Phrenological bust by LN FowlerPhrenological bust by LN FowlerThe History of Phrenology on the Web

by John van Wyhe

George Combe's A System of Phrenology, 5th edn, 2 vols. 1853.

Vol. 1: [front matter], Intro, Nervous system, Principles of Phrenology, Anatomy of the brain, Division of the faculties 1.Amativeness 2.Philoprogenitiveness 3.Concentrativeness 4.Adhesiveness 5.Combativeness 6.Destructiveness, Alimentiveness, Love of Life 7.Secretiveness 8.Acquisitiveness 9.Constructiveness 10.Self-Esteem 11.Love of Approbation 12.Cautiousness 13.Benevolence 14.Veneration 15.Firmness 16.Conscientiousness 17.Hope 18.Wonder 19.Ideality 20.Wit or Mirthfulness 21.Imitation.
Vol. 2: [front matter], external senses, 22.Individuality 23.Form 24.Size 25.Weight 26.Colouring 27.Locality 28.Number 29.Order 30.Eventuality 31.Time 32.Tune 33.Language 34.Comparison, General observations on the Perceptive Faculties, 35.Causality, Modes of actions of the faculties, National character & development of brain, On the importance of including development of brain as an element in statistical inquiries, Into the manifestations of the animal, moral, and intellectual faculties of man, Statistics of Insanity, Statistics of Crime, Comparative phrenology, Mesmeric phrenology, Objections to phrenology considered, Materialism, Effects of injuries of the brain, Conclusion, Appendices: No. I, II, III, IV, V, [Index], [Works of Combe].


THIS organ is situated on each side of that of Self-Esteem, and commences about half an inch from the lambdoidal suture. When large, it produces a remarkable fulness and breadth in the upper and back part of the head. From its situation, it cannot be brought into line, so as to be represented successfully by figures, similar to those used in illustration of the other organs. The reader may, however, inspect the valuable work of Dr Spurzheim, just referred to, PL XVI. fig. 1 ; XXII. I ; xxiv. 2 ; xxvii. 1 ; and particularly xxviii. 1, representing the head of Lalande.

When Dr Gall was occupied in making observations on


the organ of Self-Esteem, he met with a woman in a lunatic asylum who conceived herself to be the Queen of France. He expected to find the organ of that sentiment largely developed ; but, in place of this, there was a very distinct hollow in the situation of it, and a round and considerable prominence presented itself on each side. This circumstance at first occasioned to him considerable embarrassment. He soon perceived, however, that the character of this -woman's insanity differed materially from that of men alienated through pride. The latter were grave, calm, imperious, elevated, arrogant ; and they affected a masculine majesty. Even in the fury of their fits, all their motions and expressions bore the impress of the sentiment of domination which they imagined themselves to exercise over others. In the patients insane through vanity, on the other hand, the whole manner was different. There was then a restless frivolity, an inexhaustible talkativeness, the most affected forwardness ; eagerness to announce high birth and boundless riches, promises of favour and honour-in a word, a mixture of affectation and absurdity. From that time, Dr Gall perceived the difference between the sentiment of Self-Esteem and that of Love of Approbation.

He draws, with great accuracy, the distinction between pride, which is an abuse of Self-Esteem, and vanity, an abuse of Love of Approbation. The proud man, says he, is imbued with a sentiment of his own superior merit, and, from the summit of his grandeur, treats with contempt or indifference all other mortals ; the vain man attaches the utmost importance to the opinions entertained of him by others, and seeks with eagerness to gain their approbation. The proud man expects that mankind will come to him and acknowledge his merit ; the vain man knocks at every door to draw attention towards him, and supplicates for the smallest portion of honour. The proud man despises those marks of distinction, which on the vain confer the most perfect delight. The proud man is disgusted by indiscreet eulogiums ;


the vain man inhales with ecstasy the incense of applause, although profusely offered, and by no very skilful hand.1

Although Dr Gall has thus strikingly discriminated between pride and vanity, he dwells at greater length on the abuses of this faculty, under the names of vanity, ambition, and the love of glory, than on the primitive sentiment itself. To Dr Spurzheim is due the merit of elucidating the ultimate principle of many of the faculties, and of directing attention to their legitimate spheres of activity ; and, in particular, he has done this in regard to the one under consideration.

This faculty produces the desire of approbation, admiration, praise, and fame. Hence it renders us anxious to please those whose approval is valued, and makes us attentive to the opinions which others entertain of us. The object of its desire is approbation in, general, without determining the means or the manner of acquiring it. The direction in which its gratification will be sought, will depend on the faculties with which it is combined in the individual. If the moral sentiments and intellect are vigorous, it will prompt to moral emulation and the desire of honourable fame. It may thus animate the poet, the painter, the orator, the warrior, and the statesman. In some individuals it attains the height of a passion, and then glory is pursued at the hazard of life and of every enjoyment which it affords, and fame is sought for even in the cannon's mouth. " The-mistoclemilium," says Cicero, " summum Athenis virum, dixisse aiunt, cum ex eo qusereretur, quod acroama, aut cujus vocem libentissime audiret? Ejus, à quo sua virtus optimè prsedicaretur.'1 Cicero himself seems to have possessed this sentiment in a very high degree : " Trahimur omnes laudis studk,'' says he, " et optimus quisque maxime gloria ducitur. Ipsi illi philosophi, etiam in illis libellis quos de contemncnda gloria scribunt, nomen suum inscribunt ; in eo ipso, in quo prjedicationem nobilitatemque despiciunt, prae-

1 Gall Sur les Fonctions du Cerveau, tome iv. p. 297.


dicari de se ac nominari volunt."1 The same ideas are thus expressed by Montaigne : " Of all the follies of the world, that which is most universally received is the solicitude of reputation and glory ; which we are fond of to that degree, as to abandon riches, peace, life, arid health, which are effectual and substantial goods, to pursue this vain phantom and empty word. And of all the irrational humours of men, it should seem that even the philosophers themselves have the most ado, and do the latest disengage themselves from this, as the most resty and obstinate of all human follies."2 The organ is very large in the American Indians ;3 and the love of decorations and ornaments, whether these consist of stars, garters, and medals, or of tatooed faces, bored noses, and eagles' feathers, springs from it. The faculty is strongly displayed by the Cingalese.4

If the lower propensities predominate, the individual may be pleased by the reputation of being the best fighter or the greatest drinker of his circle. " The disgusting scenes,'' says Dr Vimont, " which accompanied the French Revolution, are still an enigma to many historians and foreigners, who do not know how to reconcile such acts with the naturally soft and benevolent dispositions of the French. Nothing, however, admits of a more easy explanation, if we attend to the predominating qualities of the principal leaders of this great drama. The heads of Robespierre, Fouquier, Tinville, Marat, &c., shew an enormous development of the organs of the propensities, particularly of that of Love of Approbation, with a feeble development of those of the moral sentiments. They cared little about the means, provided they enabled them to accomplish their objects."5

There is a great difference in regard to the degree of en-

1 Oratio pro Archia. 2 Essays, B. I. Ch. 41, Cotton's Translation.

3 See Phren. Journ., ii. 537.

4 Phren. Journ., vii. 639. Various illustrations of Love of Approbation will be found in vol.ii. p. 64 ; viii. 590, 592, 428 ; ix. 66, 414.

5 Traité de Phrénologie, tome ii. chap. x. sect. 1.


dowment of this faculty, in different individuals. Some watch, with the most animated anxiety, our every motion and every look, and intuitively feel when we approve or disapprove. When we approve, the eye sparkles, the countenance opens, and the individual approaches us with a pleasing courtesy, expressive at once of the pleasure he has received from our approbation, and of his desire to retain it. He, on the other hand, in whom the faculty is naturally feeble, shews, by the undisturbed fixture of his countenance, that our censure and applause are alike unimportant to him. When we censure, he stares us in the face with calm indifference, or gapes in stupid wonder.

A due endowment of this faculty is indispensable to an amiable character. It gives the desire to be agreeable to others ;-it is the drill-serjeant of society, and admonishes us when we deviate too widely from the line of march of our fellows ;-it induces us to suppress numberless little manifestations of selfishness, and to restrain many peculiarities of temper and disposition, from the dread of incurring disapprobation by giving offence ;-it is the butt upon which wit strikes, when, by means of ridicule, it drives us from, our follies. To be laughed at is worse than death to a person in whom this sentiment is strong.

The feeling which is most commonly experienced when this organ is large, even when favourably combined with other organs, is anxiety about what the world will think of us. A youth in whom it is powerful cannot do this thing, because every body will look at him ; or cannot do the other, because people will wonder. In older persons, it produces a fidgety anxiety about the opinion of the public, or of the circle of acquaintances who compose the public to them. If Self-Esteem also is powerful, they imagine themselves continually before the public eye, and that the world is occupied with little else than weighing their motives, speculating on their conduct, and adjusting the precise point in the scale of importance and respectability at which they ought to be placed. A great portion of this feeling, however, is the mere inspira-


tion of great Self-Esteem and Love of Approbation in their own heads. The public are too much engrossed with themselves and their own affairs, to bestow so minute and permanent a degree of attention upon an individual. This anxiety about public opinion, when too great, is subversive of happiness and independence. It renders the mere dicta of the society in which the individual moves, his code of morality, religion, taste, and philosophy ; and incapacitates him from upholding truth and virtue, if disowned by those whom he imagines influential or genteel. The want of a philosophy of mind allows wide scope to the aberrations of this faculty ; for, in the absence of well-defined principles of taste and conduct, individuals of high pretension dictate, with success, fashions however absurd, which the herd of mankind follow.

The characteristic difference between the disposition to oblige conferred by this sentiment, and the feeling of genuine kindness which springs from Benevolence, is, that Love of Approbation prompts us to do -most for those who least require our aid, whereas Benevolence takes exactly the opposite direction. Men, in general, care little for the approbation of their inferiors, their own household, or those of whom they are altogether independent ; and he whose exertions are inspired chiefly by this faculty, will do extremely little to benefit them. To serve or please the great and the powerful, on the other hand, or strangers whose voice may raise or depress his fame, he will make the most animated exertions. Persons, accordingly, in whom Love of Approbation is very strong, and Benevolence and Conscientiousness deficient, are frequently the most agreeable acquaintances to those who are altogether independent of them ; " they smile on all who care not for their frowns," while they neglect or torment their inferiors and equals.

No faculty is more prone to run into excess than Love of Approbation ; and hence it has served as a fertile theme to the satirist in every age. The Characters of Theophrastus


contain some happy sketches in ridicule of its inordinate manifestations. In Young's Love of Fame, also, there are many striking passages descriptive of the absurdities into which it leads mankind. The diversified forms in which its activity appears, are well exposed by the following lines in Satire First.

" The love of praise, howe'er conceal'd by art,
Reigns, more or less, and glows in every heart :
The proud, to gain it, toils on toils endure ;
The modest shun it, but to make it sure.
O'er globes and sceptres, now on thrones it swells,
Now trims the midnight lamp in college cells ;
'Tis Tory, Whig ; it plots, prays, preaches, pleads,
Harangues in senates, squeaks in masquerades :...
It aids the dancer's heel, the writer's head,
And heaps the plain with mountains of the dead ;
Nor ends with life, but nods in sable plumes,
Adorns our hearse, and flatters on our tombs."

This faculty is too much cultivated in education, by being almost universally appealed to as the chief stimulus to exertion and good behaviour. In infant-schools, however, conducted on Mr Wilderspin's plan, prizes and place-taking are dispensed with, and the result is most satisfactory. It is only where the subjects of study are unsuitable to the minds of children, or improperly taught, that Love of Approbation requires to be strongly appealed to.1

Combined with Secretiveness large, and Conscientiousness deficient, it prompts its possessor to pay to others those unmeaning compliments which pass current in society, and which most persons receive well when addressed to themselves, but treat with ridicule when bestowed lavishly on others.

When the development of Love of Approbation is excessive, while the regulating organs are deficient, it is the cause of great unhappiness. It renders the little girl at

1 Phren. Journ. v. 613 ; x. 9 ; and Simpson's Necessity of Popular Education, p. 148.


school miserable, if her dress and the style of living of her parents are not equal to those of the parents of her associates. It overwhelms the artist, author, or public speaker, with misery, if a rival is praised in the journals in higher terms than himself. A lady is tormented by perceiving in the possession of her acquaintance, finer dresses or equipages than her own. It excites the individual to talk of himself, his affairs and connexions, so as to communicate to the auditor vast ideas of his greatness or goodness ; in short, vanity is one form of its abuse. " Sir," says Dr Johnson, " Goldsmith is so much afraid of being unnoticed, that he often talks, merely lest you should forget that he is in the company.'1 When not combined with Conscientiousness and Benevolence, it leads to feigned professions of respect and friendship ; and many manifest it by promises and invitations, never intended to be fulfilled or accepted. It, as well as Self-Esteem,-prompts to the use of the first person ; but its tone is that of courteous solicitation, while the I of Self-Esteem is presumptuous, and full of pretension.

When, on the other hand, the organ is deficient, and the sentiment, in consequence, is feeble, the individual cares little about the opinion entertained of him by others ; and, provided they have not the power to punish his person, or abridge his possessions, he is capable of laughing at their censures, and contemning their applause. Persons of this sort, if endowed with the selfish propensities in a strong degree, constitute what are termed " impracticable" men; their whole feelings are concentrated in self, and they are dead to the motive which might induce them to abate one iota of their own pretensions to oblige others. If actuated by any strong passion, and endowed with intellect, it is astonishing what they are sometimes able to accomplish in attaining their objects. Strangers to ceremony, and indifferent to censure, they meet with a thousand rebuffs which they never feel, and are loaded with an hundred indignities which never affect them : free from the restraints which delicacy imposes upon others, they practise upon the benevolence, the disposition to


oblige, or the interest, of mankind, and succeed in circumstances in which a sensitive mind would have found only obstacles unsurmountable.

Philosophers and acute observers of human nature have long distinguished between pride and vanity ;l but, nevertheless, no error is more frequently committed by ordinary minds than to confound them ; and no mistake is more common than to imagine that beaux and belles, and all who are very tasteful and particular about their personal appearance or equipages, are necessarily extremely conceited. A large Love of Approbation and much Ideality, joined with Individuality, which produces attention to details, and Order, will, in general, give rise to the passion for neatness, propriety, and ornament ; but such a combination, instead of producing a proud or conceited character, inspires with the very opposite dispositions. I rarely see a dandy who is not at bottom a polite, obliging, good-natured, but probably weak individual ; and it is only when large Self-Esteem, which is not an indispensable ingredient in beauxism, is added to the combination, that the common opinion will be justified by the result.

This faculty corresponds to the Desire of Esteem of Dr Reid and Mr Stewart, and to the Desire of Glory of Dr Thomas Brown. The observations of these philosophers on its functions are generally correct ; but here, as in the case of Self-Esteem, they treat chiefly of its heroic manifestations, and present us with almost no views of its operations in the more interesting theatre of private life.

The faculty, when powerful, gives a tendency to carry the head backward, and a little to the side ; it communicates a soft soliciting tone to the voice, puts smiles into the countenance, and produces that elegant line of beauty in the lips which resembles Apollo's bow.

On 15th May 1839, I was introduced to James J. Mapes, Esq., a scientific gentleman, residing in 461 Broadway, New

1 " Pride makes us esteem ourselves ; vanity makes us desire the esteem of others. It is just to say, as Dean Swift has done, that a man is too proud to be vain,''-Blair's Lectures, lect. 10.


York. His daughter fell from a window when she was about four years of age ; her head struck against the iron-bar which extended from the railing to the wall, and the skull was extensively fractured, but without rupturing the pia mater, or doing any serious injury to the brain. She was attended by Dr Mott ; a part of the skull was removed from the superior-posterior portion of the head, the integuments were drawn over the wound, and the child recovered. The part of the skull removed was that which covers the organs of Self-Esteem and Love of Approbation. She does not wear any plate over the wound ; but the hair over it, like that on the other parts of the head, is fine, and is kept short.

When I saw the child, she was eight years of age, healthy and intelligent ; and no external trace of the injury was visible to the eye. The form of her head was that of a superior female child : It was long, and moderately broad at the base ; Secretiveness, Love of Approbation, Self-Esteem, Cautiousness, and Firmness, are all large ; Benevolence and Veneration are well developed, and the anterior lobe was large. I saw the pieces of the skull which had been removed. They might be three and a half by three inches in superficial extent. The skull has not been replaced. On applying my hand, I felt the brain rising and falling with the respiration, and distinctly ascertained that the organs of Self-Esteem and Love of Approbation were denuded of the skull ; also a small part of Conscientiousness, and the posterior margin of Firmness. Her father mentioned that, before the accident, he considered her rather dull ; but her mother (whom also I had the pleasure of seeing) did not concur in this opinion ; both, however, agreed that since her recovery she had been acute, and fully equal to children of her own age in point of ability.

With the permission of her father and mother, I kept my hand for some minutes gently pressing-on the external integuments over the site of the injury, and distinctly felt a considerable movement, a swellingup and pulsation,1 in the organs

* I consider the swelling up and pulsation to have arisen from an increased flow of blood into the convolutions, as the accompaniment of their increased activity.


of Self-Esteem ; and the same movements, but in a less degree, in those of Love of Approbation. When I began to talk to the child, she was shy and bashful, and at first would scarcely speak. The vivid movements in Self-Esteem indicated that, amidst her extreme bashfulness, this organ was active. As I continued to converse with her, and succeeded in putting her at her ease, the movements in Self-Esteem decreased, while those in Love of Approbation continued. I spoke to her about her lessons and attainments, not in flattering terms, but with the design of exciting Self-Esteem ; and the movements increased. Again I soothed her, and they diminished. This was repeated, and the same results ensued. Her father gave her several questions in mental arithmetic to solve ; she was puzzled, and made an intellectual effort, and the peculiar movements in the organs of Self-Esteem and Love of Approbation ceased ; only a gentle and equal pulsation was felt. She solved the question, and we praised her : the peculiar movements in Self-Esteem and Love of Approbation returned and increased. This experiment was repeated at least four times, with the same results. I took out a piece of paper and began to write down notes, in pencil, of what had occurred. She looked at my writing ; and as all attention was now withdrawn from herself, and her mind was occupied intellectually in observing what I was doing. I placed my hand on the integuments, and only the gentle and regular pulsations of the arterial system were perceptible.

I am much indebted to Mr Mapes, the father of the child, for permitting me not only to see this very interesting case, but to publish his name and residence, so that my remarks may be verified, or corrected, if I have erred.

This case is replete with instruction in practical education. It tends, so far as one example can go, to prove that, by exercising the intellectual faculties, we do not necessarily excite the feelings ; and also that each feeling must be addressed by objects related to itself before it can be called into action1

1 Some years ago a similar case was reported by Mr John Gratton of Belfast in the Phrenological Journal, vol. ix. p. 473, and vol. x. p. 11.


As formerly mentioned, the French are remarkable for a large development of this organ, while the English excel in Self-Esteem. The influence of the Love of Approbation shews itself in the manners, institutions, and daily literature of France, in an extraordinary degree. Compliments and praises are the current coin of conversation ; and a late writer most justly observes, that, " in France, glory is the condiment to the whole feast of life, and the trumpet of fame is that which makes the sweetest music to their ears."l In private life also, an individual who has much Love of Approbation himself, is extremely prone to pay compliments to others, from an instinctive feeling of the pleasure of being praised, and to believe that in this way he renders himself highly agreeable.

The faculty is generally more active in women than in men ; and it is observed, that a greater number of women than of men become insane from this feeling. Dr Spurzheim mentions, that he had met with only one man who had become deranged from this cause. Its effects, when diseased, have already been described in the history of the discovery of the organ.2

The organ is possessed by the lower animals. The dog is extremely fond of approbation, and the horse displays the sentiment, not only in his sensibility to marks of affection, but in his spirit of emulation in the race. Dr Gall mentions, that, in the south of France, the peasants attach a bouquet to the mules when they have acquitted themselves well, and that the animals understand it as a mark of approbation, and feel afflicted when it is taken away. He mentions also, that he had a female monkey, who, on receiving a handkerchief, put it on as a robe, and took extraordinary delight in seeing it trail behind her as a train. In all these creatures the organ is largely developed.

The organ is large in Dr Hette, the Reverend Mr M,,

1 Edinburgh Review, Nov. 1820, p. 294.

2 See also Dr A. Combe's Observations on Menial Derangement, p. 174.



King Robert Brace, and Clara Fisher ; and deficient in D. Haggart and Dempsey. See Remarks on this faculty in Phrenological Journal, x. 160. The organ is regarded as established.

Vol. 1: [front matter], Intro, Nervous system, Principles of Phrenology, Anatomy of the brain, Division of the faculties 1.Amativeness 2.Philoprogenitiveness 3.Concentrativeness 4.Adhesiveness 5.Combativeness 6.Destructiveness, Alimentiveness, Love of Life 7.Secretiveness 8.Acquisitiveness 9.Constructiveness 10.Self-Esteem 11.Love of Approbation 12.Cautiousness 13.Benevolence 14.Veneration 15.Firmness 16.Conscientiousness 17.Hope 18.Wonder 19.Ideality 20.Wit or Mirthfulness 21.Imitation.
Vol. 2: [front matter], external senses, 22.Individuality 23.Form 24.Size 25.Weight 26.Colouring 27.Locality 28.Number 29.Order 30.Eventuality 31.Time 32.Tune 33.Language 34.Comparison, General observations on the Perceptive Faculties, 35.Causality, Modes of actions of the faculties, National character & development of brain, On the importance of including development of brain as an element in statistical inquiries, Into the manifestations of the animal, moral, and intellectual faculties of man, Statistics of Insanity, Statistics of Crime, Comparative phrenology, Mesmeric phrenology, Objections to phrenology considered, Materialism, Effects of injuries of the brain, Conclusion, Appendices: No. I, II, III, IV, V, [Index], [Works of Combe].

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