How Did Gall Set His 27 Faculties?

Franz Joseph Gall (1758-1828), a founding begetter of phrenology

Phrenology was the pseudoscience of identifying a person's graphic symbol together with mental abilities on the reason of skull morphology (“bumps on the head”). The firm was based on iv assumptions (Gross, 2009):
  1. intellectual abilities together with personality traits are differentially developed inwards each individual
  2. these abilities together with traits reverberate faculties that are localized inwards specific organs of the cerebral cortex
  3. the evolution or prominence of these faculties is a constituent of the activeness together with thence the size of the cortical organ
  4. the size of each cortical organ is reflected inwards the prominence of the overlying skull (i.e., inwards cranial bumps).

Gall originally identified 27 such faculties on the reason of rather flimsy together with idiosyncratic evidence. His protege Johann Spurzheim upped the ante to 35 (or 37), which is what is seen on nearly phrenology heads.

Influenza A virus subtype H5N1 novel article past times Eling, Finger, & Whitaker (2016) reviews Gall's organology (as he called it)1 together with summarizes the “history of discovery” of the 27 faculties inwards a handy table.2

Eling et al. consulted the 1835 English linguistic communication translation of Gall's master piece of employment (Sur les fonctions du cerveau et sur celles de chacune de ses parties) entitled, On the functions of the encephalon together with of each of its parts: amongst observations on the possibility of determining the instincts, propensities, together with talents, or the moral together with intellectual dispositions of men together with animals, past times the configuration of the encephalon together with head. Like its French counterpart, this tome is available from

Oh here's a highlight. During a lecture, Gall realized the analogy betwixt the skulls of monkeys together with women, thereby christening “love of offspring”.

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In the residuum of the newspaper Eling et al (2016) focus on musical ability, inwards exceptional how a v twelvemonth erstwhile daughter known every bit Bianchi influenced Gall's thinking.


1 “Organology; or, An exposition of the instincts, propensities, sentiments, together with talents, or the moral qualities, together with the telephone commutation intellectual faculties inwards human together with animals, together with the spot of their organs.”

2 The master tabular array included a column amongst book together with page numbers for extended descriptions of each of the faculties. In the involvement of space, I omitted this.


Eling, P., Finger, S., & Whitaker, H. (2016). On the Origins of Organology: Franz Joseph Gall together with a Girl Named Bianchi Cortex DOI: 10.1016/j.cortex.2016.11.010

Further Reading

Phrenology, Then together with Now

The Return of Physiognomy

Phrenology Resources

The History of Phrenology on the Web
The Phrenological Chart
The Phenomenon of Phrenology

Charles C. Gross (2009). Phrenology. In: Encyclopedia of Neuroscience.

The Cerebral Science of Phrenology


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How Did Gall Set His 27 Faculties?
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