Phrenology

Feeling bumps sounds really interesting until you realise that the only bumps you are allowed to feel are the ones on the skull.

If you have ever described someone as an 'egg-head' you are already well on the way to being an expert in the esoteric art of Phrenology. The ovoid or 'egg' shaped skull is supposed to signify an intellectual nature. A round head shows a positive but restless nature and the faithful old square head shows a solid, reliable personality.

The main advantage of the science, according to dedicated phrenologists, is that it helps you tell an idiot (no forehead) from a genius (lots and lots of forehead). You can't help feeling there are more obvious ways of telling.

Like palmistry it is complicated, with over 40 tiny areas on each side of the head to be taken into account. If you find a bump in a specific area it shows a capacity or a personality trait. It is, of course, totally impossible to remember them, and even the experts could not tell whether a bump is in the area of Combativeness (an ability to punch someone's head in) or fractions of an inch away in Conjugality (an ability to be faithful in love and the desire to get married).

You can use a bit of pseudo-science by talking at length about the different hemispheres of the brain. In phrenology the areas of interest are duplicated on both sides of the skull so if you find a bump on one side of the head and not on the other you can make great play of it. The left side of the brain deals with speech and reasoning while the right side deals with spatial awareness. Find the Benevolence bump on the left side of the skull (generosity) but not on the right, and you could suggest that person talks a lot about being generous but their hand can't find its way to their pocket.

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