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Francis Joseph Gall

Gall, Francis Joseph, 1758–1828, Austrian anatomist and founder of phrenology. He devoted most of his life to a minute study of the nervous system, especially the brain. With the collaboration of a favorite pupil, John Caspar Spurzheim (1776–1832), he incorporated his research into a four-volume work and atlas that appeared from 1810 to 1819. Gall demonstrated that the white matter of the brain consists of nerve fibers, and he launched the doctrine of localization in parts of the brain of various mental processes. Derided for his later involvement with the pseudoscience of phrenology, he left Austria but was received with honors in France and died a wealthy man in Paris. Spurzheim carried the teachings of Gall to England and the United States, also with great success.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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