The reviewers studied, among other things, the size of the letters, the type of connections between letters, the shape of the parentheses at “m” and “n”, and the type of point on the letter i (dot, circle or short line); Pressing force and direction of writing inclination as well as trembling hand marks. Then the psychologist searched for links between these characteristics of writing and personality factors such as emotional stability, extraversion, tolerance, conscientiousness, openness, and impulsivity. But she did not find anything. It concluded that a person’s typeface does not give clues to these central personality traits.
So why does graphology fascinate so many? “People like to believe that there are secret psychological tricks by which one can see through others,” explains Uwe Kanning, Professor of Business Psychology at Osnabrück University of Applied Sciences. Many like the idea that one can detect liars with the help of eye movements or that one can determine a high level of intelligence from a signature.
The psychologist deals with suspicious methods in the work of individuals; He assigns graphology to the semi-silk category. According to him, about 2% of German companies still employ calligraphers. “It doesn’t sound like much, but with more than three million companies in Germany, thousands of people are still rated by their handwriting,” he criticizes. Calligraphy in France and Switzerland is more common than here in Switzerland.
The Barnum Effect: A Little Thing for Everyone
Like astrology, graphology benefits from the so-called Barnum effect: some literary writers take pride in the fact that people identify themselves in their analysis. However, in these cases, customer satisfaction is not an indicator of the correctness of the method. The Barnum effect states that we can easily accept vague descriptions of personality as tailored individually to us. The phenomenon is named after the American showman Phineas Taylor Barnum (1810-1891), who declared that in his treasury of curiosities (including a ventriloquist, a circus flea and a model of Niagara Falls) there might be “something for every taste.”
Psychologist Bertram Furer demonstrated this principle in the mid-20th century meanwhile The experience is often repeated. Trick students into thinking they are taking a personality test. At the end of the test, you should rate how well the score applies to you on a scale from 0 to 5. On average, the participants gave an amazing 4.3 points. Everyone received the same text. Comments consisted of impulses such as “Sometimes you act extroverted, kind and open-minded, but again you are also introverted, skeptical, and reserved.”
Women write more beautifully
But what about other characteristics – such as gender? Can you tell by handwriting whether a man or a woman has written a script?
“Alcohol buff. Troublemaker. Introvert. Student. Social media lover. Web ninja. Bacon fan. Reader.”