the power of graphology
This week, I’d like to talk about handwriting. Did you know that National Handwriting Day in the US commemorates the January 23rd, 1737 birthday of John Hancock, who evidently was the first to sign the Declaration of Independence and had the “boldest” signature? On January 23rd every year, we are all encouraged to promote and encourage legible handwriting. But I think we should celebrate good and legible handwriting every day. 😊
I think you’ll agree that the art of legible handwriting is quickly going the way of the dodo bird, as most of us write very little by hand these days. Most everything is computer generated. I used to take pride in the quality of my penmanship, but I can no longer say that. My writing, although likely still better than average, is by far a work of art. Hats off to those who have pursued the art of handwriting through the study of calligraphy. But we’ll leave that topic for a future discussion.
I find the subject of graphology–the study and analysis of handwriting–to be a fascinating one. Graphologists use handwriting to analyze an individual’s personality, strengths, fears and skills.
I recently read about Dr. Annette Poizner, a graphology expert, in the Winnipeg Free Press. The article mentioned how employers are consulting graphologists to analyze the handwriting of prospective employees to determine if they have any character flaws that may not otherwise be detected during the recruitment process. Fascinating stuff.
But what’s really scary for people like me is that my signature changes dependent on my mood, the formality of the document I’m signing, whether I’m rushed, etc. If rushed, I generally only sign half my surname. If I’m in a really creative or expressive mood, I’ll likely include larger swoops in my lettering. If I’m feeling inhibited or stressed, I may write smaller and more methodically–but probably the most legibly of any variations of my signature.
So if someone like Dr. Poizner is analyzing my handwriting, I would hope she has several writing samples to be able to acquire an accurate assessment based on more than one day and more than one situation.
Poizner, who has a Doctorate of Education in Counselling Psychology from University of Toronto and a Masters of Social Work from Columbia University of New York, says that doctors have been using graphology in conjunction with psychotherapy for years. An excerpt from her 2005 paper says that graphology can be used to chart therapeutic progress and to investigate pre-morbid personality structure as well. Perhaps this would be a good underlying theme for a new TV show. To read Poizner’s complete paper on the use of graphology within psychotherapy, access her website.
Graphology expert Jo Engel was once revered to be the world’s most renowned graphologist. A more contemporary style to graphology research is available via this site. Have a look around to learn the basics in an easy-to-absorb visual manner.
How’s your handwriting? Has it slipped in tidiness and legibility as mine has, or do you put a conscious effort into keeping your handwriting tidy and legible? Do you do much by cursive writing (longhand) anymore, or are your pens drying up from non-use as mine are? Please share your thoughts in the comment thread below.