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phrenology


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A discredited doctrine of mental faculties supposedly located in specific areas of the brain and detectable through bumps at the corresponding points on the external skull. Founded in Germany by the physiologist Franz Joseph Gall (1758–1828) and the physician Johann Kaspar Spurzheim (1809–72), it flourished in the early decades of the 19th century, especially in the United States and Britain, where at one time there were 29 phrenological societies simultaneously active. See also faculty psychology. [From Greek phren mind, originally midriff (the supposed seat of the soul) + logos word, discourse, or reason]

Subjects: psychology.


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