History: 5 facts from phrenology's heady heyday
Its crowning glory? Almost getting Darwin kicked off his famous voyage for not being attractive enough
While physiognomy — essentially the pseudoscientific equivalent of judging a book by its cover — has ancient origins, phrenology was developed in the late 18th century by physician Dr Franz Joseph Gall.
He made the first dubious connection between the shape of the skull and different personality traits during his childhood, when he believed that fellow school students with the best memories had larger, more prominent eyes.
- Popular cultured
The terms ‘highbrow’, ‘lowbrow’ and ‘well-rounded’ all have phrenological roots.
Even ‘having your head examined’ and ‘shrink’ — from the mistaken belief that the brain was a muscle that could grow and contract with enough effort — had their humble beginnings in head-reading.
- Lump together
Sadly, although perhaps not surprisingly, the superficial science