I seem to remember that there was a term for "little people in people", which was a medicinal belief in the Middle Ages (I don't know, okay?), where, before bacteria and other microscopic things were discovered, people believed that little humans lived inside them and when these little humans were unhappy, this made you sick.

I cannot remember what this was called, and hopefully you understood roughly what I meant (I know it was a bad definition, I don't know how to explain it exactly).

Thanks for reading this, and if you know what I mean, please reply to this ASAP.

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    This reminds me of the French kids biology cartoon series "Once upon a time... Life", or maybe the recent Disney/Pixar animated movie "Inside Out". – MorganFR Oct 20 '16 at 14:11
  • I never heard of that kind of theory, are you sure it's not in Fantasy novel ? As far as I know they believed sickness was caused by God as punishment or imbalanced in "humours" , or by ghost or evil spirit or blood poisoning or too much blood or a bad alignment of planet, but never of small people living inside – P. O. Oct 20 '16 at 14:11
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    Surely this would be a better fit for History of Science and Mathematics SE, as our specialty is general use of the English language, not domain terminology. – choster Oct 20 '16 at 14:13
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    Homunculus? It's a little person that's sometimes evoked in neuroscience to describe a mental process that's anthropomorphized. – jimm101 Oct 20 '16 at 14:17
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    This question does not appear to be about English language and usage within the scope defined in the help center. – Edwin Ashworth Oct 20 '16 at 14:44

I think you're thinking of the word homunculus, which means "little (hu)man" in Latin.

In the Middle Ages, I believe this actually was used most often to refer to hypothetical miniature embryos contained in a man's sperm, or to a miniature adult human being created artificially by an alchemist.

But in philosophy, the term has come to be used for the concept that people's mental processes are carried by by some internal entity that is itself capable of some kind of "thought" or mental process (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homunculus_argument).

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