Craniology: The study of variations in size, shape, and proportion of the skull (cranium). Also known as phrenology, it was a pseudoscience of the 18th and 19th centuries based on the belief that a person's character could be learned by looking with care at the shape of their head and noting each and every bump and depression in their skull. The individual mental faculties were believed to be contained in neat compartments in the cerebral cortex and the size of these faculties were supposed to be reflected by the configuration of the skull. The best known model of phrenology was that of Gall who marked off the places of twenty-six organs on the head.
Last Editorial Review: 5/13/2016