Cortical Control

  • David Ottoson


As we have seen (p. 219), at the end of the eighteenth century evidence was accumulated that the brain was made up of many functional units. It was on the basis of this evidence that the phrenology of Gall developed. Gall established the idea that the brain was made up of multiple organs, each representing a mental or moral activity. Although Gall’s theories were based upon erroneous premises, his idea of functional localisation was correct. Unfortunately, this concept was obscured by the uncritical activities of his followers. It is therefore not surprising that the ideas of Gall encountered powerful opposition. The most harsh opponent was the French physiologist, Flourens, who did not believe in functional localisation and maintained that intellectual faculties were represented diffusely in the whole brain. He disputed the idea advanced by an Italian anatomist, Rolando, that the cerebral hemispheres controlled motor functions which he considered as being ‘vague, confused and incoherent phenomena’.


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Copyright information

© D. Ottoson 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Ottoson
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Physiology IIKarolinska InstitutetStockholmSweden

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