There is a gray area for individuals who are unfamiliar with the profession when defining the phrase “Handwriting Expert” as someone who is qualified to offer certified comments on forgery. A graphologist and a forensic handwriting expert are not distinguished in the results of internet searches for “Handwriting Expert.” The disparities are rather profound, as evidenced by only a small bit of research. The background, training, experience, and board certification required by each profession are the most critical and fundamental differences between a graphologist and a forensic document examiner.
The act of assessing degrees of personality qualities, physical attributes, or injuries to an individual solely based on the “look” of one’s handwriting is known as graphology. For example, a graphologist might conclude that an author has poor self-esteem if capital letters are shorter than lower case letters. A forensic document examiner, on the other hand, offers comments on the validity or true history of a document or disputed signature. Details, components, and characteristics of a document or signature can be detected and analyzed using proven scientific techniques to identify whether the document or signature is authentic or a fake.
In its current form, graphology is built on a set of empirical rules derived from definite facts gathered over time and from which deductions are drawn. These are the results of people speculating and making educated judgments regarding the relationship between handwriting and character from Nero to Baldi. From Baldi’s time until the present, a significant number of books and articles have been written on the subject in a variety of languages. However, there appears to be a lot of uncertainty about the similarities and differences between the handwriting expert and the graphologist.
The handwriting expert focuses on the physical structure of handwriting. The graphologist is interested in the human equation, which contains the sum of an individual’s sentiments, hopes, objectives, and talents. To get a judgment, he frequently has to read between the lines, whereas the handwriting expert is just concerned with the lines. However, in order to reach a conclusion, an expert graphologist analyses the lines and structure of a handwriting, and thus can accomplish everything a handwriting expert can do, whereas the latter cannot do everything the graphologist can.
The graphologist has an advantage because of his extensive knowledge: he can assess the writer’s character and determine whether he committed a dishonest deed or whether it was not in his character to do so. This can be extremely useful in locating a criminal or proving someone’s innocence. On the basis of circumstantial evidence, many innocent people have been convicted. Some of this could have been averted if a graphologist had been invited in to examine the suspect’s basic character. Some people are born incapable of committing certain crimes, which will be revealed by their handwriting.
The forger is in a league of his own. In the handwriting of certain forgers, there is little or no character structure. They adopted the persona of the person whose signature he was forging, much like an actor adopts the persona of the character he is portraying. A frustrated artist is often the forger, as he can replicate a handwriting just as certain artists can copy masterpieces and pass them off as originals.
When a large number of a person’s signatures are analyzed, forgers who utilize signature tracing will be found. Because no two people write their signatures in the same way. There’s always a smidgeon of fluctuation. Tracings are when all versions of a signature are identical. Freehand forgery is more difficult to detect in someone who has a good visual sense and genuine talent. He may give himself away with an unintentional minor stroke, a punctuation mark, or an I dot that was not made by the true owner of the signature.
When graphologists have examples of the suspect’s handwriting to match with the questioned documents, anonymous or poison-pen letters are easy to detect. The flow of the writing, more than anything else, may prove to be the most reliable indicator. A person may be able to conceal the angle of the writing and the letter forms by printing, but even in printing, the experienced graphologist’s perceptive eye may distinguish the rhythm—whether sluggish, rapid, disturbed, or whatever—and draw the deduction. The graphologist can tell if a confession was dictated, done spontaneously, or under threat in written confessions made by a suspect under duress, because the confessor’s handwriting will reveal the level of the anxiety he was under. The concept of invalidating such confessions is a good one, as it could reduce errors and prevent an innocent guy from being found guilty.
Graphology is primarily used in the field of psychiatry. Why is psychiatry preferred over psychology? Psychology is concerned with an individual’s emotional and cognitive aspects, whereas psychiatry is concerned with their physical well-being. As a result, in addition to a Ph.D., a psychiatrist must have a medical degree. As a result, graphology is related to psychiatry because it is concerned with the same three issues: an individual’s physical, intellectual, and emotional states.
Graphology will only be able to take its rightful place as a serious field of study and a part of our everyday lives if it adheres to the rigorous standards of formal science. Not only should there be degree programs in graphology, but there should also be standards and testing requirements in place to distinguish the amateurs from the professionals. Standards and procedures for determining what constitutes competence in this field should be established by committees of recognized and established graphological experts.
These measures would result in the use of graphology in areas where it is currently ignored, but at a high cost. For example, many professional examiners of questioned documents go out of their way to distance themselves from handwriting analysts so that their scientific ability is not questioned. However, they could do a better job if they knew more about graphology.
Document examiners who are unfamiliar with the effects of aging, medicine, and drugs on handwriting will rule a signature invalid when it is in fact valid. Many document examiners are unable to tell whether a writer was sick or inebriated when he wrote his name, or if he had aged thirty years between the comparison samples. As a result, certain signatures and handwriting samples are mistakenly declared inauthentic due to their dissimilar appearance.
As a result, these document examiners’ abilities are limited by their lack of knowledge of graphology. If they knew how insanity, mental breakdowns, alcoholism or drug addiction, Parkinson’s disease, old age, and other conditions affect handwriting, they would be better examiners of questioned documents. Instead, they dismiss graphology and frequently make critical errors in the courtroom as a result of their ignorance.