Graphology is the study of hand writing to assess the personality traits of a person. It is the evaluation of physical characteristics and patterns of a handwriting to identify personality characteristics. Graphology is also used to identify the writer and their mental state during the time of writing. The word ‘graphology’ has been derived from the Greek word grapho meaning writing and logos meaning study or discussion. Graphology has been used by European psychologists and counsellors. It says that there is a relationship between personality, conducts, intellectual level, temper and character in handwriting. Hand writing can be analysed according to pressure, size, slant, zones, layout (margins, spaces between letters, words and lines). At present there are also some AI tools and websites which can be used.
Alfred Binet conducted a study on handwriting and called graphology “the science of the future”. In 1929, Milton Bunker founded The American Grapho Analysis Society. It made two different branches in the world of American graphology – graphoanalysis and holistic graphology.
The works of some graphologists are mentioned below:
Max Pulver had authored three graphology books (from 1931 to 1949) and several articles. He has worked on pressure, intelligence, and crime. He developed the theory of Symbolism of Space and founded the Schweizerische Graphologische Gesellschaft (Swiss Graphological Society) in 1950 and was its president until his death.
Camillo Baldi was an Italian philosopher who worked on a variety of subjects. His best known essay on graphology was the first detailed investigation of the discipline.
Robert Saudek was a Czech-born graphologist. He was also a writer of novels, stories, poems and plays. He had considerable influence on the content and standing of graphology worldwide and published numerous articles in many languages like The Listener, Zeitschrift für Menschenkenntnis and the Journal of Social Psychology. He founded the Professional graphology society in the Netherlands and started two academic periodicals: in Dutch and English. Many graphologists worldwide today refer to Saudek’s work without knowing the origin. He published Experimental Graphology in 1929. Saudek examined the speed in handwriting and quantified handwriting by using a microscope, caliper, pressure board, ruler, protractor and slow-motion pictures. He also dealt with graphological phenomena in terms of the experimental psychologists.
Sheila Lowe is a British-born novelist and graphologist. Her first book was published in 1999 and was a bestseller in the Complete Idiot’s Guides series. In 2007, the first edition of Poison Pen, the first of her Claudia Rose forensic mystery series came out, published by Capital Crime Press. She is at present the president of the American Handwriting Analysis Foundation.
There has been studies in the U.S. on handwriting and sex. According to the research sex could be determined through writing at a significant level. Studies on ethnicity, race, age, nationality, sexual orientation, weight have got mixed results.
According to the Hungarian Parliamentary Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information, handwriting analysis without informed consent is considered to be a privacy violation.
Graphology has been a controversial topic for about a century. Some suggest that empirical studies have failed to show its validity to perform personality evaluation. Although it has got support from the scientific community in the mid twentieth century, some recent researches have rejected the validity of graphology as a tool for assessing personality and job performance.