Once again, a snippet of handwriting of a famous South African personality has surfaced and been analysed to see if there are any ‘juicy’ bits of information which can be gleaned from it. The analysis of small snippets of handwriting of well known personalities, raises questions of sensationalism and unfairness to the person to whom the handwriting belongs.

And once again I question the ethics surrounding such an exercise. Handwriting Analysis is a very powerful tool in the assessment of personality and in the hands of a responsible, qualified handwriting analyst can provide very useful information.

BUT….. the questions must be asked about the privacy of the person whose handwriting is being analysed.  Did the person give permission for the handwriting to be analysed?  Did the person give permission for the report to be made public to all and sundry?  Has the handwriting been verified as belonging to that individual?

Furthermore, analysing but a couple of lines can simply not provide a balanced profile of the personality.  The analogy to use to explain this is if someone  can be  recognised by looking only at the chin.  Can you recognise a person if you have only the chin to go on?  This kind of analysis is reckless and irresponsible and an invasion of privacy.

This kind of activity gives handwriting analysis a very bad name and once again highlights the need for this science to be regulated.  Handwriting Analysts, who are properly trained (approx 3 years of training), are not soothsayers, crystal ball readers and the like.  Properly trained handwriting analysts understand the need for  objectivity, professional conduct and following standard processes even when an analysis reveals uncomfortable information.  The handwriting analyst is often faced with how to convey such uncomfortable information, if at all.   Furthermore, the professional handwriting analyst is aware of and guards against confirmation bias during the analysis in order to provide an objective and sensitive personality report.

Thus, handwriting analysis for personality profiling, is not a simple matter of picking up elements in a snippet of handwriting or a signature and drawing off the cuff conclusions.