In his renowned play Pygmalion, George Bernard Shaw mentions of “the beauty and nobility, the august mission and destiny of human handwriting.” This thought alone speaks volumes about the intrinsic qualities handwriting embodies. Sometimes, our handwriting reveals our innermost thoughts and emotions, but at other times it masks the deep-rooted agony inside us. There is a lot those strokes can tell us about our personalities. Taking our conversation further from understanding the basics of handwriting analysis, Vishwas speaks about the nuances of handwriting analysis, its applications and what lies in the future for graphologists.
Graphology is an easy way to understand how someone is wired. But how far does this wiring manifest in one’s handwriting?
As children, we are taught to write just like the way we are told to express our ideas. Nevertheless, no two writings are exactly alike–just the way two individuals are not similar. As we grow older, our handwriting develops characteristics unique to us. Our handwriting not only reveals how our personality has shaped up over the years, but also how we are consciously attempting to send across a message. Of course, there is the literal message or the conscious information coded in the written words. But our handwriting divulges details about us and how we feel unconsciously as we write.
Handwriting is known to evolve over time. Does this mean our personalities too evolve?
I won’t say change in handwriting always means some kind of an evolution. But yes, it means your handwriting no more looks the way it did 10 years ago. It also means your personality has changed. Circumstances influence handwriting, both in the short term and the long term. You may have noticed how you write differently when you are angry. That’s short term. On the other hand, if your handwriting consistently shows the presence of temper strokes, which were missing from your earlier handwriting samples, it clearly indicates that your circumstances have forced you to lose faith in the essential goodness of people and that you are increasingly losing patience with them.
Cursive writing is a standard practice in pre-primary schools. How do you analyse a personality if two handwriting samples look the same?
Two different handwriting samples may seem the same to you. But they are not. An expert can easily spot the differences between them. There could be differences in the size, the slant or maybe the pressure used to write. And each of these visual differences correspond to various personality traits of the writer.
How do you analyse block letters?
Block letters are analysed just like a normal handwriting sample. For instance, block letters do not have the upper or lower zones and it lacks connection between letters. So, if a block writer comes to us, we ask him/her to write in cursive for the purpose of analysis. After all, cursive writing says a lot about their personalities. However, if the individual is unable to write in cursive, we go ahead with the all-caps writing.
Can a person’s handwriting reveal anything about his health or gender?
Yes, a person’s handwriting can reveal details about his health, but it is beyond the scope of normal handwriting analysis. One has to go through rigorous training to be allowed to comment on the health issues of the writer. Handwriting analysis cannot determine the gender or the age of the writer.
The grapho-pathological aspect of studying is also important. This means unusual characteristics in handwriting may refer to malfunction or specific disorders.
We have heard that graphology can aid medical professionals in diagnosis. What are your thoughts regarding this?
Yes, it does help medical professionals. A lot of psychologists consult handwriting analysts or study the subject themselves. Developmental graphology focuses on the psychological development of an individual and its correlation with certain features in the individual’s handwriting. There is another branch called medical graphology, which examines anatomic and neurophysiological conditions influencing a handwriting process. This branch of handwriting analysis also checks the influences of drugs and diseases on handwriting. The grapho-pathological aspect of studying is also important. This means unusual characteristics in handwriting may refer to malfunction or specific disorders.
Is it true that a compatibility test for couples can be done using graphology?
Yes. Sometimes, people project a different picture of themselves just to conceal their true personalities. During the initial phase of any relationship, both partners put on their best suits. When the picture is rosy, it’s difficult to see grey shades. In such cases, a handwriting check could avoid some nasty surprises. Using graphology, one can see a hidden dagger much before it is disclosed.
There is another side to the compatibility test, which focuses on inherent personality differences. For example, one partner is outgoing, while the other one does not like to socialise as much and enjoys time alone. Clearly, happiness would be hard to come by with such stark differences. There could be two outcomes of this compatibility test: One, both the partners decide to call it quits and move on. Secondly, they may attempt to understand each other and consciously choose to make compromises in favour of the other.
With the advent of typewriters and computers, writing has become a rarity. Do you think graphology will soon become a thing of the past?
It’s unlikely that people will ever stop learning how to write. At least I hope so. As a handwriting analyst, I know that handwriting has important cognitive benefits. In fact, many places across the world have organised campaigns to ensure school children are compulsorily taught cursive writing. People should be aware that the benefits of cursive writing go beyond the art of writing. It stimulates the brain, even in this age of e-mails, texts and tweets. In fact, learning cursive writing helps in developing the cognitive side of the brain. Of course, there are more benefits of writing that cannot be dismissed.