Have you ever heard of graphology? Graphology is the science that studies the individual’s personality and character traits from their spontaneous handwriting. It is a mistake to think of it as an esoteric practice in which one “guesses” something about a person or in which paranormal abilities are required; in fact, writing is a neurophysiological gesture that originates in the brain and reaches the hand through a complex stimulus-response mechanism. The graphic gesture is a projection of neuromotor activity, while the objective of graphology is to identify the psychological implications of the graphic act. The most recent graphology seeks a scientific point of view, also resorting to experimental methods, such as graphometry, to always obtain more rational criteria, and it is moving closer and closer to modern psychology.
Each one of us learns a fairly uniform handwriting model at school, then, over time, personalises, and automates the graphic gesture, detaching himself more or less from the model learnt, projecting his own inner world and experiences onto his handwriting, at which point the subject has moved on from the model to the anti-model, which distances itself from the scholastic handwriting (Bruni, 1994).
For centuries, man has been interested in the relationship between handwriting and personality, and reflections on this area can already be found in the writings of the Greeks and Romans. The first proper studies date to the 17th Century when, however, graphology did not yet exist as an independent discipline. The term graphology was introduced in 1868 by the French abbot Michon to indicate the study of the observable relationships between handwriting and personality; his studies were later continued by his pupil Crèpieux-Jamin, who, contrary to his master, linked psychic qualities not to a single sign, but rather to a complex of signs, attempting to trace back from the graphic gesture to the psychophysical causes. Crèpieux’s studies also gave great inputs in other countries to the discipline of graphology to become increasingly scientific.
In the same period, other important scholars expressed their thoughts in the world of graphology, in particular Klages in Germany, Pulver in Switzerland, and Moretti in Italy (Brunilde et al., 2013).
Graphological analysis is a spontaneous projective test in which it is possible to identify certain intellectual components, predisposition to analysis and criticism, type of memory, possible introversion or extroversion, affectivity, empathy, sensitivity, and behaviour. Graphological diagnosis requires both the analytical examination of handwriting and the use of irrational factors such as intuition and empathy. Moreover, handwriting changes with the evolution of one’s personality. Obviously, in order to speak of a complete analysis of the subject’s personality, graphological analysis alone is not sufficient, but it needs to be supplemented with other tests and assessments (Galimberti, 2018).
Among the graphological signs that can be analysed, there’s the width of the left and right margin, how large, small, snappy, fluctuating, taut, twisted, ruffled above or below, untied, tied, upturned, upright, hanging, rooted, It is possible to attribute a meaning to each of these signs after careful analysis. For example, snappy handwriting, present when the letters are not well aligned on the line but deviate from it, could be interpreted as an excess of uncontrollable energy that can be wasted or transformed into creativity, or tense handwriting with abrupt and angular transitions could represent inner conflicts that reflect conflicts with the environment (Bruni, 1994).
Among the fields of application of graphology there is personality analysis, couple and family counselling, school and vocational guidance, graphic appraisals, criminology, developmental assessment, and organisational interventions.
In conclusion, it can be said that writing is an expressive behaviour, or rather a marvellous expression of man in his entirety, where body and mind are interdependent and come together to bring out inner experiences.
Written by Margherita Pietro Bon
Translation by Giulia Magni