How much can your handwriting really reveal about you?
Paraphrasing Pygmalion’s lavish prose courtesy of George Bernard Shaw, there is “beauty and nobility...august mission and destiny” hidden in the depth of the human hand. It’s long been a romanticised notion that handwriting is almost a window to the soul of the writer, with analysts able to guess things about the writer based solely on their script.
Whether you believe in this distinct form of science or whether you're quick to dismiss it as romanticised mumbo-jumbo, graphology (that is, the study of handwriting), is a fascinating concept, an ancient art form that’s been around since the days of Aristotle. Like a snowflake or a fingerprint, each person’s handwriting is completely unique. Every single person in the world, whether they know it or not, have their own style—whether that’s a particular linguistic nuance, a unique calligraphic slant, or even particular emphases placed on certain letters. It’s said that how you write can indicate more than 5,000 different personality traits—according to Psychologia, “there is very little you can't tell from a person’s handwriting, from physiological conditions like high blood pressure and schizophrenia to personality traits like dominance and aggression… everything from the size of your letters to how closely you space words can reveal intricate details of your personality”.
And when they say everything, experts mean everything—in the art of graphology, analytical points of reference can be anything from the size of the letters (generally the larger the script, the more outgoing the writer), the spacing of the words (more spacing indicates the writer’s enjoyment of freedom) and even down to the direction of the slant (no slant lends itself to a logical and practical writer, whilst a right-slant means open to new experiences, yet a left-slant signifies more of a wallflower). Even the way the writer dots their ‘i’s are scrutinised, with the position (high, right over or to the left) and shape of the tittle (slash versus circle, or even if you're feeling particularly romantic, a love-heart) are all indicative of some dominant personality trait or other.
Graphology has once again hit the headlines when a New York-based handwriting expert Sheila Kurtz publically released her analysis of the First Lady’s script, based on a note she left at an Italian children’s hospital on Wednesday 24th May that simply read: “Great visiting you! Stay strong & positive! Much love, Melania Trump”. According to Kurtz, as reported in The Independent, “the precision in [the First Lady’s] letters and dots show that she’s a good listener, direct, loyal and has good self-control”, yet her signature—which is strikingly similar to her husband’s—reveals a “lack [of] any kind of generosity of spirit”.
Personal feelings about this scientific profession aside, handwriting has more than proved its value in other fields too, proving an invaluable forensic lead in court cases that can link handwriting to suspects in ongoing criminal investigations. Admitting handwriting analysis into evidence has been featured in such high-profile cases as the murder of JonBenét Ramsey, the murder case against New York property scion Robert Durst, and the case against serial killer Dennis Rader among many others. Such is the prolific nature of graphology, handwriting analysis is even being deployed in a last-ditch attempt to reveal the identity of notorious 19th century London serial killer Jack the Ripper once and for all, with a letter from 1888 colloquially referenced in popular culture as “the ‘From Hell’ letter” being their sole point of reference.
So there we have it—handwriting can tell a lot about the author, perhaps even more than the words themselves. The question is: what does your handwriting say about you?