Psychognomy is a theory to describe human character defined by the Belgian Paul Bouts based on phrenology, combined with typology and graphology.


Derived from the Greek psūkhē ('soul') and Greek gnōmoniā ('observation')


Phrenology was popular in the 1800's. In Belgium, Paul Bouts (1900-1999) started working on phrenology from a pedagogical background, using the phrenological analysis to define an individual pedagogy. Combining phrenology with typology and graphology, he coined a global approach called Psychognomy.

His works Psychognomie and Les Grandioses Destinées individuelle et humaine dans la lumière de la Caractérologie et de l'Evolution cérébro-cranienne are considered standard works in the field. In the latter work, which treats the subject of paleoanthropology, Bouts developed a teleological and orthogenetical view on a perfecting evolution, from the paleo-encephalical skull shapes of prehistoric man, which he considered still prevalent in criminals and savages, towards future perfection.

Prof. Bouts was also active in Brazil, and in Canada, where he founded institutes for caracterology. He died on March 7, 1999. Since his death, Bouts's work has been continued by the Dutch foundation PPP (Per Pulchritudinem in Pulchritudine), operated by Anette Müller, a pupil of Bouts.

See also

Psychognomy is based on phrenology a method of determining personality traits based on the bumps and fissures of one's skull.

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