prominences of the brain itself.
Gall examined a great many heads of living individuals, seeking out anyone who was notable for possessing certain traits – good or evil – and endeavoring to trace a consonance between head formal and mental endowment. He visited criminal courts, prisons and asylums, and examined heads of criminals after execution, and in these and other ways collected innumerable important facts to serve as a foundation for his theory or phrenology.
As a student Gall found that the children who had sharper memories had large bulging out eyes. He, therefore, concluded that the memory faculty was located behind the eyes. These and similar other observations helped Gall to locate various organs in brain and develop the science of mind.
Gall believed that the shape of the brain was similar to that of the skull that contained the brain. He could, therefore, locate these faculties by feeling or touching the bumps or hollows in skull and thereby determine the traits of nature the individual. It is much easier to locate the regions-bumps and hollows a shaved head.
He also believed that the skull fitted over the brain like the gloves on the hands and could accommodate organs of various sizes in the brain within its various areas.
He could also diagnose the problems with any of these organs of the brain by groping the skull. It was quite common for the phrenologists to use tapes and craniometer or calliper to measure various regions of the brain.
Phrenologists believe that the size of an organ indicates the level of its strength and development. They can assess the nature, character and temperament of a person by measuring the size of the brain organs.
A large-sized organ indicates that its host uses it intensively. Also, we can strengthen these different faculties of the brain the way we build muscles by performing different exercises. As a natural corollary, human beings can improve their thinking faculties by taking appropriate steps to strengthen them.
The knowledge of phrenology became so popular that not only the common people, but even kings and rulers approached phrenologists to read the heads of the young children. For example, Queen Victoria summoned George Combe, a phrenologist to study the heads of the young princes and princesses in the royal family.
Phrenology has immense possibilities in studying human nature. It is very useful in determining why people have different levels of intelligence. It can also help in rehabilitating the criminals and mentally handicapped people by providing them appropriate brain exercises.
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