Phrenology makes a comeback.
July 28, 2003 3:24 AM   Subscribe

Phrenology makes a comeback.
posted by phylum sinter (11 comments total)

From the phrenology site:

1. The brain is the organ of the mind.
2. The mind is composed of multiple distinct, innate faculties.
3. Because they are distinct, each faculty must have a separate seat or "organ" in the brain.
4. The size of an organ, other things being equal, is a measure of its power.
5. The shape of the brain is determined by the development of the various organs.
6. As the skull takes its shape from the brain, the surface of the skull can be read as an accurate index of psychological aptitudes and tendencies.

1 is and was always uncontroversial, 2 is less so (the distinct and innate part) but still quite plausible and has been always. 3 is directly contradicted by the BBC article: "You can't just point at an area and say, 'Here's the seat of language'". 4, 5 and 6 are completely discredited and the linked article hardly suggests a comeback.
posted by talos at 4:06 AM on July 28, 2003

Excuse me while i'm going to listen to the Root's cd 'phrenology' again...
posted by Sijeka at 5:10 AM on July 28, 2003

Cool, how much longer till we get blood lettings, purgings and brandings back?
posted by PenDevil at 5:50 AM on July 28, 2003

At the Museum Of Questionable Medical Devices in Minneapolis (the museum itself is closed, unfortunately, but all the exhibits went to the Science Museum), you could try out their Psychograph machine.

It said I was going to be an architect...
posted by Katemonkey at 5:54 AM on July 28, 2003

Well, now I know where this band got their artwork.
posted by norm111 at 6:34 AM on July 28, 2003

The images are courtesy of the Laboratory of Neuro Imaging, at the David Geffen School of Medicine, UCLA. Well, then, that explains it...I do so hope they're looking into why pop songs stick in your head for weeks at a time.
posted by DenOfSizer at 7:25 AM on July 28, 2003

The only way to understand how the brain works, say experts, is to gather information from as many scans as possible, in an attempt to establish what an "average" brain looks like.

Take two points on a circle, average their position; the average no longer lies on the circle. How does their map retain any detail when the entire point of averaging is to smoosh out individual details?
posted by slipperywhenwet at 7:48 AM on July 28, 2003

Back in college, whenever a friend of mine and I had to fill out any forms listing our majors, I always put phrenology and he put scatology, good times, good times. Ok, so we were a little loaded most of the time, what did you do in college?
posted by Pollomacho at 7:49 AM on July 28, 2003

The Roots cd by that name is Great.
posted by th3ph17 at 10:33 AM on July 28, 2003

There's also that CD by the Roots.
posted by Pollomacho at 12:02 PM on July 28, 2003

So it's the art of measuring the size of Walt's asshole?
posted by xmutex at 4:27 PM on July 28, 2003

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