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Divination - Graphology

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Graphology is the analysis of the physical characteristics and patterns of handwriting in an attempt to identify the writer, indicate the psychological state at the time of writing, or evaluate personality characteristics.  Our handwriting develops from early childhood when we first pick up a pen or pencil and begin to scribble.  The pen is controlled by the muscles in our fingers, hands and arms, all of which are controlled by our brains.  Thus, the manner in which the words are formed bears a direct relationship to the mind that guides the pen during their formation, so theoretically handwriting can reveal the mental condition of the writer.  In other words, it is a guide to the emotions, willpower and intellect of the writer.

The term 'Graphology' was coined by Jean Michon (1806 - 1881), a Frenchman, in the 1870s.  His many years of research on handwriting analysis were first published in 1872, and are still required reading for serious students of the subject.

Jean-Charles Gille-Maisani (1924 - 1995) stated in 1991 that Juan Huarte de San Juan's (1529 - 1588) 1575 Examen de ingenios para las ciencias was the first book on handwriting analysis, although in American graphology, Camillo Baldi's (1550 - 1637) Trattato come da una lettera missiva si conoscano la natura e qualita dello scrittore from 1622 is considered to be the first book.

Graphology is based upon a general style of writing, the size and shape of the individual letters, the alignment of those letters and the spaces between words and lines etc.  It is also important to know the age and educational standards of the writer, because an old person's hand may well be shaky when compared with that of a relatively younger person.

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Analysing Handwriting

Through the means of the study of Graphology, a graphologist can gain an insight into a person's character, mentality, and attitude or aptitude towards a particular field or profession, and much more.  Many of the world's major companies now employ a graphologist to assess a candidate prior to making any new senior appointments.

There are many sites on the internet specialising in graphology, so we are only providing a basic guide to the many different types of handwriting.

Types of Handwriting


If the handwriting is generally upright, this indicates independence.  A right slant indicates a response to communication, but not how it takes place.  For example, the writer may wish to be friendly, manipulative, responsive, to sell, to control, to be loving, supportive, to name just a few possibilities.  A left slant shows emotion and reserve.  This writer needs to be true to himself first and foremost, and can be resentful should others try to push for more commitment from him.


Handwriting is comprised of three zones - or cases – upper, middle, and lower.  A basic benchmark, by which size can be judged, is 3mm per zone, giving an average full height of 9mm.  More than this is large; less than this is small.

  • The upper zone consists of letters such as b, h, l, t, etc.
  • The lower zone consists of letters such as g, p, y, etc.
  • The middle zone consists of letters such as a, c, e, etc.

The lengths and shapes of the upper and lower loops have various meanings within the context of the script.  The middle zone in the script represents the ego.

Large handwriting can indicate an extrovert and outgoing personality, or it could indicate that the writer puts on an act of confidence, although this behaviour might not be exhibited to strangers.

Small handwriting, logically, can mean the opposite.  Small handwriting can also indicate a deep thinker or an academic, depending upon other features in the script.

If the writing is small and delicate, the writer is unlikely to be a good communicator with anyone other than those on their own particular wavelength.  These people do not generally find it easy to break new ground socially.


Heavy pressure indicates commitment and taking things seriously, but if the pressure is excessively heavy, the writer gets very uptight at times, and can react quickly to what they see as criticism, even though none may have been intended.  These writers react first and ask questions afterwards.

Light pressure shows sensitivity to atmosphere and empathy to people, but can also show lack of vitality if the pressure is uneven.

Other Considerations

Other things a graphologist will take into consideration when analysing someone’s handwriting are:

  • Word Spacing.
  • Line Spacing.
  • Page Margins.
  • Arcade handwriting - This is when the middle zone of the writing is humped and rounded at the top.
  • Garland handwriting - Garland is basically an inverted 'arcade' and is known as a people-orientated script.
  • Angled handwriting - Angled middle zone is the analytical style, the sharp points, rather than curves, give the impression of probing.
  • Thread handwriting - Thread handwriting is like unravelled wool, waiting to be made up into something fresh.
  • Wavyline handwriting - Wavyline handwriting is often an amalgam of all or most of the other forms and is usually written by people who are mentally mature and skilful.

The above details should give you some idea of just what must be taken into consideration by a graphologist before he/she can provide a true interpretation of a person's character from the script they provide for analysis.

The British Academy of Graphology (BAOG) was established in 1985.  It is the most Academic and eminent graphological organisation in the English-speaking world, and the founder member of the Association Déontologique Européenne de Graphologues (ADEG).  It also sets the qualifying and ethical statutes of the profession in Great Britain.  The function of the BAOG is to promote a greater understanding of the 'science' of graphology.  The Diploma of the BAOG is recognised throughout Europe and highly acclaimed in other English speaking countries.

Despite what has been stated in the paragraph above, Graphology remains controversial, and has been for more than a century.  Although supporters point to the anecdotal evidence of positive testimonials as a reason to use it for personality evaluation, empirical studies fail to show the validity claimed by its supporters.

Graphology had some support in the scientific community before the mid-twentieth century, but recent research rejects the validity of graphology as a tool to assess personality and job performance.  Today it is considered to be a pseudoscience.  Many studies have been conducted to assess its effectiveness to predict personality and job performance.  Recent studies testing the validity of using handwriting for predicting personality traits and job performance have been consistently negative:

  • In a 1987 study, graphologists were unable to predict scores on the Eysenck Personality Questionnaire (a questionnaire devised by psychologists Hans Jürgen Eysenck and Sybil BG Eysenck to assess the personality traits of a person) using writing samples from the same people.
  • A 1988 study showed graphologists were unable to predict scores on the Myers-Briggs test using writing samples from the same people.
  • A 1982 meta-analysis drawn from over 200 studies concludes that graphologists were generally unable to predict any kind of personality trait on any personality test.
  • in a 1989 study, measures of job performance appear similarly unrelated to the handwriting metrics of graphologists.  Professional graphologists using handwriting analysis were just as ineffective as lay people at predicting performance.
  • A broad literature screen by King and Koehler confirmed dozens of studies showing the geometric aspects of graphology (slant, slope, etc.) are essentially worthless predictors of job performance.
  • Rowan Bayne, a British psychologist who has written several studies on graphology, summarised his view of the appeal of graphology: "It's very seductive because at a very crude level someone who is neat and well behaved tends to have neat handwriting", adding that the practice is "useless ... absolutely hopeless". The British Psychological Society ranks graphology alongside Astrology, giving them both ‘zero validity’.
  • Graphology was also dismissed as a pseudo-science in 1991 by the skeptic James Randi (b. 1928 a Canadian-American retired stage magician and a scientific skeptic who has extensively challenged paranormal and pseudoscientific claims).

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