NATS 1860 Note 10
- There was a distinction between animals and humans based on the size of
the head and brain
o What does this have to do with our humanness?
o Emotion = Neocortex has the ability to process and manage emotion.
People with lesions behave in a way where there is an
irrepressible emotion that becomes over whelming.
This state wasn’t always under control
o Normal people can manage their emotions.
o How are the traits reflective in human behaviours?
Can we attribute characteristics to groups based on their
o In a patriarchal society there will be an urge to look for a brain feature
that illustrates the social principle of sexism
This can have neutral or negative effects
Such as preconceived idea that women are less
intelligent than men, therefore, the weight of brains
might find that male brains are heavier than female
o Women have less brain matter, therefore are less
Frontal lobes are connected to intellect: the ability to make
judgments and decisions.
It’s important to look at this aspect of science to remind
us that our social biases might come in in ways that we
might not be able see until we look back at it in the
o It’s worth looking at.
- There are still throw-backs in today’s society because there is research
where all ideas are expressed
o The quality of their research should be allowed to reflect sexism and
Racism, Class, Gender and the Brain
- Tiedemann 19
o Lower brain weight for specimen from Africa not necessarily
indicative of lower intelligence for Africans
- Broca 19 th
o Disputed Tiedemann’s measurements and conclusions
o Educated people have bigger brains (medical students v. Servants)
o Intelligence more than just size (Cro-Magnon skull finds showed
larger brains as well as inferior races
o Small brains still an indication of inferiority
- Thurman 19 quoted Broca
o Education, superior social position = larger brain The Hottetot Venus (stuttering)
- Refers to her language of birth.
- She was a south African woman from Khoeknhoe people (bushmen)
- Travelled from Cape Town with Scotsman George Dunlop
- Displayed to public in England
o She would display herself in animal skins
o Sometimes have nudity
o There was a source of fascination with their bodies because their
butts were good
It’s disturbing that she co-participated in this display
- Moved to Paris after Dunlop’s death
- Recent research says that she co-participated into her movement to Europe
o She collaborated to some respected
- Examined by anatomist Georges Cuvier
- Skeleton and brain preserved (returned to South Africa 2002)
- Carl Vogt (1864) argues that brain hemispheres and posterior lobe is “human
type” while other lobes apelike
- Her remains are presently buried in a site marked for her
- This is an example of how human “types” are considered in the types.
Because of political relations, colonialism and others embedded in society,
the physical structure of this women is of interest to society, and it becomes a
place of holding space of justifying social events: colonialism.
o These people are different from us, we must be interested in these
o Explain the different circumstances we have in Europe in comparison
- She’s considered lower down in the human hierarchy because he creates her
brain and said it has “ape like” and “human like” features.
o They were a “transition” species or race.
o This interest is reflective of an effort to use science to harness biology
to explain and legitimate what is going on socially.
Intellect, Brain Size and Racism
- Morton 18 -19 th
o President of the Philadelphia Academy of Natural Sciences
o Intelligence related to cranial capacity
Collects 1000 skulls
o Western Europeans have largest skulls – ranked races
o Crania Americana 19 th
- Louis Agassiz 19 th
o Impressed with Morton’s data
o Challenged idea of Adam and Eve “single pair origin”
o Biological facts of inequality leading to confirmation of existing social
o If you use the genetics of mitochondria you can find the female
ancestor of every human being: this is Eve. When the egg fertilizes all of you material of the cell comes
from the mitochondrion.
o When Leuwenhoek used the microscope to look
at sperm he thought that perhaps the fetus
(embryo) was fully formed inside the head of the
This is reflective of society.
- Emil Huschke 19 – parietal lobes (temperament) larger in women, frontal
lobes (intelligence) larger in men
o Women are more emotional, and men are more intelligent
- Broca – men’s brains are heavier than women
o Women are, on the average, a little less intelligent than men,,,
o SCIENCE IS A MIRROR OF WHAT’S HAPPENING
- Le Bon 19 th
o Women’s brains closer in size to the gorilla’s
o The inferiority is so obvious that no one can contest it for a moment;
only its degree is worth discussion…They represent the most inferior
forms of evolution.
Brain Size and Mental Dysfunction
o Circumference less than 13 inches associated with idiocy
- Cesare Lombroso
o Criminal man 19
o Born criminals show physical and mental characteristics of primitive
Problems with this data
- Manipulated results
o Racial differences in brain characteristics not seen in blinded studies
Studies that want it for their specific purpose
There’s an inherited bias.
Blinded studies let you have an unbiased, because it doesn’t tell
the experimenter which skulls comes from which race.
Now, there is a clear distinctions
- Unreliable measurement methods
o Filling skulls with seeds allows for differences in degree of packing
- Body size affects brain size
- Nutrition affects brain size
- By the 20 patterns in the sulci and gyri could not be reliably connected with
genius – a variety of forms seen across races and abilities Francis Galton
- Cousin to Darwin
- Applied natural selection to human characteristics
- Eugenics – improve the quality of the human race through selection breeding
- 1869 He wrote Hereditary Genius
o Stop letting poor people have kids.
- He was the first person to do a composite photograph
o Tried to figure out what would represent facial doctor-like qualities
o Measuring human characteristics
o Requires large samples size and statistics
o Set up at 1884 London Health Exhibition
o Skull measurements included
o Response to sensory stimuli
o Galton wanted to manipulate this to see how eugenics would move on
to public policy
- Alfred Binet 19 -20 th
o Did not find consisted results in skull measurement studies and
o Looked for alternative measure
Found through children
Not about the forebrain, but ability to perform a variety of
o Intelligence as a collection of different abilities