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The word phrenology has its origin in Greek words phren and logos. While phren means mind, logos means knowledge. Phrenology, therefore, means knowledge about the mind. Phrenology studies the personality traits and the mind of a person by scrutinizing the bumps and fissures in the skull or the head.

The idea behind phrenology dates back to the time of Aristotle who thought that there was a direct relationship between the shape of the head of a person with the behavior and traits of his personality.

Franz Joseph Gall, a Viennese physician, was the first person who publicly claimed that the shape and size of the human skull had direct bearing on the personal traits and intelligence of the human beings. It is believed that the shape of skull represents the traits of the brain.

Phrenology became a very popular field of study in Europe particularly in England, Australia and the United States in the nineteenth century.