Would you rather write lists on a sheet of paper, than place your reminders on your smartphone?
SECRET An amateur graphologist pleads for at least a dry run on an handwriting analysis technology technique of potential value in intelligence. The reaction is at times so strong as to give a psychologist the impression that those who shrink from the idea do so because they fear exposure and those who eagerly embrace it are the kind who like to snoop and pry.
Whatever the psychological reasons, one thing is certain: The art of handwriting analysis-graphology, as it is more commonly called, especially in Europe--has two branches: The latter is the subject of this paper.
I am not a professional graphologist, but I have explored the subject enough handwriting analysis technology be convinced that this black art has a practical application in the assessment of persons to whom access for other character tests is limited.
Since character assessment as distinct from capabilities-testing is as complex as human nature itself, and the art of handwriting analysis is exceedingly difficult in its detail, the most that can be achieved in any short paper is to give an outline of the theory involved, in the hope that those readers who have serious limited-access assessment problems will be encouraged to explore the matter further, independently, either through study or by enlisting the services of a professional graphologist.
Plotting the Terms of Reference Anyone undertaking serious study or investigation of graphology--or of any assessment system, for that matter--must settle three formidable related questions before he can safely submerge himself in the "how" of the technique handwriting analysis technology all, to wit: It seems to me, on the first question, that we have to specify in some detail precisely what we want to know about a subject's character before we can proceed in any assessment operation, and then keep within these sharply delineated limits to avoid an extensive mire.
Most executives appear willing to settle for any assessment system which will consistently and reliably tip them off to those peculiarities of a given individual which will be helpful and those which will be harmful in the job they are trying to fill. They seldom appear to be interested in ultimates about anyone's character, in complete "character-pictures" pages long, or in abstract conceptions that have to be interpreted.
From the purely practical point of view, then, assessment starts with the job description, and that job description should be supplemented by a list of desirable, undesirable, and fatal traits.
In the absence of such a guide, assessment becomes perforce an undertaking to describe all the traits of a given subject, an exceedingly unrealistic exercise in the present state of psychological knowledge and one which, if conscientiously carried out, results in massive and complicated reports, long delayed.
I should accordingly, without prejudice to the usability of graphology in the field of deeper research, answer the first question as follows: We should consider a reasonably acceptable result from this technique to be a report containing a reliable guide to those character-traits of the subject which make him fit or unfit for the job we have in mind, as specified by us, plus a warning on any character-traits that deviate strongly from the average.
We specify that we want to fill a bank-teller's job. For this with apologies to bank tellers we want a stable and mediocre person who is conscientious, able to stand dull routine, accurate, and honest, one who is not quarrelsome, thieving, aggressive, or imaginative.
We assume that in other respects he will be run-of-the-mill. The assessment turns up one candidate who meets the specifications of general mediocrity and willingness to handle other people's money without appropriating it but who is also exceedingly vain, in fact a peacock.
Such a potentially dangerous factor ought to be reported to us, even if we have not required it. Our second problem, semantics, can cause a great deal of difficulty either in the exercise of the graphological art or in the study of it; it is a pitfall into which many have tumbled.
What is an "honest" man? What is a "brave" man? Definition of such words is a practical impossibility, since the third unknown, an ethical standard, is involved.
If we could establish agreed ethical standards, we could, no doubt, compose definitions which would be adequate, but there does not now appear to be such a set of standards. In fact, at this point in human history there seems to be more confusion than ever over whether the end justifies the means or is inseparable from them.
We are accordingly, as far as I can see, limited in using characterological terms to those denoting specific acts such as talking, stealing, lying, etc. Many writers and students on the subject have fallen into the ethics trap, so let both student and practitioner beware.
It is necessary to add yet another caution: The analysis of handwriting is an art, not a science, and the quality of the result is dependent upon the caliber and capacity of the artist.
Consequently, the statistical evaluation of graphology according to the accuracy of the results obtained by a cross-section of its practitioners is meaningless. The question whether graphology can be used reliably in assessment work seems to me to depend on whether even one person can do it consistently, not whether a majority of those who claim to be competent can get results.
The evaluator should be aware that a great many so-called graphologists are either dilettantes or charlatans, using an art of which they have a smattering to swindle or astound the gullible. It is, in fact, this swarm of fortunetellers and mystics, with a small but noisy retinue of supporters making extravagant claims, who have done that recurring damage to the reputation of graphology which has served to deprive many a harassed executive of its assistance.
Basis for the Art As the reader will see from the bibliography attached at the end of this article, much has been written on the "how" of graphology. The bibliography could be much longer without exhausting the list of serious works.
The student who reads these books will find that, while there is considerable divergence among them in the area of fundamental theory, there is striking unanimity on the more concrete technical level. This situation no doubt reflects the general dilemma of assessment: We shall therefore try as far as possible to avoid the more abstruse aspects of the subject in discussing next the general validity of the thesis that reliable clues to the character and to some of the capabilities of a person may be derived from competent analysis of his handwriting.
Essentially, two points have to be established, first that the individuality of every person's handwriting is caused primarily by psychological, as distinct from mechanical, characteristics peculiar to the writer, and second, that there is reflected in a given handwriting, in symbol form, a hidden "story" about these psychological factors which a graphologist can "read.
If this individuality in writing were the result of mechanical influences only, then the enormous deviations from letter forms taught in school which some calligraphies exhibit would be due to extreme mechanical idiosyncrasies, not to say difficulties, peculiar to the writer.
The fact is, however, that writers with exceedingly peculiar handwritings perform all other tasks with about the same mechanical competence as the next man, and conversely, persons who are markedly unadroit often have more regular handwritings than those of considerable mechanical skill.
Mechanical skill, in fact, is one of the abilities which can not be deduced from handwriting. Handwriting is in reality brain-writing, as the following experiment will prove to any reader who cares to try it:The Evolution and Development of Police Technology A Technical Report prepared for The National Committee on Criminal Justice Technology National Institute of Justice.
A long-hidden cache of Marilyn Monroe’s private letters and diaries answers many mysteries surrounding her legend. With an exclusive look at this discovery, Sam Kashner digests the revelations.
Alternative Handwriting. and Shorthand Systems. for Dummies. Introduction.
The letters you are now reading, while well adapted to the eye to be read, are so ill adapted to the hand to be written that schools teach longhand as an alternative to printing them. handwriting research corporation.
handwriting analysis (graphology) for: corporate - personal - media. applicant screening team-building career guidance. Information processing: Information processing, the acquisition, recording, organization, retrieval, display, and dissemination of information.
In recent years, the term has often been applied to computer-based operations specifically. Learn more about the elements of information processing in this article. Welcome to Write Right. Write Right, is an institute of handwriting technology that offers solutions to any and every possible problem related to handwriting that you may think of.