Background Graphology is the investigation of handwriting. The investigation, in many instances, is intended as an analyzing of a person’s writing with the goal to provide a behavioral profile. Graphology can be used as a test, to prove a theory, or as a preliminary method for personnel placement in many organizations (personality profile). Graphology was considered to be a controversial method of personality evaluation for more than a century.
Psychologist who supported graphology in the medical field as a method to diagnose and track diseases of the brain and nervous system as a way to gain information about physical, mental, and emotional states.
However, a proportionally equal number of psychologist do not support graphology as a method to diagnose any physical, emotional, or behavioral and view the process as simply the study of handwriting. Graphology is used as a reliable resource in criminal cases, business compatibility, marital compatibility, and jury screening.
Although it is practiced in many parts of the world for a variety of reasons, there is not any scientific proof that the interpretations are correct and there is not any reliable methodology for how the process is implemented.
Graphology Validity and Rationale Graphology can be considered scientific research. In order for scientific research to have successful results, the research must have either five or seven steps. The steps begin with the formation of a problem. Graphology must have a defined reason before the process is used for any reason.
The scientific research will ask a question, gather information, form a theory, collect and sort data, analyze the date, interpret the data and present the final results.
The graphology methods, as a serious procedure, must conclude with information that has reasonable rationale and solid validity. Validity refers to the degree to which evidence and theory support the understanding of test scores involve by proposed uses of tests. Graphology in the Business World In the corporate world, it is important to have the right person I the right job.
Many human resource departments include handwriting analysis (graphology) to help with employee screening. Although handwriting analysis is not the only method of employee screening, human resource departments include this as a method to determine characteristic traits and personality mannerism. A corporation may require the handwriting analysis to assure that the person being hired will fit in with the current organizational culture and that the person will perform the work assigned to the satisfaction of the manager.
Corporations often consider that the results of handwriting analysis will determine if the applicant will be good at the job, can be left alone to complete the work without constant supervision, and if the applicant is well suited for a desk job. It is likely that the graphology method is used in corporations when considering promotions or even terminations. The method can also be used as a tool in job analysis or job satisfaction surveys. In the field of psychology, graphology (handwriting analysis) fulfills the need to evaluate perception and thought processing.
Behavioral traits can be tested and explained through graphology. Industrial/Organizational psychologists often seek consultation by a certified graphologist because this consultant understands the over 300 different handwriting features and the interpretation by an expert who is able to see the writer with true value. Graphology is also a valuable tool in the field of ccriminology. The handwriting analysis can be used as character analysis or as forensic analysis.
The field of criminology can be compared for proof of fraud or for studying human nature of both victims and criminals. Compatibility studies use handwriting analysis to verify well-matched marriage partners, business partners, and even sports teams. The potential partner’s handwriting is compared to identify similar traits and to pinpoint areas of possible conflicts. Lawyers often use handwriting samples to screen potential jury members and the results presented by a graphologist can recommend who should be removed from the jury pool.
Personality Dynamics Personality is defined as the cause within a person distinguished individual behaviors and experiences. Personality descriptions include methods to characterize an individual. Personality dynamics indicates how an individual adjust to life situations (Cloninger, 2000). Personality labels the differences between people. The criteria for determining personality traits by way of graphology are determined by the organization using this method and the professional facilitating the procedure.
Graphology provides information inferring traits from behavior. Expressive traits are inferred in graphologist’s results; however the conclusions are based on perception and sometime perception is not reality. Personality tests have disadvantages which make it difficult to measure personality traits that may not be well defined cultural distinctions. Applicants completing the assessment may respond in a way they feel would result in their selection. If all applicants have the same personality traits, some cultures may not be included in the selection pool.
Regardless of the cultural differences, self concept is the identifying factor that determines validity of the assessment (Larsen and Buss, 2008). A candidate’s motivation and personality play a significant role in determining what is commonly called “fit” — with the company culture, with other employees, with the manager, and so on. With all graphology processes, the certified graphologist will consider many of the following features: •Slant – can determine if the writer is friendly, intrusive, loving or supportive. Size – can mean extravert (large size) or introvert (small size). The size of handwriting can determine if the writer is a good communicator of if the writer has communication restrictions •Pressure – heavy pressure is a sign that something is seriously wrong and the writer is bad-tempered. Light pressure may indicate a sensitive person •Upper case – these strokes can indicate the writer is ambitious with aggressive goals. Lower loops indicate that the writer thinks things through before acting. Word spacing can determine if the writer is comfortable in tight knit groups or prefers a work culture that is not intrusive. •Line spacing that is wide show that the writer prefers to step back and take a long look before reacting. Close spacing show that the writer prefers to work close to the organizational action •Page margins have significance. A wide left margin shows strong family roots and a wide right margin shows the writer is concerned about other people and the future. A large top margin indicates ambitious goals while a large bottom margin shows energy and practicality. Wavy line handwriting indicates the writer is mentally mature and skillful. Conclusion Not every person experiences can be determined based on a handwriting analysis. Psychologically, some circumstances are more likely to have a strong variance depending on and determined on the conditions existing at the time of the handwriting test. Considerations must include intimacy issues, social clock, personal esteem, physical conditions, mental condition, and physiological needs (Berger, 2004). Is graphology a legitimate science?
Who determines the value and strength of conclusions based on the handwriting analysis? Considering that graphology is used by experts worldwide for medical diagnosis, employee screening, psychological analysis, or marital compatibility, the determination to use this method for decision making caries a lot of responsibility. The fastest-growing site for application of graphology is in the workplace. Careful consideration should be exercised before using graphology to assess personalities and determine placement because of the risk and legal liabilities.
The decision maker must think about and consider the many characteristics that make a person unique. Personality and character are carried by individuals and the graphology facilitator must be concerned about how the characteristics of a person influence his or her behavior and thoughts (Larsen and Buss, 2008). Personality is the set of psychological traits that describe how people are different from each other and fundamental traits can be easily misinterpreted and have a detrimental impact on both the graphologist and the individual.
References: Cloninger, S. C (2000), Theories of Personality – Understanding Persons. Prentice-Hall, Inc. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey 07458 Woods, C. S (2004), The Developing Person – through the life span. Worth Publishers, 41 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10010 Larsen, R. J. and Buss, D. M, (2008). Personality Psychology – domains of knowledge about human nature. McGraw-Hill, 1221 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020.