handwriting stylesThere are lots of ways to gain additional insight about someone; you can analyze their body language, for instance, or learn about how facial micro-expressions can thwart a liar. But did you know that by studying the various handwriting styles that people use, you can learn a little about their disposition, stress level, and even their blood pressure? You can indeed, and the study of handwriting styles is known as graphology, or handwriting analysis. There are other reasons to analyze a person’s handwriting. Every person’s penmanship is entirely unique, and even identical twins have different handwriting styles.

Forensic handwriting analysis is different from graphology, and is used to compare samples to validate authenticity or match two samples to the same individual either in police investigations or for a historical purpose. We will discuss the basics of what makes up an individual’s handwriting style, how that can be used in forensic analysis, and how it can be used in graphology.

Handwriting Styles 101

As we discussed, a person’s handwriting style is unique to them. It is extremely difficult for a person to alter their handwriting styles, because there are multiple “quirks” that will give the writer’s identity away. Of course, that isn’t to say that there haven’t been successful forgeries, but that kind of alteration takes a lot of time and skill. Let’s take a look at some basic definitions and language that we use when exploring handwriting styles:

Forensic Handwriting Analysis

Forensic handwriting analysis differs from graphology, the latter of which is often used to provide insight into a person’s psychology or personality using an understanding of differing handwriting styles.

By contrast, forensic analysis compares a sample of writing against a piece of writing with a known origin or provenance. Since our handwriting changes as we age, the practice can be useful in the study of historical documents, where we might use a later, well-known piece of say, George Washington’s handwriting to determine whether an earlier piece of writing may be attributed to him as well.

Forensic handwriting analysis is sometimes used in police work as well, where the analyst will look for idiosyncrasies within a person’s handwriting style to determine whether or not the writing is authentic and evidentiary.

This particular type of analysis concerns itself with four main categories:

Graphology

Graphology, as we explained maintains that by studying the various elements of handwriting styles and applying them to one person’s sample, you can make a number of determinations regarding that person’s mood, personality, psychology, and even, in some cases, health. Let’s take a look at some common graphology conclusions:

There are many, many other components of graphology, which claims to be able to identify over 5,000 personality attributes simply by addressing the components of various handwriting styles; these are just a few of the most common determinants.

Interested? It’s hard to believe that there are so many different aspects to handwriting styles and how we can analyze them, but as you can see, “the writing is on the wall” (or the page, as the case may be). You can even try your own hand (pun definitely intended) at handwriting analysis! On the other hand, you can explore the many aesthetics of computerized font with a course on typography.

Handwriting students also learn

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