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Is Handwriting Analysis Valid?

To fully satisfy the criteria of scientific validity, a study must be published so that one's professional peers may have the opportunity of examining, challenging and repli cating the study. In this strict sense, handwriting analysis generally falls short. There are some studies that meet these criteria but these are relatively few.

This does not mean that handwriting analysis isn't valid. It just means that, overall, the validity of the subject has not yet been proven to the satisfaction of the scientific com munity.

This is not an easy thing to do as it takes a great deal of time and money to conduct and publish appropriate stud ies. As well, like many subjects dealing with human beings, e.g. psychology, sociology or medicine, some aspects might be highly scientific and valid while oth ers are clearly not. And, to confuse the issue further, handwriting analysis is highly dependent upon the skill of the individual practi tio ner.

In spite of these difficulties, validation studies continue to go on. Many of the individuals and organizations conduct ing these studies do so primarily to satisfy their own pur poses. They do not publish their results for peer review and thus fall short of fully sat is fy ing the scientific model.

An example is the International Graphoanalysis Society which has had a research department since 1929. Today, it is headed by Dr. James C. Crumbaugh, who was the "Mississippi Psychologist of the Year" in 1989. Dr. Crum baugh, in a reprint entitled: Graphoanalytic Cues, origi nally published in The Encyclopedia of Clinical Assessment, vol ume ll, 1980, pp. 919-929, points to a number of stud ies that: "seem to be the most effective in demon strating a sci entific basis for the assump tion that hand writing can be as valid in personality assessment as the other major pro jec tive techniques." An example of a projective technique would be the Rorschach Inkblot Test.

Although it seems a little circumspect to me, this state ment suggests a degree of optimism and I believe Dr. Crumbaugh is saying that these studies demonstrate a reasonable basis for assuming that the possibility of scien tific validation exists.

So, it seems that although many studies have been done by reputable individuals and organizations, there have not been enough of them done to the degree necessary for general acceptance as scientifically valid.

Again, this doesn't mean that handwriting analysis isn't valid. It just means that it hasn't been scientifically proven to be fully valid, at this point in time. Of course, on the other hand, many of us who are practicing handwriting analysis have our own studies and reasons for believing that a substantial amount of it is very highly valid. As well, a consider able number of psy cholo gists, psy chiatrists, physi cians and other profes sionals have enough confi dence in handwrit ing analysis to have learned about it and to actively use it.