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The Face as Diversity

What Was the Medical-Scientific Value of Lombrosian Morphoanthropology?

Chirchiglia, Domenico, MR; Chirchiglia, Pasquale, MD; Marotta, Rosa, MD

The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease: December 2018 - Volume 206 - Issue 12 - p 962–963
doi: 10.1097/NMD.0000000000000908
Review Article

The face seen as an element of diversity. The ugliness of a face or a body and deformities were considered in 1800 as symbols of atavism, regression to being primates, or expression of inferior beings. The Italian physician Cesare Lombroso was the author of the concept of morphoanthropology, according to which the human being is judged on the basis of his or her physical connotations. An individual with ugly features of the face and body would be brought in as a criminal. Time has dissolved the value of Lombrosian theories, and scientific research has highlighted the influence of various factors in the genesis of crime. Genetic, biological, socioenvironmental factors, regulated by neurophysiology, which adds the effect of antagonism between the prefrontal cortex and the limbic cortex, explain the tendency to commit crime.

Department of Neurosurgery, University of Catanzaro, Catanzaro, Italy.

Send reprint requests to Domenico Chirchiglia, MD, Department of Neurosurgery, University of Catanzaro, Campus Germaneto, Viale Europa, 88100 Catanzaro, Italy. E-mail:

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