ITALIAN UNIVERSITY professor and criminologist, who became renowned worldwide for his studies and theories in the field of characterology, or the relation between mental and physical characteristics. Highlighted the importance of the scientific study of the criminal
mind, a field which became known as criminal anthropology.
Studied at the universities of Padua, Vienna, and Paris, and was later (1862-1876) a professor of psychiatry at the University of Pavia and of forensic medicine and hygiene (1876), psychiatry (1896) and criminal anthropology (1906) at the University of Turin. He was also the director of a mental asylum in Pesaro, Italy.
Lombroso was highly influential in Europe (and also in Brazil) among criminologists and jurists. Advocated humane treatment of criminals and limitations on the use of the death penalty.
Early in his career Lombroso was a staunch materialist and admitted in his work
After Death - What?:
"If ever there was an individual in the world opposed to spiritism by virtue of scientific education, and I may say, by instinct, I was that person. I had made it the indefatigable pursuit of a lifetime to defend the thesis that every force is a property of matter and the soul an emanation of the brain."
He was later forced to considerably alter his views after extensive study of the phenomena of
Eusapia Palladino and later
"I am ashamed and grieved at having opposed with so much tenacity the possibility of the so-called spiritistic facts..."
Source (with minor modifications):
An Encyclopaedia of Psychic Science by Nandor Fodor (1934).