Does Your Handwriting Really Say Something About Your Personality?

graphology, handwriting, penmanship

Graphologists, or self-proclaimed handwriting experts, claim that it does. Specifically they claim that individuals who share certain personality traits write in a similar fashion, so graphologists analyze handwriting to deduce the character traits of the writer. In the early 1900s, Milton Newman Bunker invented the most common graphology technique called graphoanalysis. (Other methods of graphology predate Bunker’s work.) His approach relies on the stroke shape of the letters. Graphoanalysts look at variables like the upslants or downslants of letters like l, k, and t, the size of the first letter in relation to the other letters, the entire line of writing slanting up or down, and the shape of ending strokes of letters like s and e, among many other aspects.

Does how you write a word have a relationship to what word you are writing? Is penmanship considered part of language by linguists? Graphology focuses on about the meaning of appearance of your letters, not about the great or not-so-great sentence you’ve strung together. Linguists study these elements, too, but not to derive some psychological insight.

In linguistics, pragmatics is the study of how context influences meaning. Consider two examples:

  • Your friend says “You look great” when you just fell in a mud puddle.
  • You read the words “You look great” in a romance novel.

Context crucially affects the meaning in both cases. Likewise, handwriting can establish context and influence the meaning of writing. Messy or pristine, the visual nature of words can be an implicature, “anything that is communicated but is not explicitly stated.” For example, if your mom says “The phone is ringing,” she might mean “Please answer the phone.” You can infer what she means because the phone is ringing while she says it and perhaps she has said it in the past, hoping you would answer the phone. You make assumptions about the nature of a writer’s message based on how his or her writing appears.

(What does your e-mail diction say about you? Find out here.)

But can handwriting analysis actually provide scientifically-proven insights about personality? Sorry. Graphology has not been proven in any substantial way to predict or identify the character traits of an individual. Psychologists have researched connections between the elements of handwriting and personality tests like the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, and their results have shown no correlation.

Don’t confuse graphology with graphemics, which is the study of writing systems and their relationship to speech. Nor should you confuse it with forensic document examination, the analysis of potentially fraudulent documents in court cases. Those forensic analyses attempt to identify the author of a document by comparing an individual’s handwriting in multiple instances to prove if they wrote a letter, signed a check, or forged someone else’s signature.

Does your experience contradict what science has to say? Has the character of a person’s handwriting ever taught you something about the writer’s personality? Let us know, below.

Williams Communications – Chmn., Pres. & CEO, CNNfn



HOPKINS: Now, the fiber optic section and networking stocks did well today. The bad news, really, has been perceived by investors as the worst is behind us. Is that you what see as well?

JANZEN: Well, you know, it would appear that we`re reaching the bottom in the market for our stocks. And the tragedy of September 11 really does nothing but reinforce how important network technologies are to ongoing business and how important networks are really for business to be conducted in this country. So I think you`ll see nothing but increased demand as a result of that.

HOPKINS: Now, we`ve heard a lot about there being too much fiber optic cable. There`s really a glut on the market. That`s not your view.

JANZEN: Well, the problem is there is a surplus of unlit fiber, but that is not usable capacity. And so this, really all the talk about the bandwidth glut that people take for granted exists, really isn`t correct because until that dark fiber is lit, which takes a significant amount of time and even more importantly, significant capital, it really isn`t a provisionable capacity, which is what`s critical. That is not in a surplus other than in specific, selected routes. But in general across the country, certainly is not a glut in usable capacity. go to website too much fiber go to web site too much fiber

HOPKINS: But we hear that businesses are cutting back on spending. Is that what you`re finding with your orders?

JANZEN: Companies in this environment, where the market is closed for financing emerging companies and even established companies, everyone is focused on trying to leverage all the facilities that are in place today.

So that certainly has cut back on capital spending around network.

HOPKINS: Now, what about the third quarter for you? Do you have any reason to expect that guidance will be lowered for your company as a result of the attacks?

JANZEN: Actually, our company has established a firm track record on delivering on our commitments. And a good example of that in this very difficult environment for our industry, we`ve executed on very element of our financing plan, raising about $3 billion in funding this year alone.

And you`ll see that same thing around our performance in the third quarter.

We haven`t seen a pullback. And again, really the impact of the tragedy on the eleventh for network companies, this is not the way I`d want to have a positive, certainly, but it is really positive because people are tending to travel less and to go ahead and use networking technologies.

HOPKINS: Your stock, though, has come from 20 down to just over 1. How do you manage in that environment?

JANZEN: Again, we have to stay focused as a company and an organization.

We continue to execute on our business plan in a very solid way. Our revenues have continued to grow quarter over quarter at rates that exceed 50 percent growth. We`re reaching EBITDA positive performance. And by the end of the year we will be EBITDA positive. We`re fully funded. So our stock price is really more a reflection of the overall view of investors of our overall industry and not so much our company. So we just have to stay focused, continue executing and eventually investors will take enough time to sort out the winners from the losers.

HOPKINS: Thanks, Howard Janzen, CEO of Williams Communications, thanks for joining us.

JANZEN: Thank you.


Jan Hopkins


  1. mimi ells -  April 11, 2014 - 7:34 am

    yes…, it does

  2. Michelle Zimmerman -  February 15, 2014 - 6:48 am

    I disagree that graphology should be dismissed as an idle pastime with no validity as this blog implies. I’ve been studying graphology for several years now, reading books written by famous graphologists and teachers of graphology. I wouldn’t classify it at an exact science, but Economics is not an exact science and its contribution to humanity has had such a great impact.
    However to throw graphology in with the likes of astrology or numerology would seem incorrect. Graphology does not involve random probability or its own unique symbolism.
    If we believe in fact, that our writing is controlled by our brain, then why would it be immpossible that personality traits be reflected through handwriting, just as any other activity controlled by our brain ?
    In Europe graphology is a hiring tool that has been utilized for quite some time. Its useful in hiring the right person for the job. Of course people do not always reveal their true personalities by conversation.
    Graphology has a method and is , like any other science, prone to error. It is also taught by some graphologists that improving on your strokes in the areas needed, can improve undesired traits. I don’t promote graphology as a hard science and there seems to be an art behind good analysis, but it should be recognized as usefull with at least some degree of validity and purpose.

  3. Natalie -  February 14, 2014 - 5:23 pm

    What drew my attention to the article in the first place was the thought that it would attempt to attribute a characteristic, that I possess, to myself which could explain why when I write I like to write in, what my teachers and professors always called, “brail.” I have very neat writing, but I do press very hard on the page with my writing implements, whether pen, pencil, felt tip pens etc. Hence, when I turn the page over I have written, essentially, brail.

    I find also that people’s handwriting changes throughout the many stages of life. When I was in primary school I would write very closely to the rules of how to write your “g’s” your “q’s” and other letters. When in high school, after I had obtained a pen license, I was a little more casual with my writing. Now at University I am even more casual with my writing because quite often I have to write shorthand and to note-take. I look at my grandpa’s writing now and see that due to years of writing he struggles to write legibly because of the weakness in the muscles in his hands. But I think that this is a completely different issue entirely.

  4. Agkcrbs -  February 13, 2014 - 6:48 am

    There are different ways to define personality, from the vague and broad to the specific. What is it? The totality of our identity or traits? Personality may as well include how we express ourselves in both word and action — and handwriting, like any other mannerism, is then a subset of personality, connected to it by definition. But reflecting the complexity of personality is not the same as properly interpreting it, or predicting it. Says one, ‘My handwriting has changed over time’ — then aspects of your personality have changed, too; no law except habit prevents people from developing their views, behaviour, or expression over time. Nor need we assume that different people imbue traits that may appear similar with an identical brunt of meaning, any more than one object in two people’s dreams necessarily has the same meaning for both of them, when each has experienced that object differently in life. ‘Graphology’ by this or that approach may certainly be informative and may even align with widely applicable patterns of behaviour in a given community, but like other simplistic measurements of complicated systems, it would have limits that could be emphasized to diminish its usefulness and credibility.

  5. Prachi -  February 10, 2014 - 9:29 pm

    i seem to have many types of handwritings…. one of them is Italics and then i have cursive and i have another one which is quite small……..
    could anyone tell me what my handwriting tell about my personality?

  6. WalkingCivilWar -  February 7, 2014 - 10:42 pm

    I never use lowercase characters when I write, everything is in capitals. This annoys my family as it’s as though I’m ALWAYS YELLING!

  7. An Awesome Minecrafter -  February 4, 2014 - 12:52 am

    Thanks D…that sounds kind of like my handwriting! ;)

  8. D -  February 3, 2014 - 9:48 am

    Bubbly handwriting has rounded, smooth letters that might sometimes have a particular curl at the end. From what I’ve seen, it’s usually younger teenage girls who take this style.

    On another note, I’ve read a particular web comic in which the different styles of handwriting for various people can show some traces of their personality. Maybe not much, but enough to at least give you a feeling of what they are like.

  9. Bec -  January 31, 2014 - 2:01 am

    I guess my handwriting sort of almost ish reflects my personality. It’s that awkward state between neat and messy, print and cursive, if it’s legible at all.

  10. Jane -  January 29, 2014 - 5:09 am

    It’s not surprising to see that most Americans do not see Graphology as a science or even legit. Perhaps pick up Andrea McNichol’s Handwriting Analysis: Putting It to Work for You and see if that changes your perspective.

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