Talk:Franz Joseph Gall

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An unidentified contributor added the following material to this short bio:

In 1805, Dr. Gall visited the prison of Berlin in the course of his experimental travels to establish his theories. On April 17, in the presence of many witnesses, he was shown upwards of two hundred culprits, of whom he had never heard till that moment, and to whose crimes and dispositions he was a total stranger. Dr. Gall immediately pointed out, as a general feature in one of the wards, an extraordinary development in the region of the head where the organ of theft is situated, and in fact every prisoner there was a thief. Some children, also detained for theft, were then shown to him; and in them, too, the same organ was very prominent. In two of them particularly it was excessively large; and the prison-registers confirmed his opinion that these two were most incorrigible. In another room, where the women were kept apart, he distinguished one drest exactly like the others, occupied like them, and differing in no one thing but in the form of her head. "For what reason is this woman here," asked Gall, "for her head announces no propensity to theft?" The answer was, "She is the inspectress of this room." One prisoner had the organs of benevolence and of religion as strongly developed as those of theft and cunning; and his boast was, that he never had committed an act of violence, and that it was repugnant to his feelings to rob a church. In a man named Fritze, detained for the murder of his wife, though his crime was not proved, the organs of cunning and firmness were fully developed; and it was by these that he had eluded conviction. In Maschke, he found the organ of the mechanical arts, together with a head very well organized in many respects; and his crime was coining. In Troppe he saw the same organ. This man was a shoemaker, who, without instruction, made clocks and watches, to gain a livelihood in his confinement. On a nearer inspection, the organ of imitation was found to be large. "If this man had ever been near a theatre," said Gall, "he would in all probability have turned actor." Troppe, astonished at the accuracy of this sentence, confessed that he had joined a company of strolling players for six months. His crime, too, was having personated a police-officer, to extort money. The organs of circumspection, prurience, foresight, were sadly deficient in Heisig, who, in a drunken fit, had stabbed his best friend. In some prisoners he found the organ of language, in others of colour, in others of mathematics; and his opinion in no single instance failed to be confirmed by the known talents and dispositions of the individual.

As the main contributor to this article, I dont' agree with this addition, because it is irrelevant and excessively detailed for a biographical treatment in short encyclopedic form. I suggest that this material, if deemed relevant, be added to phrenology --R.Sabbatini 11:39, 5 Jan 2005 (UTC)

I don't really agree with it either, not because it's too detailed—detail is fine—but because it seems to uncritically endorse phrenology and sounds very much as though it's copied from a source that is not identified. In an ideal world, it would be cited and given a good NPOV treatment. Everyking 12:01, 5 Jan 2005 (UTC)


Prof Gall 11:37, 13 August 2006 (UTC)The page had extensive errors. Most of the material used was copied from web pages that were not based on source data. One of of the major errors removed was stating Gall discovered the brain's gray and white matter. 'Anatomy of the Brain' by Thomas Willis was published in 1664. Willis did extensive investigation on the cerebral gray and white matter, a hundred years before Gall.

The significant introduction of "quacks" to the field of phrenology came much after after Gall had died so was removed. A good part of the people who practiced phrenology were Doctors like Gall. Before cutting down phrenology as a "quack science" that scientists said could not be proved, one must realize that much of what doctors did then (and now?) can not be "scientifically" proved. Other than probabilistic experiments most psychology would have a hard time under the microscope of scientific proof. Phrenology was exploring the ties to phsychology to the physical mind.

Some material still in the article is, shall I say, out of context with the subject. I want to verify references for some particular changes.

Prof Gall

WikiProject class rating[edit]

This article was automatically assessed because at least one WikiProject had rated the article as start, and the rating on other projects was brought up to start class. BetacommandBot 04:01, 10 November 2007 (UTC)


It is incorrect that Gall was the first to 'disover' that the brain was the seat of thoughts and emotions. Several thinkers dating from Egyptian times had proposed this, and it was widely accepted by Gall's time. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Christophersummerfield (talkcontribs) 10:55, 23 April 2009 (UTC) There is a mistake in the sentence of "His ideas were also not acceptable to the court of Franz Josef II". The emperor that time was Josef II., there was no Franz Josef II. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:22, 23 February 2011 (UTC)