(from the Greek physis – “nature”, in this context – “external appearance, given by nature”, and gnomon – “thought”, “ability to cognize”) – is not scientifically substantiated doctrine, according to which, features and facial expressions and features of the structure of the body can get information about the spiritual qualities and health status of the individual.

Emotional perception of a person’s face, identification and interpretation of his appearance took place at all times. This is reflected in various folklore works, as well as in the information that fortune-tellers and healers used in their practice. The art of reading the Bedouin people was called kiyyafa, the ancient Slavs – the human mind, Muslims – firasat, the Chinese – xyenzhenso or xiangfa, the Japanese – ninso, etc.


The results of observations that allow us to identify the relationship between the external appearance of a person and his spiritual qualities were used in the works of ancient philosophers and writers. For the first time the term “physiognomy” is found in the works of the “father of medicine” of Hippocrates and the Greek philosopher Aristotle. Today these types of physiognomy are distinguished:

– ethnological (from the Greek ethnos – “people” and logos – “teaching”) – studies communication external appearance of a person with living conditions (surrounding landscape, climate, temperature regime, etc.). Described in the work of Hippocrates “On air, waters and localities” and in the works of Greek philosophers Xenophon, Cicero, Plato;

– astrological (from the Greek astrum – “star”, logos – “doctrine”) – focuses attention on the connection between celestial objects (stars, planets, zodiac signs) and parts of the face. Reflected in the works of the Italian philosopher and physician D. Cardano and the natural philosopher and naturalist, the German doctor KG. Carusa;

– geometric, based on the writings of E. Ledo (France). This physiologist identifies and characterizes 5 geometric types of faces (triangular, quadrangular, oval, round and conical), each of which is further subdivided into 3 classes (pure or basic, long and short);

– mimic, the followers of which (such as P. Kamper, C. Bell and G. Duchene, Charles Darwin, IM Sechenov, IA Sikorsky) argue that the person’s face is not so much the traits of his character , how many emotions and feelings he expresses;

– pathological, concentrating attention on the diagnosis of possible diseases (physical or mental) in appearance of a person. For example, the German psychologist and psychiatrist E. Krechmer argued that people of athletic build are prone to epilepsy, and normostenics (individuals belonging to the picnic type) are more likely to suffer from psychoses and depressions;

– ethological (from the group etos – “custom”, “habit” and logos – “teaching”) – studies various types of human behavior in certain situations (focusing on gestures, facial expressions, etc.).

In the Russian language the word “physiognomy” came from the Greek language.

There is no consensus on this. Some researchers (in particular IA Sikorsky) believe that the word “physiognomy” really was borrowed from the Greek language, and this term is an abbreviation of “physiognomonica”, used in the meaning of “external signs used for recognition.”

According to another version, originally in Russian appeared the word “physiognomy”, borrowed from the French (french physionomie – “face”, “facial expression”) and for some time was used as a synonym for the word “physiognomy” to denote the art of recognizing the characteristics of a person’s character on facial features. And only with time the word “physiognomy” began to be called the person, and instead of “physiognomy” the term “physiognomy” began to be used.

And, finally, there is an opinion that the word “physiognomy” was introduced into the Russian writer, poet, historian NM. Karamzin, who mentioned in his book The Letters of a Russian Traveler, the work of a theologian, poet and writer from Switzerland, IK.Lafatera “Physiognomic fragments” and, thus, awakened the interest of Russian authors in this branch of knowledge. However, it should be borne in mind that much earlier writers (especially prose writers and playwrights), wanting to reveal more or less character traits, gave their heroes certain external features and features of facial expressions, poses and gestures.

The subject of studying physiognomy is a person’s face.

In different periods of time the term “physiognomy” was given a different meaning. In ancient times, the whole body was the object of physiognomy (or physiognomy) (the facial expression, skin condition, proportionality of parts of the body, etc.), which was positioned as the physiological basis of the character and soul qualities of the individual. And often to justify a particular point of view, researchers of those times cited the characteristic muzzles of animals as examples.

Nowadays physiognomy is divided into several areas of knowledge. Gestures and facial expressions are the subject of kinesika study (from the kinesis group – “movement”); movement of the eye during communication studies the oculist. Physiognomy has really narrowed the circle of interests, and deals primarily with the interpretation of certain features of the human face. And within the given discipline separate directions were allocated. For example, forehead lines are studying metoscopy.

The connection between the structure of the surface of the skull (in the opinion of the Austrian anatomist and physician JF Gall, reflecting the structure of the brain, the hypertrophy or underdevelopment of which is the cause of the manifestation of certain mental properties of the individual) and the qualities of a person try to discover phrenology (from phren – spirit “,” reason “and logos -” word “,” teaching “). This pseudoscience was very popular at the beginning of the XIX century. and is practically forgotten after, with the development of neurophysiology, scientists have proved the inconsistency of Y.F. Gall.

Physiognomy takes into account only facial features and congenital markings.

Mechanical damage is not taken into account. Wrong opinion. Of course, first of all, when analyzing facial features take into account their shape, size and location, and pay attention to skin color, birthmark and birthmarks, bulges and dents. However, acne, warts, scars and bruises, traces of plastic surgery (rhinoplasty, blepharoplasty, lipofilling, botox etc.) and cosmetic procedures (for example, plucking of eyebrows), as well as lines and wrinkles formed next to or directly on the site of a bruise, scar, etc.


The most beautiful faces, predicting the happy destiny of man – are perfectly symmetrical.

This is not quite true. Firstly, ideally symmetrical faces are extremely rare, as evidenced by a study in which the person’s face was divided in half, and each of the resulting halves was added to its mirror image. As a result, not two copies of the subject were obtained, but an image of two different people, quite unlike the image that was the subject of the study. Secondly, not always absolutely symmetrical faces are considered the most beautiful – on the contrary, a small asymmetry is regarded by others as an expression of individuality, while an ideally symmetrical appearance seems ordinary and uninteresting. And, finally, physiognomists evaluate the symmetrical face in different ways. Some argue that the owners of symmetrical people are strong health, successful, attractive to the opposite sex. Others, on the contrary, believe that asymmetry (in the side of the physiological norm) is a sign of success and energy, and the maximum symmetry of traits is peculiar to people only at the threshold of death.

Studying the appearance of the interlocutor, representatives of different nationalities emphasize the different parts of his face.

This is indeed so.According to the research, the Europeans pay the most attention to the visual study of the eyes and mouth of a new acquaintance, while Asians are focused on the area of ​​the interlocutor’s nose. And both are right – scientists say that the information genetically embedded in a person is most vividly displayed in the area of ​​the corners of the mouth (to which the Europeans are so attentive) and the tip of the nose (which first of all is learned by the inhabitants of Asian countries).

Vertical wrinkle, located in the center of the forehead – a sign of severe fate and poverty.

This is not quite true. The aforementioned line, which is called a “hanging needle” for physiognomists in China, is really positioned as an omen of problems in marital relations and situations that threaten the personal safety of a person whose forehead there is such a sign. However, firstly, such a line does not predict poverty. On the contrary, it speaks of the intellectuality and success of a person – most often the “hanging needle” can be seen on the forehead of prominent actors and politicians. Secondly, in the presence of compensating features (the classical shape of the nose, eye, eyebrow), the effect of the “hanging needle” can be minimized.

Three vertical lines between the eyebrows – a sign that a person can occupy a high position in society.

It depends on how these lines look. If they are even, the above statement is true. However, if the lines mentioned are twisted – the person, most likely, has some mental deviations, is prone to violence and illegal actions.

If the forehead is crossed by one clear horizontal line – a person will live a noble and happy life.

Yes, it is. But you should carefully analyze the location of the line. The closer it is to the eyebrows – the greater the risk for a person at an early age to get into an unpleasant situation.

Physiognomy can help to form an opinion on the future partner.

According to physiognomists, some lines on the face can really testify to the temperament of the individual and how happy he will be in marriage. For example, wrinkles that depart from the outer corner of the eye and are called “fish tail” or “goose paws”, expose a person who is loving, not inclined to keep adultery, and also cunning and successful in business.

The same lines (in case they have clearly manifested by the age of 20, and some of them are bent upward) indicate that marriages in the life of this individual will be quite frequent (like divorce). Unhappy marriage is predicted by 3 vertical lines located under the eyes of a man, as well as an enlarged middle and slightly flattened back of the nose, horizontally intersected by small wrinkles (this feature of the structure of the nose is also a sign of future material difficulties).

In addition, physiognomists recommend paying attention to the ears of the future partner. In nature, a voluptuous, inclined to infidelity ears, most likely, will be flat, small, their inner rim will be turned outward. A woman who has similar to the male’s large ears with poorly developed lobe and fuzzy relief, most likely, is inclined to same-sex love.

Studying the eyes and interpreting the view of a person can give a lot of information about it.

Indeed, the eyes can tell not only about the nature and temperament, but also about the intellectual abilities, life experience, acquired and hereditary diseases. For example, if the upper eyelids of a person are constantly swollen – a person has lost a purpose in life, energy and ambition. However, physiognomists claim that information of this kind is best obtained from a person who crossed the 40-year boundary, since it is from this age that the personal signs imprinted in eyes, acquire stability.

The intellectual’s view is always clear, such a person is very active, constantly on the move.

Not necessary.First, an intelligent person is often characterized by unshakable calmness (both emotional and spiritual), so it can give the impression of being very inactive and even sleepy. He may well lose in the speed of reaction to someone more agile, but his final conclusions are basically true, while the more active and mobile opponent does not always assess the situation correctly, and acts unmistakably.

Secondly, pure and clear look is not necessarily a sign of giftedness. Many brilliant poets, composers, artists looked at the world through the eyes of a scattered dreamer. In addition, even the most talented person can experience moments of fatigue, depression, suffer from any physical ailments – at such moments his eyes become heavy, blunt and cloudy, but this is not at all evidence of the intellectual insolvency of the individual.

The longer the nose – the more temperamental a person.

Physiognomists do believe that a long nose is a sign of a proud, temperamental, active, authoritative and highly sexually active individual. The saggy tip of the nose (referred to as the “hanging gall,” meaning the so-called “ink nut” -a growth that occurs on the leaves of plants under the action of bacteria, fungi, etc.), in their opinion, indicates the hypersexuality of the personality, occupying a high position in society. At the same time, this attribute exposes a person potentially capable of betrayal.

Hanging forehead and protruding lower jaw are external signs of the offender.

This opinion was expressed by the criminalist Cesare Lombroso (Italy). However, modern researchers have recognized the inconsistency of this hypothesis, based on an analysis of the external appearance of numerous criminals. Some violators of the law (especially scammers and rapists) have a very pleasant appearance, are sociable and open – that’s why people trust them, not suspecting that such a sweet and attractive person intends to encroach on their money or honor.

The bigger the skull (and the size of the brain, respectively) is the more gifted person.

There is no direct relationship between the parameters mentioned, as craniologists (craniology – from the Greek kranion – “skull” and logos – “teaching”) say. Usually the adult brain weighs 1400-1600 gr. The brain of talented Russian writers Turgenev weighed a little more – 2012 gr, the brain of no less talented and famous French writer Anatole France – 1180 gr, and the brain of Einstein – 1230 grams.

Blonde people are quiet good-hearted.

Blondes (as well as fair-haired and dark-blond) people are really often characterized by kind-hearted temper, shyness and shyness, a tendency to fantasize. However, their desire to hide from the brutal reality in some cases is manifested either in the form of depressiveness, restlessness and sociopathy, or in the form of aggression and impudence towards others.

In physiognomy apply several different methods of assessing facial features.

This is indeed so. Many ways to analyze the appearance of a person are divided into 2 large groups:

– a microanalysis whose purpose is to determine the qualities of a person’s personality according to his appearance;

– macro analysis (macro perspective) – methods that allow in the process of analyzing the appearance of an individual to determine what significant events and at what point in time can occur in his life, and also to reveal the potential level of a person’s success in professional activities, personal life, etc. .

In the process of diagnosing this kind of person, a person “zoned”, i.e. is divided into several parts in different ways. For example, when diagnosing a health condition, plastic surgery uses topographic division of the face.And to study each of the selected parts use different methods: iridodiagnostics concentrates on the state of the human eye, hair – the subject of trichology, auriculodiagnosis is carried out on the auricle, etc.


Astrologers divide the face of a person into 7 parts, each of which is influenced by a certain planet or sign of the Zodiac (for example, the nose is in the power of Mars and Libra, the chin is the sphere of influence of Saturn and Pisces, etc.). In addition, vertical (on the left and right sides) and horizontal (3 equal parts) face division are used, and so on.

Having studied several treatises on physiognomy, you can easily determine the nature and nature of the interlocutor.

Wrong opinion. Firstly, as in any other sphere that deals with interpersonal communication and, even more so, the definition of explicit or hidden qualities of the vis-a-vis character (especially if he carefully conceals them), in physiognomy, even a large amount of information drawn from books will not replace personal experience . Secondly, it should be borne in mind that the analysis of certain facial features should be carried out only in people who have reached a certain age (some features are clearly defined only after 40 years). Thirdly, even an experienced physiognomist is not immune from errors caused by subjective perception of others, upbringing, cultural peculiarities, beliefs, etc.

For example, the nature of the interlocutor is incorrectly assessed because of the beauty effect (beautiful people, in the opinion of others, are kind, wise, healthy, honest, etc., although in reality this opinion is not always correct), the effect of stereotyping in case the person at the first acquaintance behaved inappropriately), etc.

And, finally, through increased work on oneself, a person can improve character traits, although external signs will remain practically unchanged and again may serve as a source of error. A striking example of this is the legend of Socrates: when a physiognomist suspected the philosopher of bad inclinations, he replied that in his youth he really did not possess the best character. However, in the process of self-knowledge and work on himself, he managed to improve his temper.

In China, physiognomy has long been revered as a science.

The first mention of the art of determining the character of a person and predicting his fate in appearance (Xiangshu, xiangfa and xianzhenso) was found in the treatise Zuozhuan, dating back to the 5th century BC, and these “arts” were considered one of the branches of medicine. However, already in the III century BC. Some philosophers (for example, Xun Tzu) questioned the practicality and consistency of this science.

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