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One Lump or Two? Phrenology Diagnosed by the Bump

Diagnosing by the Bump Franz-Joseph Gall (1758-1828), proposed that different functions, such as memory, language, emotion, and ability, were situated in specific “organs” of the brain. These portions of the brain would grow or shrink with use, and the changes would appear as bumps or depressions on the skull. Called Phrenology, the practice of “reading” the bumps supposedly allowed a practitioner to assess different abilities and personality traits. It's a curious idea: what might our own phrenological assessment look like? Phrenology and the American Dream Sometimes, we see what we want to see... Americans were very receptive to phrenology when it arrived...

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