What if someone told you that they would know everything about your personality by just looking at your handwriting or your signature? Would you believe them?
Graphologists claim that they can uncover characteristics of one's personality by looking at one's handwriting. They use the study of graphology or the psychological interpretation of handwriting. They have whole glossaries that tell what characteristics of handwriting demonstrate which traits. For example, forgetting to cross one's T demonstrates that the person is forgetful or absentminded. A full glossary of these handwriting characteristics and their traits can be found here.
This method of determining personality should be evaluated using the Six Principles of Scientific Thinking before we consider the claim to be fact. The principle we should use is the principle of Extraordinary Claims. This principle states that extraordinary claims must be supported by a lot of evidence before we believe them.
Graphologists say that they can tell one's personality traits by looking at his/her handwriting, and they say they can predict job performance. However, when comparing the results of graphologists to other personality tests, their findings didn't match up. And there is almost no evidence that supports the claim that graphology can predict job performance. (The article that demonstrates this research can be found here)
In order to further evaluate the method of graphology, we must also look at two important criteria used for evaluating all tests. The first is reliability. It refers to the consistency of measurement or if a test will produce the same results when taken a second time. The second criterion is validity or the extent to which a test measures what is says it is going to measure.
Researchers have found that graphology has low reliability. They discovered this by giving professional graphologists the same handwriting to evaluate multiple times. However, they told the graphologists that is was a different person every time, and the graphologists produced different results each time. Researchers have also found that its validity is close to zero.
So from evaluating graphology scientifically, we have come to realize that there is not enough evidence to support the claim that graphologists can decipher personality traits from handwriting. We have also come to realize that graphology is low in reliability and validity, therefore graphology is not a good test for determining personality traits.
- "Psychology: From Inquiry to Understanding" Textbook
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