Handwriting Analysis Tips for Investigators


What is Handwriting Analysis?

Graphology is the scientific term for handwriting analysis. It is the study and evaluation of handwriting, especially concerning human psychology. The purpose is to use the person’s writing to reveal the writer’s character and personality. It involves the study of written characters to determine certain personality traits. The study has been compared to a sort of body language.

How is Handwriting Analysis used?

In Criminology

In criminology, graphology may link an individual to crime scene evidence. For example, handwriting samples can be taken from the suspect. Then, crime scene analysts can compare the prints to evidence, such as notes, signatures, or messages left at the scene.

In the Medical Field

In the medical field, graphology can refer to the study of handwriting as an aid in diagnosing and tracking brain and nervous system diseases.

In Therapy

Although it is rarely used, some psychologists and therapists may use this type of analysis to assess certain personality traits of their patients.

In Business

In business, this type of evaluation can be used as part of an employment test or interview to determine the appropriate fit for certain positions. However, this practice is rarely used.

Common Misunderstandings

The term handwriting analysis is sometimes incorrectly used to refer to the forensic examination of a document. The process has been considered controversial for more than a century.

Although some supporters point to the anecdotal evidence of positive testimonials as a reason to use it for personality evaluation, most studies fail to show the validity claimed by its supporters. As a result, the practice is not widely used or relied upon.

What does a person’s handwriting style say about their personality and/or character?

Graphologists say that a person’s cursive writing gives more insight into their personality. How you write letters and words on a page can indicate many different personality traits.

For example, if your writing tends to lean to the right, you are considered a more “open” person who likes socializing. If it tends to lean to the left, you prefer to work independently. If you are right-handed and your words slant to the left, it suggests that you may be rebellious. If it doesn’t lean, you are considered to be a logical and practical person.

The size of the letters is also meaningful. If your letters are large, you are outgoing with a big personality. If the letters are small, you are focused, introspective, and often shy. If the letters are usually of average height, you are a well-adjusted person who is adaptable.

These are just a few examples of insight that can be gained by analyzing someone’s style.

What do private investigators need to know about Handwriting Analysis?

Detectives commonly analyze documents and other written evidence in investigation cases. Criminals may leave a note at the scene of the crime. In other cases, a criminal or even an ex-spouse may write a threatening letter to another individual.

In general, private investigators should be aware of the practice and how it might be used to link evidence to people. When needed, a private investigator should know where to go (who to hire) to complete an analysis.

Where to find additional information

Following are websites that provide information on handwriting analysis (graphology):

  • American Association of Handwriting Analysts (AAHA) – The AAHA is a professional association of analysts and graphological experts, assessment resources, and tools.
  • American Society of Professional Graphologists (ASPG) – The American Society of Professional Graphologists is a society of professional graphologists and professionals who work to further handwriting analysis through education, research, and academics.
  • Handwritingpro – Provides information on graphology, analysis, character traits, behavior profiles, and personality portraits.
  • Institute of Graphology and Personal Success—This is a learning resource for new graphology enthusiasts. The site includes downloads and networking opportunities with like-minded people. Learn how to become a graphologist.
  • International Handwriting Analysis Society – Website with articles and resources for private investigators and everyday people.

Questions and Comments

If you have questions about handwriting analysis or graphology, please post a message below.


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