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Phrenology is a pseudoscience, popular in the 19th century, that claimed to be able to determine personality traits and criminality on the basis of the shape of the head (reading "bumps"). It was developed by German physician Franz Joseph Gall[?] around 1800.

Its principles were that the brain is the organ of the mind, and that mind has a set of different faculties, each particular faculty being represented in a different part of the brain. These areas are proportional to a given individual's propensities and importance of a mental faculty, and the overlying skull bone reflects these differences.

While in its day phrenology was an academically respected field of research, today it has been completely discredited.

Distinguish phrenology from the scientific study of skull shape (particularly the statistically varying proportions of length to width), once intensively practised in anthropology/ethnology and sometimes utilised by racist theorising.

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