The role of graphology, the science of writing analysis, in the sphere of criminology is instrumental, because this science utilizes a vast scope of knowledge and resources in order to contribute to criminal investigations. Moreover, this discipline is used by professional graphologists to differ violent individuals from people who have a deviant behavior. Participation of experts in graphology is no less significant in criminal justice than engagement of psychologists and psychiatrists, because it gives the chance to see the personality behind the unique handwriting. The current paper aims to review and assess functional significance of graphology and handwriting analysis. Moreover, much emphasis will be placed on education and training of experts in the sphere of graphology who should possess abundant knowledge, actual experience, and well-developed skills in order to distinguish psychological traits and emotions of people. Finally, much attention will be paid to factors that influence and shape handwriting and three main types of fraudulent writing will be analyzed.
The role of graphology that is commonly referred to as handwriting analysis is fundamental, because it mainly focuses on the principle that handwriting of every individual proves the uniqueness of the writer’s personality. Moreover, handwriting should be viewed as one of the patterns of a human psychology that is expressed with the help of different symbols, and these symbols are as exceptional and extraordinary as own DNA of individual. Despite graphology is often described as a pseudoscience in the eyes of professional community of scientists, handwriting analysis is extensively used in different spheres and areas including recruitment, security checking, medicine, personal profiling, criminal justice, and many others. The current paper aims to shed light on the significance of graphology in the field of criminology and the principles of work of professionals in graphology. In other words, much attention will be paid to how graphologists are educated and trained in order to identify, recognize, and, finally, interpret unique psychological traits of people. The essay will review and assess the importance of accurate handwriting analysis and describe various types of fraudulent activities including freehand simulation, tracings, and normal hand forgeries. Finally, it is critically important to identify and comment on a variety of factors that have the power to affect handwriting.
Importance and Essence of Graphology
According to the estimations of researchers, graphology is classified as a blend of art and science, which ensures an opportunity to reveal how the writer thinks, feels, and behaves. On the one hand, it is a science, because its primary purpose is to measure the structure and movements of different writing forms including slants, angles, and spacing, because all these elements should be calculated and assessed with precision. On the other hand, professional interpretation talent of graphologists is a sophisticated and fascinating form of art that involves accurate interpretation and assessment of identities. The term “graphology” focuses on the detailed analysis of different physical features, patterns, and characteristics of handwriting primarily purposed to objectively identify writers, reveal psychological state of people at the time of the writing process, and evaluate a wide scope of personality characteristics.
Training of Graphologists
Despite the common views that graphology is an unimportant and funny activity and pseudoscience, only educated, well-trained, and skilled individuals have an opportunity to work as graphologists in the criminal justice system. In other words, only highly trained experts possess enough knowledge and experience in the discussed discipline and have an opportunity to apply accurate graphological interpretation in order to give a thorough and comprehensive account of the research findings. There is a huge amount of reputable and accredited graphological organizations and schools in the world that give people the chance to analyze and evaluate the personalities through handwriting. In addition, there is a variety of courses offered by universities, which are recognized internationally, and a significant percentage of students who complete these training courses will definitely attain a high degree of excellence. In general, most learning sessions focus on three main components, especially eye training and the fundamental rules, psychology, and preparing a professional personality profile. After these training courses, people willing to become experts in the sphere of graphology should spend approximately three years to pass all examinations. In order to become a professional graphologist in the USA, Europe, and other parts of the world, graphologists should possess enough skills and knowledge to be able to convey the necessary information, especially identification of the writer of a handwritten document or letter, interpretation of his/her mental state, qualities and personality traits of the writer. Therefore, experts in graphology should be trained to obtain necessary handwriting samples of people and attentively observe handwriting strokes of every person in order to avoid possible fraudulent activities. In addition, it is essential for professional graphologists who work in criminal justice to use a variety of tools, especially calibrated templates, microscopes, and even magnifying glasses with the purpose to measure such features as height of letters, degree of slant, and many other components.
Moreover, graphologists should develop a variety of skills in order to identify the amount of pressure and emotional energy writers use in the process of writing, apply and understand theories of handwriting analysis, accurately interpret findings and observations, and, finally, conduct a research with the aim to obtain more information on a variety of graphology topics. Despite the discipline may be employed in numerous areas including employment profiling, psychological analysis, medicine, and graphotherapy, the work of the experts in this filed is essential in criminal investigations where people write notes before disappearing or committing suicide. In these cases, the primary responsibility of graphologists is to establish a psychological state of individuals. Despite these specialists spend almost all their working time in office environments, their work is often required in crime scenes.
Researchers who explore training of graphologists claim that professionals in the sphere of graphology should possess thorough and explicit knowledge in the following spheres: criminology, law, sociology, and psychology. There is a variety of courses and programs in the discussed field and handwriting analysis, especially Handwriting Analysts International and KAROHS International School of Handwriting Analysis which offer high-quality distant learning promoted by leading international professional associations. Finally, despite education and additional training courses are fundamentally important, competent and trained graphologists should possess well-developed imagination, superior analytical and critical-thinking skills, ability to focus attention on details, as well as good practical, professional documentation, comprehensive report writing, and, finally, well-developed research and problem-solving skills. Thus, the role of experienced, educated, and well-trained graphologists in criminal justice system is of utmost importance, because professionals in this area usually provide assistance in courts to validate the authenticity of different handwritten documents. Moreover, their work is essential in criminal investigative process which foresees the necessity of personality profiling.
Factors that Affect Handwriting
The science of handwriting analysis is based on the premise that handwriting of every person is unique and no two humans can create exactly the same writing. Moreover, graphology promotes the idea that no individual can naturally reproduce his/her personal handwriting which is commonly referred to as variation. However, researchers provide convincing evidence that there are numerous factors that may affect the legibility of handwriting. There is a variety of internal and external aspects that influence handwriting. Generally speaking, motor control, visual-motor integration, kinesthesia, different sensory modalities, and sustained attention are the most common internal factors that impact on and shape handwriting. On the contrary, the most common extrinsic aspects that affect writing are directly linked to handwriting, especially sitting positioning of a body, writing instruments, lighting, noise, distance, and many others. The combination of these intrinsic and extrinsic factors should be considered while investigating crime scenes, because it ensures a chance to find a criminal and provide numerous proofs of guilt. Experts in the field of graphology are motivated to focus attention on emotions of writers, as emotional state and fluctuations of people usually affect the writing process dramatically.
Types of Fraudulent Writing
The researchers differentiate three main types of fraudulent writing including freehand simulations, tracings, and normal hand forgeries. According to the claims of experts in criminology, freehand simulation is considered to be one of the main forms of fraudulent writing that is directly linked to an attempt of a criminal to draw signature or writings of other people in order to commit crimes. By placing signatures on official documents, individuals agree to circumstances included in the agreement or contract. Moreover, freehand simulation requires that the person makes an attempt to reproduce original writing. Tracing should be understood as another widespread form of simulation that mainly focuses on using original signatures and writings with the purpose to create and use a fraudulent document. Results of research observations provide evidence that this type of fraudulent writing is closely associated with poor line quality. In addition, instead of being smooth and free flowing, tracing is usually uneven and wavy. Finally, in a normal hand forgery, people do not try to copy and reproduce signature or writing of victims. On the contrary, the forger either makes an attempt to produce in his or her writing style, or aims to distort the writing.
In conclusion, graphology or writing analysis is an effective experimental science which investigates and reveals, by exploring the natural graphic movements made by the subject, his/her personality, temper, emotional balance, intellectual behavior, professional and social capabilities, and, finally, numerous morbid inner predispositions. In general, the final product of a detailed handwriting analysis is a psychological, social, and, emotional portrait of the writer, because handwriting includes important biological and psychological components. The role of handwriting analysis is of utmost importance, as it serves as a coherent and efficient profiling instrument that enables forensic psychologists, graphologists, and psychiatrists to increase the speed and quality of various interrogation activities.