Lost Your Mind? (Search Your Head)

We know where our heart resides, but what’s the seat of our mind? Phrenology was a Victorian “science,” which held that the brain was the organ of the mind, and that its various facets were represented on the skull.

It grew out of the research of a German doctor, Franz Gall, in 18th century Vienna, who, along with his collaborators, located 37 mental attributes. Most of the traits were abstract, such as “firmness,” “marvelousness,” “amativeness,” etc. Each of these, it was believed, corresponded to a region of the brain in the form of bumps and grooves, and was proportional to a person’s propensities and proclivities.

A phrenologist, would therefore, determine an individual’s character simply, by examining the shape of his or her head, running his fingers over its ridges and depressions, and more rarely, employing a craniometer (a version of a caliper) to measure its size.



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