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Phrenology and Animal Electricity 

Phrenology and Animal Electricity
Chapter:
Phrenology and Animal Electricity
Author(s):

Marco Catani

and Stefano Sandrone

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780199383832.003.0034
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date: 18 May 2021

However at the turn of the nineteenth century anatomical advancements led Joseph Gall to believe the brain made up by a series multiple “organs,” each with specific functions. These organs, he proposed, could be identified through the convolutions of the brain which would reveal themselves as prominent bumps in the skull. This idea stimulated Gall and Spurzheim to promote phrenology: the study of the structure of human skull to determine a person’s character and mental capacity. At the same time they made no attempt to incorporate in their theory a new paradigm that was emerging in the first half of the nineteenth century: animal electricity. This culminated in the experimental work of Ivan Pavlov, whose findings confirmed that the conditioned reflex is a basic component of physiological psychology.

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