Phrenological head made from a skull, 1815-1900.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Head labelled in French, with an Italian summary, according to Johann Christoph Spurzheim's (1776-1832) system of 35 divisions. Phrenology proposed that the contours of the skull followed the brain's shape, and each region was responsible for an aspect of personality or behaviour. Feeling the lumps was like reading the mind. Phrenology was once popular but was soon followed les and les within orthodox brain science.