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Q: handwriting analysis ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   3 Comments )
Subject: handwriting analysis
Category: Miscellaneous
Asked by: maari-ga
List Price: $10.00
Posted: 04 Jun 2003 19:19 PDT
Expires: 04 Jul 2003 19:19 PDT
Question ID: 213205
If a person wanted to fool a penmanship handwriting expert by changing
his penmanship is it possible?  What do they look for in recognizing
someone's penmanship?  I know the obvious ones such as common shapes
of letters.  But if a person who is right handed and writes something
left handed, for example, or write it with his toes, could he fool the
penmanship expert?  Why is this?
Subject: Re: handwriting analysis
Answered By: sgtcory-ga on 04 Jun 2003 20:17 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hello maari,

This was some very interesting research. I went to a few expert
related websites to help us figure out the write from the wrong ;-)

Q. If a person wanted to fool a it possible?

Amazingly, just about every expert out there insists that the answer
is no. They argue that a change in penmanship is essentially a change
in self. Here are a few links to learn more about this suprising
concept :

The HandWriting Skeptic
"The unconscious strokes and gestalt features of the handwriting are
the ones used to form the basis for the description of the writer's
core personality. The core personality is constant. It is the
unchanging constitutional nature of the person...."

HandWriting Inner Secrets revealed
"With maturity, factors such as personality and even health begin to
take more influence on the character of the handwriting than the early
classroom-taught methods. The result is a unique style of handwriting
that distinguishes each individual like a fingerprint...."

FAQ's about HandWriting
"Even though you have "changed" as you grew up, it is still really you
in that picture. The same with your handwriting...."

To summarize, the sites above all agree that while handwriting can
visually be changed, it's near impossible to change what you are
'inside' the handwriting.

Q. What do they look for in recognizing someone's penmanship?

Here a few more that I was able to locate in addition to the ones you
already are aware of:

1) Slant - "called the emotional quotient. It is the measure of

2) Size - "literally the size of our thoughts, our confidence..."

The next few are all referenced with a real live analysis on a website

3) Spacing - "someone resisting the influence of both outside

4) Baseline - "pressure on the writer for which there is no

5) Dominance of writing zones - all over the page linked below.

6) Letter width - also on this page

The last paragraph on this resource page tells us about the 'zones',
how they are established, and how they work. It also offers more
insight on some of the other factors listed above.

Graphology (HandWriting Analysis)

Yet a few more on another website :

What is handwriting analysis?
"The same principles for spacing, zones, any connectors, bending of
strokes, pointed t-bars and many others still apply to printing."

Q. But writes...left handed, for example, or write it with his toes?

The data in this field still insists that the mind controls the
writing, and not the portion of the body you are doing it with :

Graphology/Handwriting Analysis
"It does not matter even if he wrote it with his/her foot or mouth..." - FAQ's
"It is a common misconception to think that left-handed people write
with a certain slant..."

I found this one very interesting and I think you will too. It refers
to a person that may not write at all :

What if the person doesn't write at all?
"does not matter what the strokes are that are placed on the paper..."

Q. Why is this?

I summarized why this is throughout the answer - personality. The way
we write is a direct reflection of who and what we are. Certain
't-crossing' can mean we are perfectionists, while an undotted 'i' can
be a sign of haste. It's all in who we are.

Now if we can only figure out a way to analyze the way a person
displays what he or she types ;-) (That was a smile)

To assist with this answer, I searched Google for:

handwriting analysis

handwriting analysis faq

I hope this gives you enough information to start learning more.
Should you need more resources or further assistance, please ask for
clarification. I will do all I can to ensure you get the answer you

Thanks for the question!

Clarification of Answer by sgtcory-ga on 04 Jun 2003 21:13 PDT
I should clarify a bit here, as we have a researcher who is somewhat
of an *expert* in this field, and he graciously brought this to my

I based my most of my answer on graphology (the study of handwriting
that many dismiss as unscientific), and didn't offer much in the
direction of forensic science. The difference between the two :

Forensic Document Examination
"Graphologists analyze handwriting to interpret the writer's character
and personality. Forensic document examination involves handwriting
comparison to determine authorship and examination of a document as a

Should you require more information in this direction, I can offer
that as well. I hastily assumed to take the direction in how the
question made sense to me, rather than ask for a clarification.

Thanks in advance,


Request for Answer Clarification by maari-ga on 05 Jun 2003 08:38 PDT
Your explanation was very good and well explained, but I wanted one
question clarified.

You mention that experts can tell penmanship by personality details. 
I think you implied by their egos etc this tells what kind of
personality one has.  This has to do with handwriting and not
penmanship.  You noted that experts can tell penmanship by certain
"personality traits" like slants.  But if a person is AWARE of exactly
what an expert is looking for and purposely changes every aspect of
his penmanship, I think he could get away with it.  I think this
because of one is aware of pressure points on paper, the way they dot
their i's, change shape of letters or style of letters, and on top of
it using it with such as a left hand or foot the expert should know
that a person's natural penmanship qualities would be different
because there is no comparison.  If one uses his left hand or toe, the
pressure points and making letters smaller if you write big and
carefully and slowly I would think one would be fooled.  When one
speaks of personality traits I think that has more to do with
handwriting analysis than penmanship identification.  What do you

Clarification of Answer by sgtcory-ga on 05 Jun 2003 09:32 PDT
Q. When one speaks of personality traits I think that has more to do
handwriting analysis than penmanship identification.  What do you

I couldn't agree more. I took your reference of 'penmanship
handwriting', and your question title of 'handwriting analysis' as a
clue to assume you made a direct correlation between the two, much
like most people often do. (including myself ;-)

A forensic analyst often compares handwriting samples, and changing
ones writing style can confuse them if the change is drastic enough.

Handwriting Standards
"Consequently, writers will often attempt to alter their normal
writing or otherwise disguise their writing so as to foil or confuse
the pending examination. Many times these attempts will succeed and
hinder, or even render impossible, a viable examination and definitive

And down the page a little further
"He may even have had enough time to develop and commit to memory a
new handwriting style. In light of this, it is always in the best
interests of the pending examination to gather request exemplars as
early into the initial case investigation as possible. Once the
suspect realizes the evidence potential of the disputed writing, it is
almost a sure bet that he will be opportunistic enough to take steps
to contaminate that portion of the case...."

"However, depending upon the writers accomplishment of this difficult
task, some individual characteristics of his original writing may
"bleed through" into the exemplars. These few habitual movements may
serve to at least associate the writer to the questioned material
within the parameters of probability. When disguise is suspected, the
quantity of standards taken should be substantially increased...."

This is also some great reading as the doctor that wrote it has a
handwriting analysis degree, and is a member of the American Board of
Forensic Handwriting Analysis. While the article is geared more toward
genealogy, she lists many of things to look for, and amazingly there
are alot of similarities :

Handwriting Analysis for Genealogists

I hope this clears up the confusion of the answer. Please be sure and
ask for clarification again should you wish me to pursue any other
thoughts you may have. I'm not happy until you get what you were
looking for ;-)

Thanks for the request maari -

Request for Answer Clarification by maari-ga on 05 Jun 2003 13:00 PDT
I am sorry about my initial question.  It was confusing.  I was mixing
handwriting analysis with penmanship identification.  Of course,
handwriting style is almost imposssible to change.
You did clarify my question about penmanship identification.  It was
somewhat vague when you say no matter how you write words is often
identified by a person's "personality".  You did show some comments
that said it was possible.
I still cannot see how a person's penmanship can be identified if he
uses his right hand all the time, but chooses to write something with
his left hand.  IF he never uses his left hand and no one knows he
used his left hand (some leading experts can probably tell when
someone is using an "unnatural" penmansip, though not exactly how or
maybe it was another person" or some general conclusion to that
point).  If the expert only has his right hand writing samples and no
left hand, how could he see the personality in penmanship when the use
of the left hand must vary with the use of the natural right hand. 
Everything would be off and awkward, don't you think?

Hypo: Let's say an expert has copies of a certain person's writing,
including penmanship and writing style.  It is all done with his right
hand.  Let's say he takes a paragraph from a book, word for word, and
writes it down with his left hand.
First, an expert on writing style could not say that is his writing
because he stole it from a book word for word.  Correct?
Then he must look at penmanship.  He may notice that the writing seems
unnatural but how can he possibly identify this person if he has never
seen his penmanship with his left hand.  I emphasize that a left hand
never used would be so awkward I don't see how it could resemble his
right hand with "personality traits."  What do you think?

Request for Answer Clarification by maari-ga on 05 Jun 2003 13:12 PDT
Dear sgtcory-ga,

Can you answer the question above?  It is the last question I will ask
of you.  Afterwards, I am going to post that YOU answered the question
correctly.  I appreciate all your input.  I apologize for these
constant clarification questions because sometimes I ask a question in
such a confusing way.  This is of course my fault.

Clarification of Answer by sgtcory-ga on 05 Jun 2003 13:34 PDT
I think I have us both confused. LOL

What we've have here is a mix of both Graphology and Forensics. That's
where all the contradictions are coming in and kicking us around.
These two types of analysis experts dislike each other to some degree
from what I have found. lol

When you think of personality and profiling thereof, think Graphology.

When you think of personality in writing style, think Forensics.

Q. An expert on writing style could not say that is his writing
because he stole it from a book word for word. Correct?

Correct. A forensic expert would not normally be able to because
he/she would be lacking a standard style comparison. However, if the
expert had another written sample, also copied from a book by the same
writer, then the answer is yes.

"He may notice that the writing seems unnatural but how can he
possibly identify this person if he has never seen his penmanship with
his left hand.  I emphasize that a left hand never used would be so
awkward I don't see how it could resemble his right hand with
"personality traits."  What do you think?"

In this situation, I would say according to the Forensic reference I
sent you to earlier, you are right. Fooling a person into thinking
your left handed when you can not prove it is the tricky part. A right
handed person would have to force themselves to be neat and tidy.

On the other side of the fence, a Graphologist may be able to
distinguish the difference, as I noted in the original answer.

It's all up to what we believe. I have received a few messages
discrediting Graphology. It's not my place though, to discredit
something because others question it, unless it's proven completely
false. I'm just the messenger ;-)

Thanks again for the clarification request -

Clarification of Answer by sgtcory-ga on 05 Jun 2003 14:16 PDT

I must have posted my reply while you posted the second comment.

This is in no way your fault. I should have asked for clarification.
The answer is correct, but just not correct for the intended question.
I hope some of the clarifications made offer enough insight and
reading to cover your intended question.

Thanks for keeping me on my toes!

Clarification of Answer by sgtcory-ga on 05 Jun 2003 15:57 PDT

I should be thanking you. Thanks for the great rating, and of course
the tip. I hope this Answers experience will help you in any future
request you might have.

Have a great day!
maari-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $10.00
Thank you for your patience and fast responses to my clarification
questions.  You did a great job explaining both handwriting analysis
and penmanship identification.  I appreciate the vast amount of
research you did on the topic.  I am going to give you a tip, but it
is not as much as you deserve.  I would give you much more if I had
more money.  Thanks for a great answer!

Subject: Re: handwriting analysis
From: research_help-ga on 05 Jun 2003 08:31 PDT
The question asked about deliberate actions to "fool" an expert.  The
answer addressed changes which seem more unintentional or gradual. 
The asker should note the difference.
Subject: Re: handwriting analysis
From: sgtcory-ga on 05 Jun 2003 08:41 PDT
Thanks for the comment research_help.

"The answer addressed changes which seem more unintentional or

I'm not quite sure I agree though. My answer states that even if a
person is trying to fool an expert by "writing it with his/her foot or
mouth" it's hard to do. Doing this seems rather intentional.

The whole point is summarized and confirmed by your comment :

No matter what deliberate action a person takes to 'fool' a graphology
expert, there are certain traits that can not be altered, as the mind
controls the extremity you choose to write with.

Great insight though and thanks again!

Subject: Re: handwriting analysis
From: expertlaw-ga on 05 Jun 2003 10:42 PDT
There is a school of thought that the "art" of discerning personality
from handwriting samples has no basis in science. Under that school of
thought, the claim of a person who offers such analysis that attempts
to disguise handwriting won't change the validity of the analysis is
technically true - because the analysis itself is never valid.
Pursuant to this school of thought, graphology is no different than
discerning personality from reading a palm, tea leaves, or tarot
cards. Some people are adamant that each of those methods are valid,
but there is no scientific evidence to support their beliefs.

For more information on this school of thought, see the Skeptic's
Dictionary website:

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