Those were the (Phrenological) days

Alexandre Castro-Caldas*, Jordan Grafman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Phrenology is nowadays often considered as a pseudoscience and a reason for ironic comments. This theory was based on the ideas of Franz Joseph Gall (1758-1828). He was indeed a fine neuroscientist that called attention to the cerebral cortex and suggested for the first time that mental functions were the result of the activity of cortical 'organs.' The methodology used reveals interesting predictive aspects for what our current practice is. However, the interpretations of the observations were often more in accordance with the predicted heuristic model than with the real findings. Spurzheim (1776-1832) was first his student and then his collaborator. He traveled around the world lecturing and making phrenology a popular science.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)297-302
Number of pages6
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2000


  • Franz Joseph Gall
  • History of neurosciences
  • Johann Spurzheirn
  • Phrenology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Clinical Neurology


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