dyslexiaa: You'll have to forgive me as I'm slightly unsure on the exact dates, however, it was in the 17th century. A man named William Harvey was studying the embryos of chickens and possibly deer. To little surprise, at that time, the church wasn't very fond of his studies but Charles I was, and was fairly intrigued, wanting Harvey to conduct more studies. However, Charles I was executed and England lost a leader who had an interest in experimental embryology. Why? Because the church at the time was strongly against it, and chased Harvey out of one area where he was doing research on chicken embryos. This was from the book entitled Mutants: On Genetic Variety and the Human Body by Armand Marie Leroi.
Another example, demonology (study of demons) which was practiced alongside exorcism to relieve a person from what was said to be a demonic spirit possessing them resulting in a certain mental illness. Instead of doing all this crap, the brain or if you want the psyche or mind could be studied.