Phrenology and court casesgreenspun.com : LUSENET : History & Theory of Psychology : One Thread
I wonder how serious the public really took phrenology at the time. For instance, was it used in court as evidence? If someone had a bump over a dishonest or "murderous" part of the brain were they more likely to be found guilty? Is there any literature out there that deals with this?
-- Holly Anne Peterson (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 27, 2001
In Britain and the United States before ca. 1860, phrenology was perhaps the most comprehensive and generally influential psychological system, and for many reasons it had a significant impact on many aspects of private and public life and public policy making. MUCH literature is available on the topic, and historians have long debated the precise ways in which the ideas made their influence felt. Roger Cooter, PHRENOLOGY IN THE BRITISH ISLES (Scarecrow Press, 1989) is a 460-page bibliography of its subject. Several books by Madeleine Stern and John Davies (among others) discuss phrenology in America. So too do biographies of significant phrenologists in (for example) the recent AMERICAN NATIONAL BIOGRAPHY and the older DICTIONARY OF SCIENTIFIC BIOGRAPHY. Articles in (for example) the DICTIONARY OF AMERICAN HISTORY also provide much information and many references.
-- Michael M. Sokal (email@example.com), March 27, 2001.
I don't know about phrenology's role in forensic psychiatry, but in the following article I document how thoroughly it was accepted in Christian circles, as a kind of model for contemporary attempts to build Christian psychologies.
Vande Kemp, H. (1998). Christian psychologies for the 21st century: Lessons from history. Journal of Psychology and Christianity, 17, 197- 209.
-- Hendrika Vande Kemp (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 21, 2001.
Another thought. There was a magazine for lawyers in the nineteenth century called THE GREEN BAG. I found a lot of material there relating to dreams in forensic psychiatry. If you check the Nineteenth Century Readers Guide you might find more there on phrenology in courts cases.
-- Hendrika Vande Kemp (email@example.com), May 23, 2001.