Phrenology

EnolaGaia

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#1
Believe it or not ...

The subject of phrenology has been invoked as a representative illustration of a damned science many times during this forum's existence, but ...

There is no dedicated thread - indeed, no substantive discussion - relating to the subject itself.

This thread is being established as a stub / placeholder for the subject.
 

EnolaGaia

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#2
Just to set some initial context, here's the boilerplate overview from Wikipedia.

Phrenology (from Ancient Greek φρήν (phrēn), meaning 'mind', and λόγος (logos), meaning 'knowledge') is a pseudoscience which involves the measurement of bumps on the skull to predict mental traits. It is based on the concept that the brain is the organ of the mind, and that certain brain areas have localized, specific functions or modules. Although both of those ideas have a basis in reality, phrenology extrapolated beyond empirical knowledge in a way that departed from science. The central phrenological notion that measuring the contour of the skull can predict personality traits is discredited by empirical research.[5] Developed by German physician Franz Joseph Gall in 1796, the discipline was influential in the 19th century, especially from about 1810 until 1840. The principal British centre for phrenology was Edinburgh, where the Edinburgh Phrenological Society was established in 1820.

Phrenology is today recognized as pseudoscience. The methodological rigor of phrenology was doubtful even for the standards of its time, since many authors already regarded phrenology as pseudoscience in the 19th century. Phrenological thinking was influential in the psychiatry and psychology of the 19th century. Gall's assumption that character, thoughts, and emotions are located in specific areas of the brain is considered an important historical advance toward neuropsychology.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phrenology
 

Frideswide

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#3
As artefacts I have long wanted a phrenology head, with the areas marked out.

How many systems were there?
 

Bad Bungle

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#5

henry

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#7
i used to own a lifesize phrenology model cranium, markings were narrative labels indicating behaviours and emotions rather than numbers/symbols, was probably a bit of a dud, went to a hipster cafe in shrewsbury
 

escargot

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#8
i used to own a lifesize phrenology model cranium, markings were narrative labels indicating behaviours and emotions rather than numbers/symbols, was probably a bit of a dud, went to a hipster cafe in shrewsbury
I have some like that. They're beautiful objects in their own right, but still bollocks.
 

EnolaGaia

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#11
This 1836 article within an early 19th century medical compendium:

Lectures on Phrenology
M. Broussais
London: Routledge, 1847

Accessible online at Google Books:
https://books.google.com/books?id=y...s0KHXj6AagQ6AEwBHoECAYQAQ#v=onepage&q&f=false

... illustrates the hype surrounding the topic. Broussais writes:

"What is Phrenology?" Such is the title of a work lately published, whose author answers the question by describing phrenology as "a system of psychology," and even as the most perfect system of the kind the the state of our knowledge admits of. Gentlemen, the definition just laid down is a sufficient recommendation of the science towards which I propose drawing your attention for a few lessons. Phrenology, the best, the most perfect system of psychology that exists!
(p. 1)
 

AnonyJoolz

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#12
Queen Victoria & Prince Albert had young Prince Bertie (later Edward VII) examined and analysed by a phrenologist Dr George Combe using the cutting edge science of the day. When Dr Combe's report seemed to confirm what they already believed, he was denied every responsibility and agency they, and later she, effectively could. She really didn't like her son very much at all.

From 'Edward VII: The Last Victorian King' by Christopher Hibbert (2007):

Untitled.jpg
 
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