Friday, January 24, 2014

TBBB Chapter 2: Roots of the Theory

The main idea of chapter 2 was to present the history and evolution of brain theory. 

One of the early theories about the brain was the idea of phrenology. Phrenology is the idea that examining a person's skull was a way to assess the nature of his or her brain. This theory was developed by Fraz Joseph Gall in the early 19th century. 


Something that concerns me in this chapter is that phrenology was never really accepted by the scientific community "because certain of its fundamental assumptions are incorrect" yet it gained huge popularity among the public (Kosslyn and Miller 23). Phrenology was disproven by scientific research yet people still held onto the idea and believed it as truth until late in the 20th century. Makes me wonder why people seem to be skeptical of science. Why don't people seem to trust scientific evidence?

As a science teacher, I feel like I need to be better at helping students learn how to be skeptical of popular science. What does the scientific research actually say? What is research that is being generalized too much? What research and answers should I actually trust? How can I get my students to start asking, "I see that they are making a claim. Is that claim backed up by good scientific evidence? Does their reasoning for their claim make sense?"


I find this quote to be important. "Phrenology proved false, but not without value." (Kosslyn and Miller 24). Even though it bothers me that people hold on to false ideas for far to long, I like the fact that the scientist still found value in the false idea. By proving a theory wrong they were able to develop a better more sound theory. They were able to build on the idea that phrenology broke "the mind down into components" (Kossly and Miller 24). Phrenology became the start of the idea that functions in the brain are localized. Pierre Paul Broca conducted several studies on patients will brain damage to help give evidence to the idea of localization of brain functions.


*Fun Fact: The brain doesn't have any pain receptors.


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