Tuesday, May 4, 2010


Hi folks,
As promised, I'm writing a bit more about the subject of graphology. Hope you enjoy it.

I just realized that in signing books, I'm leaving myself wide-open to have my own handwriting analyzed... Oops...

There’s no way I can cover handwriting analysis thoroughly in a couple of posts (or even fifty posts!), but I’ll try to give some of the major points. Again, I’d highly recommend Andrea McNichol’s HANDWRITING ANALYSIS: Putting It to Work for You for a broad view and a starting point. It’s a marvelous book and will give you a great introduction to the science of graphology and it’s just plain entertaining!

Just a few of the things a handwriting analysis can reveal about the writer are:
1. Drug use
2. Cheating
3. Criminal behavior
4. Health or the presence of disease
5. Which potential mate is more considerate
6. Who cheated his customer
7. Who’s lying about his age
8. Who is liable to cheat with numbers, such as accountants and bookkeepers.
9. Level of intelligence
10. Strong vs weak work drive
11. Extroversion vs introversion
13. Who has more energy
14. Who’s more reliable and predictable
15. Which person wants a divorce
16. Which person is a convicted killer
17. Who is more aggressive and who is less aggressive
18. Who is more depressed and who is happier
19. Who tends toward the emotional side of their personality than the intellectual and vice versa
20. Who is narrow-minded
21. Who holds back his/her feelings
22. Who feels more economical
23. Who ventures out more
24. Who’s more organized
25. Who thinks more about the future? About the present? About the past?
26. Who feels defensive and has something to hide
27. Who’s more reliable and predictable
Many, many more!

In short, just about everything to do with a person’s personality and nature!

Here’s what Carl Jung said about handwriting analysis:
No one can get out of his own skin. We act as our psychological past, i.e., as our cerebral organization dictates. For this reason, we are bound to expose ourselves in exactly the same way as we do in our own handwriting.

Graphology is the study of all graphic movement. It’s not simply “handwriting analysis.” It’s not our hand or our toes or our mouth (in the case of those who’ve lost limbs and relearned how to write) that decide how we’ll write and make our marks on paper. Those decisions come from our minds and are actually “brain writing.” Those brain prints reveal who we are—how we think, feel and behave. Although our moods may change, part of our handwriting will always remain the same, just as part of you always remains the same.

A very telling study of a group of juvenile delinquents was conducted in which the kids were asked to substitute positive handwriting traits in place of their negative traits and their antisocial behavior were significantly changed to more social behavior.

There are three aspects of human beings that are reflected in graphology, the physical, the mental, and the emotional. The physical aspects revealed are our identities, the state of our physical health, and the presence of drugs, alcohol or other foreign substances in our bodies. Mental aspects revealed are our intelligence and aptitudes. Emotional aspects that can be determined from our handwriting are how we think, feel and behave.

Some interesting facts:
1. The slant of your letters reveals the degree to which you express your real emotional feelings to others. It doesn’t say to what degree you have feelings, but to what degree you’ll express them to others. Slanting to the right is to express your real emotional feelings—to be demonstrative, affectionate, passionate. A right slant also indicates a person oriented toward the future. About 70% of American adults have a rightward slant their whole lives.

A vertical slant is a person suppressing their real emotional feelings. It’s the slant associated with diplomacy in that you neither express nor repress your feelings—you stay on top of things. It means “head over heart” or thinking rather than feeling and it also indicates a person more oriented toward the present.

A leftward slant indicates a person who represses their real emotional feelings. To think one thing but say another, to lean over backwards to avoid emotional situations. Such a slant is associated with those who do first and last what’s best for themselves alone, who are overly materialistic and overly concerned with outward appearances. It also means a person oriented toward the past.

It may help to picture slant as a person standing. What does the person leaning toward you indicate? The person standing straight up? The person leaning back from you?

There can often be different slants within the same writing sample or even within the same sentence. This is very telling and I don’t have space here to show all the things this indicates.

An interesting case study is looking at a sample of Jackie Kennedy’s handwriting shortly after Jack Kennedy’s assassination. It has a decided left slant. It indicates a writer that, at the time, was “cold, reserved, indecisive, not straightforward, masks feelings, hard to fathom, difficult to get along with. Her personal pronoun I (a very revealing word) has an even more pronounced left slant. Also, her signature (also very revealing) is at a distance from the body of the letter examined, indicating a person who is disassociating herself from what she just wrote. The actual note read: “I should have known that it was asking too much to dream that I might have grown old with him.” When her husband was assassinated, reporters reported that Jackie “showed no emotion whatsoever. You wanted her to cry, to do something, but… nothing. That’s typical of a leftward slanter. She also had another characteristic in that sample—a feature called “clubbed stroking.” It’s a feature that usually indicates the potential for cruelty.

About 70% of Americans write with a rightward slant, 5% with a vertical, 15% with a leftward slant, and 10% with an unstable slant. A high percentage of teenagers, especially girls, will experiment with a backwarded slant. At the time of this experimentation, the teenager may be experiencing unhappy or rebellious feelings. A very high percentage of gourmet chefs exhibit a rightward slant. They’re very emotional about their work!

There are traits associated with individual letters. One seen at times is the “maniacal d.” That’s a small-case “d” that unexpectedly slants far to the right. It indicates… you guessed it… maniacal behavior. What it actually indicates is a loss of control over hand movement to the right, indicative of loss of mental and emotional control. This is a person who is suddenly pulled off balance, and out of emotional control, prone to explosive behavior. The further rightward these d’s or other letters lean, the more the writer is at the mercy of his emotional outbursts. And the more frequently these Maniac d’s appear, the more often the writer goes off the emotional deep end. This is a trait that quite often shows up in the writing of many of the most notorious murderers of our time. Andrea shows an example of this in Steve Grogan’s writing, a member of the Charles Manson family. It’s in Lee Harvey Oswald’s script and many others, including the Zodiac killer.

Nearly perfect writing may also be a sign of emotional stress. When writing is too pretty, too perfect, too tight, everything alike as though it had been produced by a typewriter, it means the writer is compensating for an inner feeling of loss of control. These writers are often one step away from cracking up. This type of writer, at this period of their lives, often put rulers under their writing, and are people who write too mechanically. Many go along in life, seemingly handling everything until, boom! They lose control and go berserk. Again, as I said in the first post of this subject, at times this is job-created, particularly among elementary teachers and especially during the time they are teaching cursive writing to their students.

A sign of above-average intelligence is a writer who combines print and cursive and observers may remark that it looks “sloppy.” This is a positive sign, unless it is so sloppy as to be unintelligible, and then it becomes a negative sign, indicating a person who doesn’t really wish to communicate clearly. Extremes of any trait can indicate a negative, rather than a positive trait.

Beware the accountant who writes down numbers that are hard to make out! There’s a reason they do this and they’re usually unaware that they do… or they’d change so they didn’t get caught…

There are dozens and dozens of traits that an analyst uses to determine the writer’s personality and predict behavior from. No one trait by itself is reliable. It’s also important to take several samples, written at different periods, if possible, to get the most accurate assessment.

I hope I’ve whetted your appetite a bit to find out more about this fascinating science. Again, I’d highly recommend Andrea McNichol’s book to begin with.

Just don’t have your novel’s detective characters saying they can tell a writer’s age, sex or if they’re left-or right-handed!


Theresa Milstein said...

I do a mix of print and cursive, but now I see that it cane be taken two ways, depending on what's "sloppy".

After reading that list, I may only type from now on!

It's hard to believe how much we reveal ourselves through our penmanship.

Les Edgerton said...

Don't print! How we gonna know ya?!

Print/cursive combo handwriting is usually a sign of superior intelligence. All printing, especially with all caps, is a negative trait (usually), but the combination is a very positive one.

And, you're right. We reveal everything through our handwriting. I only scratched the surface, believe me.

Thanks for reading, Theresa.

JournoMich said...

This is fascinating. My only exposure to this science has been through various cop shows and books. That is to say, it has been minimal and flawed. Your take on it is so much more informed and thorough! Thanks!

BTW, I came here through Elizabeth Spann Craig's Twitter. Think I'll stay.


Les Edgerton said...

Hi Michelle and welcome. Hope you'll enjoy the folks here--it's a good group. When you go up to the bar, tell them your first latte or cocktail is on me!

ssas said...

Fascinating again.

I keep a big moleskin next to my keyboard to jot notes in all the time. I write my letters very upright and what you said fits my personality perfectly.

Wow. Intriguing. And it's given me an idea for a new book. Of course I needed one of those like I need a hole in the head. :)

Les Edgerton said...

Sex Scenes, thanks for the confirmation. A vertical slant usually means a person whose trust one has to earn. Very often, this stems from something that happened in childhood or adolescence that helped create mistrust in others. Not always, but very often. Not a negative trait at all, unless there are others. Just says this is a person who isn't going to take strangers on faith alone.

BTW, in your blog profile, it lists your age as 253. Can I have your diet? You look really, really great for such an advanced age... Even for a young lady you're a 10, but for your age... remarkable!

I've thought at a mystery myself with the protagonist using handwriting analysis, but will probably never do it. Go ahead and let me blurb it, okay?

ssas said...

Will don on the blurb, Les, and thanks. :)

That blog profile is from ages ago, back from before you google Betsy Dornbusch and get Sex Scenes or vice versa.

I'm 42, actually. And yeah, I still get carded if I'm not with my kids, one of whom is my height.

Les Edgerton said...

Betsy, I can empathize! My doctor wants me to watch my height too! Bring it closer to the height/weight ratio thingy... I've given up on the weight and am focusing more on the height issue...

JournoMich said...

Will do, Les. What an interesting group already! Thanks for stopping by my blog--Southern City Mysteries. It's usually a diverse crowd as well.


Shannon O'Donnell said...

Hi, Les! I've been stuck grading writing assessments for my school district and haven't had much time for blog hopping. I see I have some serious catching up to do here.

Fascinating post! I usually print, but when I write it's a bit of a lazy scrawl with some printing thrown in. :-)

emma jacob said...

Well I was looking some legal procedure for my case testimonial about Handwriting expert in google so my search stopped me at your blog I enjoyed reading it. I'm supposed to be somewhere else in a minute but I stuck to reading the story. I love Your Blog……..

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KateGladstone said...

Re your remarks about handwriting before and after the loss of the writing hand — would you like to see a photo of Lord Nelson's handwriting that composers how he wrote before he lost his writing (right) arm with how he wrote 10 years later with his left hand? If you'd like this, e-mail me at handwritingrepair@gmail.com with "Lord Nelson" in the subject-line.

KateGladstone said...

Re your remarks about handwriting before and after the loss of the writing hand — would you like to see a photo of Lord Nelson's handwriting that composers how he wrote before he lost his writing (right) arm with how he wrote 10 years later with his left hand? If you'd like this, e-mail me at handwritingrepair@gmail.com with "Lord Nelson" in the subject-line.

Re your remarks about a study of juvenile offenders improving their characters by improving their handwriting — do you have any checkable source, such as a link to the study? Where and how would anyone find and read the original study?

Re European universities requiring graphology for a psychology degree: I've only checked with about 20 so far, but all 20 say that they do not have any such requirement. Which universities have that requirement?

owais said...

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