Handwriting analysis: An adventure into the subconscious human mind

Published: April 19, 2013

Each and every one of us has distinct, unique handwriting which may be similar but is never exactly like anyone else’s.

People have been scrutinising their own and other people’s handwriting through the ages.

Can so and so be trusted? Does he finish a job even when the going gets rough? Is she as nice as she is pretty?

Many people have pondered over these questions and have looked to the subject’s handwriting to try and unravel the secret of their character.

Each and every one of us has distinct and unique handwriting; our script may be similar to someone else’s but it is never exactly the same. A few people are totally unaware of the individuality expressed in their writing. Very often they are proud of the grace and legibility of their handwriting and when they find writing like their own, they instinctively admire it sensing a kindred spirit.

Some people write in a font which is larger than others; some carefully cross their t’s and dot every ‘i’ while others neglect to do either. Despite being taught a certain type of script in school, everyone’s hand is still different just as their personality is. This is because we concentrate on what we are writing more so than how we are writing it.

Graphology (handwriting analysis) is the study of character, personality and mental functioning through handwriting. Handwriting serves as a diagnostic tool here. It measures patterns of emotional response, conscious behaviour and cognitive functioning as determined by the brain that finds expression in the handwriting and can be analysed and understood.

Handwriting reflects both the psychological and the physiological state of the individual, and provides valuable assessment in psychological diagnosis. Thus, it is a systematic study of human nature that is mostly based on common sense; without requisite knowledge, a keen eye can extract some personality features of an individual by just looking at his/her handwriting.

Men such as Jung, Freud, and numerous other scientists were convinced of its value and studied it in depth. Though they paid little attention to individual letters, they concentrated upon the whole of a person’s handwriting – where the writing was located on the page, how fluid or jagged the lines were, and how legible it was.

These factors were considered of much greater importance to them than individual letters. However, since then enough has been accomplished in this direction. Because graphological analysis deals with human character, the system is built in such a way that the whole human character, as well as the body intervals in the script, are covered by dividing letters into three parts: the upper, middle and lower zones.

The upper zone indicates the head/intellectual capacity, with the neck and shoulders, hence representing the future. The middle zone describes the upper spine, chest and the thinking patterns in daily life and therefore represents the present. The lower zone emphasises on legs and feet, the subconscious mind and consequently the past.

Furthermore, any irregularity in the human body will reveal itself in the corresponding zones. Illness or disease is shown in the handwriting by frequent changes in the script corresponding to the area of the body affected. These marks appear because, subconsciously, the writer wants to indicate that there is a problem and may later explain where exactly it lies. Typical signs of illness or injuries are dots (hesitation marks), skips (interruptions), and changes of direction (indentations). Dots that seem to have no purpose are resting places for the writer, who momentarily feels too weak to continue writing.

In developing the graphological system all terms and indications were accumulated under two classifications – the general and special features of handwriting.

The general features of handwriting include the rudimentary or basic principles of writing, which alone are not competent enough for analysis.

The special features refer to those elements that are interpretable and to which the general features are subordinate. The general features of handwriting include style, size, slope, spacing, lines, strokes, and speed. Additionally, some special features include down strokes, cross strokes, loops, margins, hooks, and the small letters.

Capitals, figures, punctuation, and signatures are contributing factors, having significance only when associated with a written specimen. Signatures are not always reliable material for analysis, apart from the text.

In discussing what graphology can interpret, it also seems obligatory to emphasise what it cannot reveal. Because graphology is based on psychology and physiology, it cannot be extended to foretelling the future nor is it a way of telling the writer’s fortune, but it can point to the way one is progressing.

In simple words, graphology cannot reveal what the writer actually does as an occupation or profession, but what they should be doing.

Disclaimer:  The field of graphology in health has not yet been scientifically established and validated, and signs of illness are generally gross. This work is still in the arena of empirical observation and the research is ongoing.

Follow Usman on Twitter @UsmanKazmi


Usman Kazmi

A graduate from International Islamic University. Graphology is his passion and is in touch with the International School of Handwriting Analysis (ISHA). He tweets @UsmanKazmi

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Sane

    Good knowledge. But, still unproved.Recommend

  • Noor

    But I also read that people whose brain processes information faster tend to have untidy writing since they think more quickly. Anyways, I do not believe that one’s entire personality can be shown through their writing, and everyone has a different style of forming strokes which can be deemed right or wrong through another’s perception.Recommend

  • Qaisrani

    Good job Usman. Carry on your passion.Recommend

  • waqar khan

    If the author’s research is based on solid foudation than handwriting should undrgo changes with aging,as disease and disoder of old age should start reflecting in handwriting. I dont find much changes in my writing even at the age of 50,we probbly need more research on this aspect.Recommend

  • Legend

    This is quack science. Palmistry can predict my future more precisely than graphology can predict my personalityRecommend

  • Sry

    Nice blog; never thought about how handwriting is like fingerprint, unique to individuals. Of course, tons of research is still reqiured to make all of this scientifically valid; very interesting nonetheless.
    I am a big fan of Freud and Jung, so when I read their names that only increased my curiosity.

    Also, good to see people in our society fostering (intellectual) passions, usually it’s all ‘get a degree aur paisa kamao’ Recommend

  • Imad Uddin

    hey wait, am I reading wikipedia?
    I first heard of handwriting analysis in sherloch holmes..n I rejected it as pseudoscience d moment I heard …its good u wrote tht disclaimer. U may also find so much “depth” in telepathy. try tht too!
    But coz its os deliciously interesting can u really tell something about m writing…my writing is garbage…I try my best to make it ligible before each exam I appear in but nothing changes a tiny bit….many a times I too have difficulty reading something I wrote in d past…wot does tht mean? I write “the” when I wana write “they” . I make two different kinds of small “f” n two different kinds of capital “F” “T” n “I”…n I have no control over tht decision. my small e has little or no hole, “m” and “n” are always partial. Words are always up n down, cant write on a straight horizontal line. my t n i always have its dash n dot- my k looks like h. can u “deduce” something Holmes?Recommend

  • Optimist

    I don’t think it is practical… it is just guess work. Recommend

  • Anon Bob

    @Imad Uddin – You are not the only one who doesn’t understand what you write, I am struggling too. Perhaps you need to be sent back to elementary school, not only to teach you how to write but also teach you values such as positive criticism. I am surprised you are allowed to actually appear in exams with your one-letter words, let alone pass them!

    So before you criticise someone’s work at least form your argument sensibly and write properly so people like me are not compelled to tell you off.

    P.S Please forgive me if I have been unfair criticising you for your writing if a cause of dyslexia.Recommend

  • Imad Uddin

    oops…I thot the blogger will take it as humor..m sorry if u felt offended. wz just a bit excited wen writng this…:)Recommend

  • https://twitter.com/Yousaf_Manzoor Falcon

    Simply surprised at the comments on this blog, specially those that are equating graphology to palmistry. Graphology is a fairly established discipline and is in fact used by intelligence agencies as well for psychological profiling. It is not as absurd as it sounds. You just have to understand a fundamental psychological principle, every little choice a human being makes is reflective of his/her thought pattern, whether it be choosing a place in the class, crossing arms during conversations, choice of where you sit in a public transport to even a dot that you place on a paper (for example, if you placed a dot on top of the page, why did you do it that way, you could have as well put it elsewhere). I studied graphology right after high school. I have tried testing some of the graphology basics against writing of people I know and it usually turns out to be fairly accurate.Recommend

  • https://twitter.com/Yousaf_Manzoor Falcon

    @waqar khan:
    Handwriting is affected by everything from age to diseases to even mood swings. That is why graphologists usually recommend picking up multiple samples of a person’s writing over a period of time to filter out such distortions.Recommend

  • Usman Kazmi`

    @Anon Bob:
    @Imad Uddin: wow. I must admit “bloggers like me needs, readers like you”. please carry on I am certainly enjoying this. And nonetheless I am here if you guys really have a query, but so far I think you guys seems to be self-sufficient :)Recommend

  • Imad Uddin

    @Usman Kazmi`:
    hey ur blog reminded me of a very close frnd of mine. dint mean ny offense.Wud love 2 hear wot ur handwriting analysis have to offer about me.
    I personally believe tht truth about nything (even about an individual personality) can be extracted by using one or more of the four layers.
    1-The most concrete is the logic. It does not need ny honesty on ur part. 2+2 will always b
    2-Science…its slightly softer than logic n there is a slight scope of tilting, u wud see scientists being “proponent of something(read thomas khuns revolunary book on paradigm shift)… there is some honesty required on ur part
    3- critical thinking.I is moch more softer U need much more honesty to never jump to conclusions, never form slippery slope arguments or straw man arguments. see his pieces
    4.Art totally fluid. Artist are extremely sensitive to light intensities, they can weigh the tone of different colors. They can relate a slight dent on ur face with the pressure they exert with their graphite. If an artist can employ his skills in thinking, he can see even slight differences in weights of different arguments- something most critical thinkers cant do. But do do tht absolute honesty is required. Other wise an artist remains what I call “superficial”-not related to truth.
    Those who can properly employ all these levels to see truth can see the furthest…. thts y genius have always been creative…
    UR writing analysis may probably fall somewhere between art n science….hence depends so much on the person employing them
    @Anon Bob: I dint properly form my arguments? An argument essentially consists of a premise and a conclusion. I did not form an argument at all in any of my comments here.Recommend

  • Usman Kazmi`

    @Imad Uddin
    My email address is provided on page please email me there.Recommend

  • Kamran Khalid

    great stuff. Mr. Usman can you analyze my handwriting. Please make an adjustment :) thanksRecommend

  • Muhammad Imran

    i agree with u usman …. keep it up with passion ………… may allah bless u ………Recommend

  • http://www.gcuf.edu.pk Engr.Muhammad Ubaidullah

    I am deeply impresses with mind awaking thoughts…infact a new horizon of self awareness and self consciousness. I strongly recommend this article for young guns, and taking initiative i gave this article as an assignment to the students of communication skills and to make their conclusion on this intellectual article.

    Engr.Muhammad Ubaidullah
    GC University Faisalabad.Recommend