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Graphology

Skeptics

Graphology, or Handwriting Analysis, is the study of handwriting, especially when employed as a means of analyzing character. Real handwriting experts are known as forensic document examiners, not as graphologists. Forensic (or questioned) document examiners consider loops, dotted "i's" and crossed "t's," letter spacing, slants, heights, ending strokes, etc. They examine handwriting to detect authenticity or forgery.
Graphologists examine loops, dotted "i's" and crossed "t's," letter spacing, slants, heights, ending strokes, etc., but they believe that such handwriting minutiae are physical manifestations of  unconscious mental functions. Graphologists believe such details can reveal as much about a person as astrology , palm reading,  psychometry, or the Myers-Briggs personality type indicator.
Graphology is claimed to be useful for everything from understanding health issues, morality and past experiences to hidden talents and mental problems. However, "in properly controlled, blind studies, where the handwriting samples contain no content that could provide non-graphological information upon which to base a prediction (e.g., a piece copied from a magazine), graphologists do no better than chance at predicting... personality traits...." ["The Use of Graphology as a Tool for Employee Hiring and Evaluation," from the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association] And even non-experts are able to correctly identify the gender of a writer about 70% of the time. Since there is no useful theory as to how graphology might work, it is not surprising that there is no empirical evidence that any graphological characteristics significantly correlate with any interesting personality trait.
See also:

Some theory and history in support of graphology can be viewed here.
www.businessballs.com

Even more zaniness regarding Graphology.
www.paralumnum.com

Skeptic Links:

Information about the junk science behind Graphology from the Skeptic's Dictionary.
skepdic.com/graphology

An incredibly detailed article on graphology discussing everything you could possibly want to know about it. From a skeptic's point-of- view, of course.
www.ntskeptics.org

 

Skeptical Psychology © 2004
Last updated: 12/01/2004
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