by Erica Ly


Have you ever seen a person’s handwriting that genuinely shocked you to the point where you stopped and commented on it (compliment or ridicule, take your pick)? Did your impression of them change after seeing their handwriting? Or did it confirm that they were “that kind of person”?

You’re unconsciously discussing it in a stereotypical sense when you comment that “chicken-scratch” writing belong to doctors, and again when you associate perfectly slanted cursive to prim and proper personalities. Graphology is the look into what a person’s natural handwriting says about their character, temperament, and abilities.
*Not the penmanship you are told to trace, or any forced way of writing in the moment of testing.

handwritten notes

What would you say about this person’s character?
(Image source)


In its earlier roots, graphology pointed out the merely clear and obvious. If your handwriting was clean and legible then you were a tidy person. On the opposing side, if your page was smudged with ink and your letters flew off the lines, then you were more carefree. Over the years, graphology has turned into something so specific it could be compared to fortune telling for your present self. 

But is graphology really all it’s made out to be? Is it so highly accurate and precise as a window into our souls that there is credibility to “graphology experts”? If they are, why don’t all employers ask potential hires to copy a paragraph of text to have an insight into their true beings and intentions? Why can’t all police investigations gain a leg up to cases and find out if the suspect is a known compulsive liar? Surely, it would at least be easier to find out if that special someone has the ideal personality you’re actually interested in?

handwritten notes

How about this personality?
(Image source)


The truth is that graphology is an “observational science”. That means there is no cold, hard, evidence that describes the 99.9% accuracy of the results, nor is there a guarantee that every person behaves the same way as their script says they do. There is definitely a possibility that a con-man could look into comfortably writing like a different personality type to escape detection, should he see choose to.


However, that is not to say that the analysis of handwriting is completely baseless. Observational science has given us many great things that we genuinely accept as the truth without asking “why”. Just look at gravity. We don’t question why it exists (unless you’re a science major), we just take it as it is. Graphology has been based on the findings of scientists who test countless participants until there seems to be a correlation between those who have proven the personality attributes as valid, and specific penmanship styles. The individualistic writing and traits are compared and contrasted to alter and narrow down personality characteristics until there is a clear and specific (as possible) stereotype.


In fact, it is already true that some companies are incorporating graphology into the hiring process. The stigma about the process being questionable and “too good to be true” is what is setting apart the rest from joining. Likewise, you can decipher a basic personality of the guy or gal you’ve had your eye on, using penmanship analysis. Many match-making businesses have incorporated that into the plan after seeing steady success. It may be surprising to learn that even the CIA uses graphology when it sees the appropriate situation arise.

Investigators and experts are constantly looking into the writing of those who imitate another personality type or can write fluently in more than one fashion, to decipher a “true personality”.

So the verdict I give graphology: it’s a science that is evolving into what may one day become an undeniable science fact. Currently, I would say graphology still exists in a grey area with assumptions made that do not apply to a notable percentage of people.

Other unanswered questions I have for graphology experts:

  1. Can the way a person writes can change their personality?
  2. A person’s cursive writing and print may reveal different personalities. What are we to make of that?
  3. Can these observable patterns be applied universally to different written languages as well?


Curious about what graphology says about you? Take this test:


With society becoming more reliant on computers and determined to go paperless, we are less reliant on handwriting. It may only be a matter of time until graphology fades away before it can completely occupy the limelight.

(And for a debate on the best way to take notes, “Paper vs. electronic”, check out my post on the topic!)

What are your thoughts on graphology? Would you ever rely on a penmanship analysis to make a decision? Was your reading an accurate reflection of your personality?