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Does Your Handwriting Express Your Personality?

Article #188 • Written by Marisa Brook

It is a technique used all over the world, and training in it is widely offered. Many employers, especially in France, rely on it heavily to evaluate contenders for high positions. Specialists are called upon to share their views in court and even for the Secret Service. Which technique is this? Graphology, or the analysis of handwriting to reveal character traits.

Along with the International Graphology Association itself, handwriting experts generally object to being associated with anything New Age. Yet psychologists tend to agree that graphology is a pseudoscience. The fact is that the empirical evidence overwhelmingly refutes it; of all the studies which have examined graphology, only one has found a correlation between personality and handwriting styles. The British Psychological Association considers handwriting analysis to be absolutely worthless. The consensus from the psychology world is that graphology is only slightly more useful than astrology. Yet the practice continues.

The "slightly" comes in because, as it turns out, it is possible to correctly predict a writer's gender more often than chance could account for. There are also clues that indicate hand preference and certain neurological disorders, but psychology has found nothing else to be reliably determinable from handwriting. How, then, has graphology won over so many? What about it is so persuasive-especially when a lot of its devotees are critical of astrology and the like?

Arguable difficulties with astrology are that a) you had no control over your zodiac sign, and b) you share it-and your horoscopes-with more or less 1/12 of the world's population. Neither of these issues seem to affect handwriting, however. First of all, your writing style is unique, just as is your personality. Second, you have total control over how you write.

However, these factors doesn't lead to a necessary connection with personality. As mentioned, the differences in people's handwriting styles come mainly from specific physiology-something else no two people have in common. Not to mention that it depends, to some extent, on how you learned to write. The "in-control" argument can also be taken in the opposite direction: handwriting is not difficult to change. Hey, want to be competitive? Then start using sharp angles to connect upwards to letters, such as between w and h. Athletic? Emphasize and enlarge everything below the base line, including the bottoms of y, g, and j. More social? Make sure your letters slant to the right!

This is clearly problematic. If personality determines handwriting, there is no way to account for the fact that a normal distribution of personalities in early 20th-century American children all ended up with relatively similar handwriting through the Palmer Method. Conversely, more recently there have been courses offered in handwriting improvement. It's silly to think that its students generally emerge with brand new character traits. And, finally, what to say about calligraphers, or others who specialize in many forms of lettering?

These are only the logical reasons, though. Some of the appeal of graphology lies in its emotional effects. Social psychology tells us that handwriting analysis relies in part on the "representativeness heuristic", meaning that similar concepts can intuitively feel connected. "Like goes with like." It makes sense, for example, that someone writing in sharp angles instinctively seems fierce, confident and even cutthroat. Naturally someone writing with a leftward slant is seen as going "against" the proper course of left-to-right script, thus subtly appearing reluctant and perhaps even withdrawn. As for someone crossing a double T with a single line supposedly being efficient...well, that's obvious.

And then there's the Forer effect, which also befalls astrology. Based on experiments done in the 1940s by psychologist Bertram R. Forer, it holds that people tend to accept generic personality descriptions as not only highly accurate, but created specifically for them individually. The effect is related to "confirmation bias", the tendency for people to pay attention only to evidence that supports their pre-existing beliefs.

Alongside increased awareness of these and other factors, graphology's credibility took a hit last year through a single incident at the annual World Economic Forum held in Switzerland. There, reporters presented to several graphologists a sample they claimed was of British Prime Minister Tony Blair's handwriting, and asked for expert opinions. After examining the document, one such expert claimed that "Mr. Blair's" handwriting displayed a "death wish". Another described a perceived "inability to complete tasks" hidden among the letters. This prompted a small but noticeable worry among the British; some began to believe that Blair might not have been worthy of the job.

Only after these views were publicized was it revealed that the handwriting had come not from the politician, but from…Bill Gates. Bill Gates-worth over $50 billion-a man with a death wish? Unable to complete tasks? It sounded absolutely ludicrous. Needless to say, the press quite enjoyed it-and ensured that a lot of readers found out.

Another handwriting expert later protested, claiming that the analysis was taken out of context and meant nothing when not coupled with other forms of personality testing. But his colleagues' conviction had been quite apparent.

Indeed, it all points towards graphology being a rather misguided-if earnest-attempt at nailing down the mystery of personality and the mind. From a distance, it doesn't sound as baseless as it is. But if the lack of objective evidence epitomized in the Blair/Gates switch is any indication, then your handwriting is most certainly not a means of unwittingly giving away your innermost thoughts and attributes.

Article written by Marisa Brook, published on 25 May 2006. Marisa lives in Toronto, Canada. She collects postcards, fridge magnets, lapel pins, interesting rocks, and linguistics degrees.

Article design by Alan Bellows. Edited by Alan Bellows.
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48 Comments
Sandra Thurston
Posted 25 May 2006 at 03:19 pm

I worked at a Civil Records in Brazil for 5 years as a calligrapher. At 19, writing in a more-than-perfect way was natural to me. Today, my handwriting has changed so badly that sometimes I can't even understand what I've writen! Does that mean my personality has changed dramatically also? Oww, boy, oww boy...


apology
Posted 25 May 2006 at 03:33 pm

lots of hidden information in-between the lines in a lot of Damninteresting articles. for example I'm now prompted to seek out more information on the Forer effect and the confirmation bias.
props to you article-writing people, the best I can do is pass it along and wake up some of my own friends to the existence of an outside world.


buckyboy314
Posted 25 May 2006 at 04:17 pm

While graphology may be bunk, I'd like to know how people think of you based on your handwriting. I know people judge me based on my writing on the chalkboard in front of the class (I am a student, not a teacher) because I form many letters starting at the bottom rather than the top. I frequently also find myself admiring unique writing styles.


Jake Brake
Posted 25 May 2006 at 05:20 pm

It just means you're a freak, bucky.

I can tell if someone is or was an architect or draftsman by their handwriting, but that about covers it.


to-be-betrayed
Posted 25 May 2006 at 05:25 pm

graphology can be used as identification tool, and while it is possible to identify various aspects of a personality and whether or not they have specific mental illnesses, its not an exact tool. its mainly used as a "this suggests that it is likely...". it's used in combination of other techniques.

for example, if they have a crime scene with a ransom note, they will look at the note to see whether or not it agrees with the crime scene evidence to build a profile of the suspect/s . Are they meticulous, or are they in a hurry? were they prepared, or was it last minute? does it wobble, denoting either nervousness, adrenaline rush or perhaps a mental disorder?

also while it is possible to change your hand writing style, it is hard to change everything, which is why they get you to write a number of times the same thing over and over. you can consiously change your hand writing style, but it will "slip" similarities into it nonetheless. you cant change everything.


cornerpocket
Posted 25 May 2006 at 08:03 pm

Hand-writing experts are often called into forgery cases, expecially when the charge is not about copying a
signature as much as it is "who signed the name on this check, if not the owner of the checkbook that was lost". The culprit, while signing the other's name, signed in their own style, or at least elements of their style continue into their forgery.
Surely few will argue that a meticulous and very neat penmanship is a sign of something characteristic of the writer. And there is the commonly held (and witnessed) notion that physicians have hurried writing often difficult to make out, at least in part because they are in a hurry and, possibly, a little arrogant and inconsiderate of those who have to figure out what the doctor has written. Doesn't personality fit into the formula somewhere?? I see no point in throwing out the entire notion that handwriting communicates something besides the text, just as I see no point in trying to use handwriting in isolation to make any definitive statement about the writer. No psychologist worth their salt would use a single test to make personality statements. And any 'expert' who didn't see a trick coming when asked to 'interpret' a handwriting sample all by itself probably deserves the humiliation of finding out they are entirely wet for not sniffing out the switcheroonie....or was it the trickster who lured them into forming an opinion and then 'exposing' them for the sake of a cheapshot story????


andrewthotep
Posted 25 May 2006 at 08:14 pm

I have long been curious as to whether the connection between personality and handwriting is a two-way process. Every so often I deliberately change an aspect of my writing and watch for changes in my view of the world and interactions with others. So far, nothing conclusive. Perhaps my next modification should be aimed at increasing my perceptivity...


Daniel Lew
Posted 25 May 2006 at 08:26 pm

My handwriting is terrible. I am fairly certain that a graphologist would declare me insane, or at least unstable, if they saw it.

Interesting side note - some people do not even write in a normal manner. I have a left-handed friend who writes upside-down and backward - she turns the whole notebook upside down then proceeds to write in her bizarre fashion. Then, when she's done, she can turn the page over and read it. I wonder what a graphologist would say after seeing her writing.


Crispy
Posted 25 May 2006 at 08:49 pm

Graphology sounds a bit like phrenology to me; a pseudoscience based around predicting personality traits based on physical manifestations. We're wired to make that association, but I think the only way you can really predict behaviour is through, well, behaviour.

I once heard a friend recommend writing upside-down as an exercise to improve the quality of the writing - not the handwriting, but the composition of the words. The theory was that it was harder to write upside-down, so you had to think more about what you were writing and it took more time to do so; and this in turn meant that you would consider your word choice much more carefully. It was an interesting theory, but I never bothered to try it.

As for handwriting - the only time I ever do it properly is for my signature. The rest of the time I print. Mostly this is a rebellion to my primary school years in which we were repeatedly drilled on handwriting (not that it improved mine at all). I wonder what a graphologist would make of that.


Adam
Posted 25 May 2006 at 09:39 pm

apology said: "lots of hidden information in-between the lines in a lot of Damninteresting articles. for example I'm now prompted to seek out more information on the Forer effect and the confirmation bias."

I agree! I think the Forer effect is article worthy. It's very enlightening to realize that humans' instinct often leads them to justify themselves and dismiss evidence to contradict their biases.


to-be-betrayed
Posted 25 May 2006 at 10:40 pm

if you print the letters you can still be identified, and they can still identify the writer/any possible traits. they look at things like indent size, force, time taken per letter, gaps between letters, height of letters, and many other variables.

the best way to avoid this is to use a pencil and print the letters in combination. if you force yourself to slowly write printed letters you can avoid most identification techniques, though not all. and by using pencil you further degrade their ease of analysis, and you also remove the ability of checking the composition of the ink [an old simple trick but can be effective]


Byrden
Posted 25 May 2006 at 11:15 pm

I use a Windows computer and as a result I do believe that Bill Gates is unable to complete tasks.


Mark
Posted 26 May 2006 at 12:05 am

I find this kind of stuff really annoying. It's not real, but people want it to be real because it kinda makes sense and is a nice-sounding theory. I think it's awful that people actually use it to help them make decisions over who to employ.


Toon Van Acker
Posted 26 May 2006 at 01:05 am

I just want to point out a small detail:

"More social? Make sure your letters slant to the right!"

I'm a left handed writer. If I want my letters to slant to the right, I would have to use a completely different technique than someone who is right handed. Using the same technique, my letters would slant to the left, making me "reluctant and perhaps even withdrawn"...


Toon
Posted 26 May 2006 at 02:39 am

I think I should clarify what I meant with the above.

If writing shows your personality traits, the movement of your hand while writing obviously does too. If someone would move their left hand exactly (yes, *exactly*, as in, every muscle movement the same) the same per letter, it would result in a sort of mirrored writing. Right slants would become left slants. Does that mean that person's personality suddenly changes when she or he changes hands to write with?


another viewpoint
Posted 26 May 2006 at 05:04 am

...and how would you categorize most of the doctors in this country if you analyzed their prescription "handwriting"? Is there anyone (other than the pharmacist) that can decipher that?

Then again, it's not so much how you say it (in writing), but rather, what you have to say. For those that worry whether the letters slant to the left or right, whether their descenders are sharp or well rounded...get a life.

There should be more of a concern these days for better use of language (including writing). I'm afraid, though, that with instant messengering, text messaging, etc., these users are truncating the language. Schools need to continue to teach legible writing skills and proper use of the language...b4 its' to leight! lol.


JustAnotherName
Posted 26 May 2006 at 05:22 am

I write AND print at the same time. Parts of a word are printed/written throughout the page. I think it says "Some of the ways to write letters are annoying and some letters are easier to write than print." My thought was always to "write" as quickly as possible and that is what came out of it.


Xiphias
Posted 26 May 2006 at 06:55 am

another viewpoint said: "There should be more of a concern these days for better use of language (including writing). I'm afraid, though, that with instant messengering, text messaging, etc., these users are truncating the language. Schools need to continue to teach legible writing skills and proper use of the language…b4 its' to leight! lol."

But you shorten 'it is' to 'it's' and 'et cetera' to 'etc.' so what's wrong with them shortening before to b4 and later to l8r? I don't particually like it either but I don't really see anything wrong with it for everyday use.

Of course, they should still be able to read the full words and make intelligible sentences.


Hayley
Posted 26 May 2006 at 07:02 am

I tried taking one of those online "decipher your handwriting!" tests once. People have always commented on my handwriting so I thought I'd try it. They had samples at the beginning of about fifteen different types of handwriting from completely messy to curly to big and loopy and asked which my handwriting looked most like. Mine didn't look like any of them. At all. I don't think that makes me particularly unique...it just means I write funny...like an insomniac, I've been told, whatever that means.

Handwriting is definitely an indication of something, but I don't think it's personality. I wouldn't be surprised if some people could trace some forms of handwriting to certain geographic areas because of certain teaching styles, or various other factors, but I'm not so sure about character.


schuylercat
Posted 26 May 2006 at 07:53 am

I just handed a sample of my writing across the wall to a co-worker and asked him to assess me. Understanding there is nothing scientific about this process, I just wondered what he would say. What he said was "damn, dude...you can read this?"

I asked him to look again, not at WHAT I wrote but HOW I wrote it. He said "it looks like my daughter's handwriting." She's six.

I asked him if he could see anything in my personality in the writing. He said "no - this writing looks like an autopsy. You are more of a train wreck."

I am dysgraphic – my eye-hand coordination is juuuuust a little off. I cannot write in cursive unless I hunker over the paper like a kid, my tongue out, total concentration. I write in all caps, block letters, similar to an architect’s writing as I was trained way back in grade school. I can drive, type (sorta), play a guitar…but I get an itch sometimes and reach for it…and miss by a bit. It’s a bummer.

So my handwriting can tell someone that, maybe? Perhaps my handwriting would disclose that I am a fat, fiftyish, jovial woman like Mrs. Graves, the woman who taught me to write this way.

I like to think handwriting offers an insight the way body language and posture seem to offer an insight. Still, I'm not sold. I'm with Mark - it's vaguely annoying there are people judged by this quackery. Just because of this article I am going to dot my I's with little flowers and happy faces and take up alchemy.

Now...I'll spend my lunch hour "between the lines" looking into the Forer effect. Marisa: that was damned interesting. Thank you.


sulkykid
Posted 26 May 2006 at 08:01 am

Mark said: "I find this kind of stuff really annoying. It's not real, but people want it to be real because it kinda makes sense and is a nice-sounding theory. I think it's awful that people actually use it to help them make decisions over who to employ."

I agree with Mark! All of you (well most of you anyway), need to go re-read this article. GRAPHOLOGY IS THE BUNK! "empirical evidence overwhelmingly refutes it."

Handwriting comparison and analysis as (as in law enforcement forensics) is a different science entirely. Kind of like astrology vs. astronomy.

Also, doctors have a bad reputation for handwriting because they write prescriptions in Latin and abbreviations of Latin. (That's hearsay on my part, are there any medical/pharmacological professionals out there?) I always thought that handwriting of prescriptions was a blueprint for disaster. (Yet the system seems to work well.)


mensadave
Posted 26 May 2006 at 08:34 am

It should also be noted that the type of writing implement and the conditions under which the writing takes place can also have an effect.


Vriesea
Posted 26 May 2006 at 09:16 am

I think part of the temptation to see graphology as a valid science is that there are some individuals who have very unique handwriting, that seems to identify them specifically. I'm a secondary school teacher, and by the end of a semester I've memorized my student's handrwriting... what is interesting to me is that some students have handwriting that stands out particularly from the crowd- I could identify it several years after - and others have handwriting that fits into a certain 'genre' but is not unusual. And 'unusual' personalities sometimes have very 'normal' handwriting.

Hayley said: "Handwriting is definitely an indication of something, but I don't think it's personality. I wouldn't be surprised if some people could trace some forms of handwriting to certain geographic areas because of certain teaching styles, or various other factors, but I'm not so sure about character."

I can often tell where a student has been educated by their handwriting style - or at least I see similarities between students educated in Aisian countries, or African countries. Perhaps what makes it an inexact science is simply that there are too many variables involved to be measured accurately...


Vriesea
Posted 26 May 2006 at 09:17 am

Students'. My bad.


pearltorto
Posted 26 May 2006 at 10:01 am

graphology sounds like a load of cac. Because of the way you write you're suddenly branded with a personality. i think its bad that they use it to employ people. A lot of people who have a specific handwriting style have adopted it from another one that they liked.


Gary
Posted 26 May 2006 at 11:30 am

A study on doctor's handwriting in the British Medical Journal in 1996 showed that doctors are not statistically worse than average: http://bmj.bmjjournals.com/cgi/content/full/313/7072/1657

Graphology in its present form is definately a pseudoscience.


kysportsfan
Posted 26 May 2006 at 03:41 pm

With the advent of computers, I think the importance of handwriting "good" handwriting is beginning to disappear. I know personally, that the quality of my writing has significantly diminished. Does this mean that my personality is changing because the quality of my handwriting is changing?


Stead311
Posted 27 May 2006 at 09:18 am

So... does computer text have personality I wonder....


Prince
Posted 29 May 2006 at 12:08 am

Does Your Handwriting Express Your Personality?

No


ballaerina
Posted 30 May 2006 at 08:55 am

My writing always slants to the left and it's very small. I also usually write in all capital letters except I dot my i's.

I think somewhere there's a handwriting analysis website where it shows you some pictures of handwriting and you pick the one that looks like yours. I'd like to try that and see what it says about my personality.


to-be-betrayed
Posted 30 May 2006 at 04:32 pm

sulkykid said: "I agree with Mark! All of you (well most of you anyway), need to go re-read this article. GRAPHOLOGY IS THE BUNK! "empirical evidence overwhelmingly refutes it."

Handwriting comparison and analysis as (as in law enforcement forensics) is a different science entirely. Kind of like astrology vs. astronomy.

Also, doctors have a bad reputation for handwriting because they write prescriptions in Latin and abbreviations of Latin. (That's hearsay on my part, are there any medical/pharmacological professionals out there?) I always thought that handwriting of prescriptions was a blueprint for disaster. (Yet the system seems to work well.)"

my sister is a pharmacist, and while she knows some latin, and even occaisonly writes in it, she has neat, small, cursive, slanting writing. and she has for most of her life. i also have a doctor friend, who is a practicing M.D. who writes better than i do. i have met doctors with bad hand writing but it is far more the personality of the people that dictates it. some people take more care in they're writing than others, that's all. and usually you'll find that doctors do quite a large amount of writing per day. this would attribute to it more than the latin thing.

Stead311 said: "So… does computer text have personality I wonder…."

yes it can. perhaps you use monotype corsiva for a font in MSN/AIM/Yahoo!/ICQ, with a different colour. these *may* denote personality traits through preference for these fonts/colours, though its just assumptions mainly. computer text can denote some traits, through grammatical structure, sentence stucture, punctuation, abbreviation, etc. also if a document is analyzed [an actual file] sometimes it is possible to see how many times something has been re-typed, how many errors are present, the number of saves done, etc. these too can give information about personality, though as with all computer text, it is not a flawless process and leads to far more errors in analysis.


Caro
Posted 30 May 2006 at 10:54 pm

In first grade, as we were practicing handwriting, I was seized by a violent coughing fit one day and threw up all over my pink handwriting book. I then developed such an aversion to neat handwriting that graphologists claim that it ALTERED MY PERSONALITY FOREVER AND EVER.

Even more proof that there are far too many variables in handwriting! :P

(PS- Hi, Marisa.)


profilady
Posted 31 May 2006 at 12:04 am

I have saved lives based on my 20+ years in the handwriting analysis (aka: forensic personality profiling) experience.

Visit my site for a full bio and references at http://www.Treyce.com. To you who are commenting without first hand experience or who have lack of knowledge - here is a lesson for you: handwriting is Applied Psychology!

As someone studying to become a Forensic Psychologist I intend to bridge the gap. We are currently at 14th century levels within our traditional psychological means.... time for an upgrade ! WHY DO YOU THINK TRADITIONAL PSYCHOLOGISTS TELL THEIR CLIENTS to "JOURNAL" or, to provide closure, "WRITE IT DOWN and BURN IT".... it is NOT the book (journal), paper or pen HELPING THEM - it is the ACT OF WRITING. This is not brain surgery people !

In fact, I am pioneering a research project with the State of Texas and Texas Juvenile Probation - one that has NEVER been attempted in the history of this science and it involves NEVER meeting or receiving any identifying information about the kids.... and it is extremely SUCCESSFUL...

Stay tuned...


sulkykid
Posted 31 May 2006 at 07:40 am

profilady said: "I have saved lives based on my 20+ years in the handwriting analysis (aka: forensic personality profiling) experience.


Visit my site for a full bio and references at http://www.Treyce.com. To you who are commenting without first hand experience or who have lack of knowledge - here is a lesson for you: handwriting is Applied Psychology!

As someone studying to become a Forensic Psychologist I intend to bridge the gap. We are currently at 14th century levels within our traditional psychological means…. time for an upgrade ! WHY DO YOU THINK TRADITIONAL PSYCHOLOGISTS TELL THEIR CLIENTS to "JOURNAL" or, to provide closure, "WRITE IT DOWN and BURN IT"…. it is NOT the book (journal), paper or pen HELPING THEM - it is the ACT OF WRITING. This is not brain surgery people !

In fact, I am pioneering a research project with the State of Texas and Texas Juvenile Probation - one that has NEVER been attempted in the history of this science and it involves NEVER meeting or receiving any identifying information about the kids…. and it is extremely SUCCESSFUL…

Stay tuned…"

Your link does not work: this is better (I hope!) http://www.Treyce.com


anonymous555
Posted 06 June 2006 at 06:08 am

Most people are not aware of the huge difference between "handwriting analysis" that claims to determine personality, and "handwriting identification" that is used to identify a person's handwriting. It is very similar to the difference between astrology and astronomy. One is psychobabble, whereas the other is based on scientific principles. The examiners are very different as well. A true Forensic Document Examiner, who is tasked with handwriting examination and comparison has been trained for a minimum of two years full time training, with a Senior Examiner. No on-line courses, home-based courses, or two-week wonder courses. The frightening thing is that judges don't often ascertain which "kind" of examiner they have testifying, and most lawyers don't care--as long as their "expert" says what they want them to. The bios of these graphologists should be carefully scrutinized and evaluated before they are hired by any type of investigator. Use common sense: is their fantasic claim the same as any other reasonable person would come to without any training at all? I once saw a graphologist claim they could tell the sex of an unborn child from the mom's handwriting, guaranteed with money back if she was wrong. Guess what? She is right approximately 50% of the time!


anna k
Posted 12 June 2006 at 08:03 am

Might be just me, but I always respected applied psychology as being based on actual data.

Sorry profilady... don't think you make the cut.


Nimajus
Posted 20 June 2006 at 10:19 pm

In school I've noticed how my handwriting changes according to the subject I am learning, the teacher's handwriting, the speed I am writing and some other factors. From angled cursive to 90 degree separate letters, my handwriting changes a lot. And not to start speaking the affects of different language on your hand writing.

I think your handwriting may reflect such things like if you're worried, or rushing or calm etc. based on your handwriting, but seriously, how could it reflect your personality?


tigoldbitty
Posted 11 July 2006 at 08:16 pm

I agree with ninja.


Entropy462
Posted 12 January 2007 at 09:16 am

http://www.tul.com

best graphology test on the web


KateGladstone
Posted 28 January 2007 at 05:07 am

Handwriting analysts don't impress me, ever since I showed a number of these "professionals" something written by the Unabomber (not including his name) and got back comments like "A totally loving, nurturing, and nonviolent individual ... solidly altruistic ... would make an ideal kindergarten teacher or babysitter."

Keep in mind that many of these "professionals" consult for police departments (behavioral profiling) as well as consulting for corporate personnel departments and employment agencies.

Whether or not one can analyze handwriting, one can certainly improve it — and I'd hate to have to tell you what the handwriting analysts think of THAT! Ask me privately, some day ... but first, visit Handwriting Repair at http://learn.to/handwrite


misanthrope
Posted 29 January 2007 at 06:19 am

I once got an essay back from my English teacher, with a big red line through a circle above one of my 'i's, with a note saying something along the lines of "the correct punctauation for a lower case 'i' is a dot, not a circle". I stayed behind after the lesson and explained why I was using circles - that I'd read up on graphology, and whilst it was obviously bunkum, maybe the person reading my CV would be into it. (The amount of crap that goes into selecting shortlists from CVs is unbelievable, and we'd talked about that before). Circles instead of dots are believed to be indicative of thoughtfulness and attention to detail, and that's a good thing to be presenting on your CV, even if covertly. I'd trained myself to do it. He was impressed, and never corrected that particular 'mistake' again. I still do it, too :)


misanthrope
Posted 29 January 2007 at 06:21 am

Keep in mind that many of these "professionals" consult for police departments (behavioral profiling) as well as consulting for corporate personnel departments and employment agencies.

As do psychics, numerologists, dowsers etc. They even still use lie detectors in the States (no, it's not just on the telly). It's pathetic.


MaxThornburg
Posted 20 February 2007 at 07:28 am

As far as current testing techniques and current methods of handwriting analysis, I agree with the experts. But skeptics are fools. Why? Because they actually think they can test an inconsistent, unrefined methodology in a controlled experiment. The fact is, in a controlled experiment, you know what the variables are, you know what the possible outcomes are (to some degree), and your results are measurable. But show me a test that actually accomplishes this with a 'pseudoscience,' and I'll agree with you, and call it one. Let's be clear. I am not saying this stuff is science, it's too inconsistent to be one. That's like people repairing cars with custom parts. That's what's wrong with pseudosciences, no standards.


kieferton
Posted 28 August 2007 at 05:00 pm

I am both a licensed pharmacist and a student of graphology. I've always been interested in methods to determine someone's personality that is both non-intrusive and accurate. While analyzing someone's handwriting satifies the first requirement, coming away with correct information about the subject rests entirely upon the skill level of the examiner.

One of the problems with calling handwriting analysis a "science" is that there are many books written on the subject, some of which contradict the other. This is like having three or four "official" books on anatomy, where parts of the body are not always located in the same place. I think you can see the kind of trouble that this would cause. In addition, there is no accountability, no minimum requirement to become a handwriting analyst. Many people acquire their "expert" status via an online course, after reviewing only a handful of handwriting samples. Unlike, well....pharmacists, they have no licensing board to determine their level of competency.

The very best handwriting analysts have spent years studying handwriting. This by itself makes them experts, as they can quickly see the subtle and not-so-subtle differences in two samples that might look identical to a person not "trained" to look for these types of things. But there is something else that the "expert" possesses; and this goes with every profession: (surgeons, police detectives, etc) As one acquires experience they begin to access their intuition and "discover" things that are beyond what is written on that piece of paper. They have a gut hunch and they include this in their analysis. This puts them on an entirely different level from those knowing little or nothing about handwriting. It is also where the ego of the handwriting examiner comes into play. Using the example about Bill Gates, it is easy to understand why the handwriting "expert" made such a gaff. His ego got the better of him. He didn't step back and rely on his sixth sense to guide him. Without that, this whole handwriting analysis schtick is just a parlor game; sometimes correct, sometimes completely off-target. And yes, I've personally watched someone make an ass out of himself after he incorrectly summed up someone in front of a group of handwriting "experts", describing the person (she wasn't present) as a vicious bitch. After he left, I couldn't resist giving my own analysis, which was confirmed as accurate by those who actually knew her. This gave me a lot of concern regarding those who practice handwriting analysis but rely more on their EGO to "solve the case", rather than the fundamentals. And every "profession" has core teachings, to be violated at one's own peril.

Why do people continue to find handwriting analysis interesting, even in the face of all you doubters telling them it's a bunch of bulls*it? Because everyone wants to be entertained and maybe get some insight into what makes them tick. It's FUN to watch the reaction of someone after I look at their handwriting sample and make statements about their personality. They feel good. (Unless I were to do something stupid, like phrase the analysis in a cruel way). It's fairly easy to be right about general things; not so easy to describe their entire persona, especially if it's a handwriting sample of just a few words.

The fact that some of you criticize handwriting analysis and those who practice it says something about you and your attitude. Where is this hate coming from? My guess is that you believe that there might just be the possibility that you have been deceived by a worldwide conspiracy and you want to toss in your opinion to warn off everyone less vigilant than you.

Whether or not handwriting analysis is the real deal or just another attempt to make money off unsuspecting people, it's here to stay. And until someone regulates the practice, you are going to hear more stories (because you'll be searching for them, I'm sure) where some handwriting expert f*cked up in front of EVERYBODY. It will become brutally apparent that he or she is no more capable of analyzing handwriting than the person who wants to perform brain surgery but doesn't have the training. They will both suck at it.

Finally, because there is no formal training for opinion givers, I won't say that your opinion sucks just because some of you believe that NOTHING about handwriting analysis is legitimate. Clearly, handwriting analysis is going to get close scrutiny when it's practiced poorly. So too will an opinion when it's given in such a way as to attack something or someone. You wouldn't take your dog to the butcher to have its toenails shortened, and I wouldn't go to you if I wanted an informed opinion about handwriting analysis.


profilady
Posted 21 April 2008 at 10:06 pm

Most of you all are FULL OF SHIT and probably never had your handwriting analyzed by a REAL pro. Like a plumber who learned to fix sinks with his grandpa compared to the one who was an apprentice and is now licensed / bonded / insured. Like a mechanic that learned from tinkering to the ASE certified one... there is good and bad in EVERY field and so-called professionals in EVERY field the FUCK up... do you then hate ALL plumbers or ALL mechanics? C'mon people think OUTSIDE your tiny little minds.


Mirage_GSM
Posted 27 June 2008 at 12:46 am

profilady said: "Most of you all are FULL OF SHIT and probably never had your handwriting analyzed by a REAL pro. Like a plumber who learned to fix sinks with his grandpa compared to the one who was an apprentice and is now licensed / bonded / insured. Like a mechanic that learned from tinkering to the ASE certified one… there is good and bad in EVERY field and so-called professionals in EVERY field the FUCK up… do you then hate ALL plumbers or ALL mechanics? C'mon people think OUTSIDE your tiny little minds."

I wonder what excessive use of ALLCAPS says about one's personality...

That said, I think the practise of using graphology in job interviews is a legal case waiting to happen. In fact I'm surprised the article didn't mention one. I can't imagine someone rejected based on a graphology profile just accepting that. Especially in the US where legal suits are much more common than here in Europe.


ALLCAPITALS
Posted 01 May 2009 at 08:15 pm

i am an all capital person and have never found an answer as to why. the investigation continues.....


kaidranzer
Posted 01 August 2009 at 01:10 pm

hi i would especially like to address "kieferton" and "profilady". i have started studying handwriting analysis by reading a book called "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Handwriting Analysis" by Lowe, Sheila R. I find it very interesting and engaging but i would like to know whether you need any background knowledge to complete absorb the things? Also can you suggest some sources from where i can learn more. Basically i am a computer engineering student so i just want to develop handwriting analysis as my only hobby.
Thank you in advance


END OF COMMENTS
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