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Graphology: what your handwriting says about you
Sherlock Holmes silhouette with handwritten text on red background

Writing

Graphology: what your handwriting says about you

10.04.2023

Those who have read Arthur Conan Doyle’s novels about the investigations of the brilliant detective Sherlock Holmes at least once will remember that he often solved his cases by establishing the psychological profile of the culprit from an analysis of their handwriting. Through careful observation of the strokes, lines, spacing, and size of individual letters in a handwritten text, Sherlock Holmes could interpret the personality of the perpetrator through a discipline called graphology.

Over the years, graphology has sparked more interest, and many people have taken to it mainly as a hobby, trying to analyze the handwriting of friends and acquaintances. However, graphology is not an exact science, so much so that reality often contradicts its results. Graphology, described as a pseudoscience, bases its principles on empirical analyses showing a recurring link between certain personality types and handwriting. In any case, when approaching this discipline, always remember that the outcomes of graphological studies lack scientific validity and are subject to exceptions.

Dario Argento Visconti pen on a red background where white lettering can be glimpsed

The right pen for your writing personality

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From theory to practice

It is now time to try your hand as a freshly minted graphologist. First, prepare or find a text written in cursive on a blank sheet of paper, without lines or squares, that may influence the natural writing style.

A matter of slant

One of the first aspects to focus on is undoubtedly the angle of the letters. Observe the ascenders and descenders of certain letters such as, for example, t, b, and l for those going upward and p, q, and g for those going downward. If one notices a slight rightward slant, the person is probably open, extroverted, and likes to be with others but also has a certain degree of critical thinking. When the rightward angle is particularly noticeable, the person in question constantly seeks attention from others. Left-slanted handwriting, also called inverted, usually indicates a complex person that tends to self-isolate and be grumpy. When, on the other hand, the slant is absent, that is, the stems of the letters are perpendicular to the margin of the paper, the person has good self-control and an attitude that is always composed and at times cold and detached.

The analysis of the ascenders and descenders is not limited solely to their inclination; it is also essential to observe how they are traced. If, for example, the stem of the b or d turns back on itself, almost as if forming a loop, the writer has a vivid imagination; on the contrary, if the stems are sober and restrained, they indicate self-control and rationality. It is also worth dwelling on the shape of the descenders. The more rounded they are, the more they indicate an emotional nature and the need to experience strong feelings.

Thickness matters

An additional element to consider when conducting a graphological analysis is the thickness of the traced letters. Bearing that the writing instrument used influences the thickness of the stroke, it is possible to distinguish thin from thick handwriting. In the first case, a fine, light stroke signifies a sensitive, delicate, and vulnerable personality. If, on the other hand, the marks are thick and well-defined, the writer is strong, direct not afraid to say what they think, even if they risk offending.

Telling curlicues and flourishes

Once we have reviewed the more obvious elements of handwriting, we must remember the swirls and curls added almost unconsciously at the beginning or end of each letter. Since they are often the result of spontaneous and uncontrolled gestures, they reveal the most intimate and hidden part of the unconscious and let the writer’s true nature shine through. Four categories of curls denote different personality traits:

  • Lazy curls: can be seen in the final parts of a or o, especially when these letters are in the final position of the word. Those who emphasize these curls are usually kind but not born leaders. They tend to shy away from their responsibilities;
  • Sober curls: when in letters such as a and e, the final dashes are short and only hinted at. In this case, they are typical of rational people who never flinch in the face of life events.
  • Sloppy curls: can be found when the final strokes of the letters are elongated to the right, drawing a curled wave. They indicate a personality attentive to the thoughts of others and eager for their approval.
  • Bravado curls: in the case of very pronounced vertical lines curving to the left, the person has a strong, self-confident, reckless, and sometimes arrogant character. An example frequently cited to describe bravado curls is the handwriting of the famous poet Gabriele D’Annunzio.

Now that you have had a chance to discover the secrets of graphology, you can have fun outlining the psychological profile of the people around you. But remember to take your results with a grain of salt. Though graphology used to be a method of evaluation in aptitude or university tests, despite its lack of scientific basis, scientists and therapists don’t accept it as a diagnostic method for any psychic or psychological disorders. Therefore, it is necessary to approach this subject with due caution without considering it as an absolute truth. However, it remains an imaginative and original method to access the most remote part of the human mind and become a budding profiler.

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