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Tags graphology , handwriting analysis

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Old 4th February 2003, 05:40 PM   #1
a_unique_person
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Employers using graphology to screen job candidates?

This sounds a little suspect to me. About as reliable as phrenology, perhaps.

Quote:

Have you ever wondered why some companies ask for a handwritten application letter? Or why some interviews require you to fill out, by hand, a set of forms demanding lengthy answers? The answer may be graphology, the study of handwriting, which is used to analyse personality type, and is a technique that growing numbers of employers are using as a recruitment tool.

According to the British Institute of Graphology, more than 3000 UK companies now check how potential employees dot their i's and cross their t's, and that figure is growing weekly.

The trend is part of the recent growth in the use of personality tests at selection stage. Companies have recognised that attributes such as whether you're a team player or a loner, as well as your levels of communication skills, tolerance to stress and capacity for perseverance can be as important as your ability to do the job at hand.

"Handwriting analysis deciphers what's going on deep inside our brain," says Sheila Kurtz, president of the Graphology Consulting Group. "It can measure thinking patterns, achievement traits, possible addictions and tendencies towards secrecy and deception."
http://www.theage.com.au/articles/20...318607740.html
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Old 4th February 2003, 07:38 PM   #2
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Yep, it's becoming more and more popular, especially in Europe. It's not too widespread in the US....yet.

And it's crap, generally. Human resources researchers do tests on tests on "job performance" constantly.

Things that matter in a job:

Experience, especially in a similar situation.

Cognitive ability, no matter the job.

Things that people use, that don't matter:

Where they graduated from has almost no measurable impact on someone's ability to do a job.

Grades have minimal impact on job performace.

Graphoolgy is uproven.

Personality tests have a slight impact on performance.
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Old 5th February 2003, 12:12 AM   #3
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To my knowledge no graphologer has ever been able to pass some VERY simple tests. I remember a study where a group of graphologers should try to determine the sex of some testpersons. Off course the testpersons all wrote the same piece. None of the graphologers scored above what they would have done by chance.

I think some people confuse graphology with Forensic graphology witch is a very exact science BUT it is only used to determine WHO wrote that letter.

There was a graphologist who had a programme on a minor danish TV station a couple of years ago. People would write to him and he would give them advice on TV. IT WAS PLAINLY OBVIOUS that he based his advice on the contents of the letter and then added some mumbo-jumbo about the "pointed t's and sharp s's" and such crap.

I know some danish unions are in the process of making some trial cases against employers who rely on graphology or astrology when they sort candidates but off course the burden is in the proof.

OTOH if a employer said he would like to hire me because my horoscope looked good, or my handwriting indicated i was the right man, i would probably have a problem with that employment. I really don't think i could take such a person serious when he had demonstrated such lack of judgement.
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Old 5th February 2003, 01:41 AM   #4
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Quote:
. I remember a study where a group of graphologers should try to determine the sex of some testpersons. Off course the testpersons all wrote the same piece. None of the graphologers scored above what they would have done by chance.
Hmmm.... Im quite sure I could do that. Womens handwriting seems to be usually more neat, loopy and rounded while males seem to be more scraggly and pointy.
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Old 5th February 2003, 02:00 AM   #5
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Hmmm.... Im quite sure I could do that. Womens handwriting seems to be usually more neat, loopy and rounded while males seem to be more scraggly and pointy.
I'm not sure but you may just be up for the JREF million if you can do that.
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Old 5th February 2003, 02:03 AM   #6
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There are always exception of course but I find it to be generally a good rule and I think Im usually right (but maybe that just my ego)

Theres nothing paranormal about it. Its just that when girls are in school they tend to give more time to making things look really neat and take their time while wrtiting. Most boys just want to scrawl it down and get outside and cause trouble. Hence the difference, IMO.
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Old 5th February 2003, 02:39 AM   #7
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I agree. I have that impression too. On the other hand the most beautiful handwriting i know is done by my father. I can't (well allmost) read what he writes but gawd it's pretty.
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Old 5th February 2003, 03:58 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by Ove
I'm not sure but you may just be up for the JREF million if you can do that.
I don't think so, the odds really are in your favour!

Here's a quote from the Skeptic's Dictionary:
Quote:
Graphology is claimed to be useful for everything from understanding health issues, morality and past experiences to hidden talents and mental problems.* However, "in properly controlled, blind studies, where the handwriting samples contain no content that could provide non-graphological information upon which to base a prediction (e.g., a piece copied from a magazine), graphologists do no better than chance at predicting... personality traits...." ["The Use of Graphology as a Tool for Employee Hiring and Evaluation," from the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association] And even non-experts are able to correctly identify the gender of a writer about 70% of the time (Furnham, 204).

...

Furnham, Adrian. "Write and Wrong: The Validity of Graphological Analysis," in The Hundredth Monkey and Other Paradigms of the Paranormal,ed. Kendrick Frazier (Buffalo, N.Y.: Prometheus Books, 1991), pp. 200-205.
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Old 5th February 2003, 04:09 AM   #9
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If the dots above the i's are little hearts it's a pretty good indication it's a girl's writing.
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Old 5th February 2003, 05:19 AM   #10
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And even non-experts are able to correctly identify the gender of a writer about 70% of the time (Furnham, 204).
Oooooppss, seems like i got my facts wrong. Sorry.
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Old 5th February 2003, 09:30 AM   #11
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Doesn't bother me, from the perspective of a businessman - while those idiots are hiring people based upon factors which have absolutely nothing to do with job performance, I'll actually be hiring according to things that actually matter. Profitable slaughtering of competition ensues forthwith.


Of course other than that, it's clearly stupid. "Graphology" is functionally identicle to astrology - the only difference is they might actually have some better chance of figuring out the sex of a person.

Great for gender discrimination if you can't just ask or see the applicant, but other than that it's pretty darn useless.


I recall the comment from Randi about spoon bending, "If you can bend spoons with your mind then I'd say you were doing it the hard way." Or something to that effect
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Old 5th February 2003, 09:37 AM   #12
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The heck with graphology. I'd settle for some people who can actually write legibly. I'm a prime offender in any case.
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Old 5th February 2003, 10:03 AM   #13
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I recall reading somewhere that waitresses who draw a smiley face on the bill get bigger tips. Waiters who do the same get smaller tips.
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Old 5th February 2003, 10:08 AM   #14
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Originally posted by arcticpenguin
I recall reading somewhere that waitresses who draw a smiley face on the bill get bigger tips. Waiters who do the same get smaller tips.
That's interesting, makes sense. I wonder what particular reasons cause it.

I'm guessing that smileys represent cuteness, and culturally cuteness in women is either good or indifferent, and in men it is...well, not.
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Old 5th February 2003, 10:09 AM   #15
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But nothing beats a nice glimpse of cleavage. Bonus if there's a smiley-face tattoo peeking out.

Hey, I know - tattoophology should be coming our way any time now.
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Old 5th February 2003, 11:22 AM   #16
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Cleavage ain't gonna do a thing for me as far as tipping goes -- I'm a heterosexual woman.

Re handwriting: there MAY be some correlation between certain writing styles and traits.

For instance, relatively uneducated women (those with high school level training) tend to write in a "copybook" script. Not always true, but often. I've noticed this in the handwriting of some men who haven't graduated high school as well.

As a person moves into grad school, you have to (in self defense) start scribbling notes just to keep up with the lectures. This is where most of us 'unlearn' by-the-book' letter formations and develop weird quirks. Highly individualized writing is often the sign of someone who has a graduate/postgraduate degree.

Women's handwriting becomes harder to distinguish from men's handwriting as they both become more educated (and are pushed into scrawling.)

So, if I see a fairly simple, clear, loopy, textbook perfect letter formation on a sample of handwriting, I generally suspect that the writer hasn't had much college and is (often) a woman.
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Old 5th February 2003, 01:08 PM   #17
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Here's a good article:
http://www.quackwatch.org/01Quackery...ts/grapho.html

The problem with graphology I think is that analysing someone's handwriting is often used in court to determine the identity of a writer. And it can even be used sometimes to help form a profile. This makes it hard for people to see the difference between graphology and good forensic handwriting analysis. Even worse: there are good forensic handwriting analysists who are ALSO graphologists!

This passage from the article I linked to illustrates the difference between graphology and forming a real profile with the help of handwriting analysis:
Quote:
If graphologists claimed nothing more than that cultured people might write with a cultivated hand, or that stingy people fill every corner of the page to avoid wasting paper, there would be little dispute. But the assertion is not merely that tidy people write neatly (which isn't always the case anyway) -- they claim handwriting reveals the larceny in your heart.
Pyrts wrote:
Quote:
So, if I see a fairly simple, clear, loopy, textbook perfect letter formation on a sample of handwriting, I generally suspect that the writer hasn't had much college and is (often) a woman.
Yes, this is one aspect. However there is something that is even more consistent with a loopy handwriting: having short stubby hands. In this thread:
http://www.randi.org/vbulletin/showt...iting+analysis
I tried to show that the signature on a letter supposedly written by James Randi, didn't have the 'loopiness' his signature at the bottom of his commentary has. My conclusion was that James had to have stubby hands and the handwriting on the letter was to 'egdey' to be written by him and more likely to have been written by a young and skinny breatherian... The person the letter was adressed to.

The photos of the Amazing Meeting confirmed what I expected about Randi's hands.

(This means that the easiest way to emulate a more feminine handwriting is wearing winter gloves while writing. Let the graphologists figure that out! )
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Old 5th February 2003, 03:07 PM   #18
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So the consensus is, if you can't tell if you are talking to a man or a woman at the job interview, or you would like to find out if they have short stubby hands but they won't take them out of their pockets, then graphology might be usefull.
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Old 5th February 2003, 03:35 PM   #19
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Around about 1990 I had a job interview with a company called Renaissance GRX that made PC video cards. At the very end of the interview they gave me a writing assignment and told me they were sending it off to a handwriting analyst in California. I was stunned and questioned them about it a bit, but I wish I'd let 'em know what I really thought. They didn't offer me the job which was kind of a relief.

I think the company is long dead. I searched for the company name and all I come up with is resumes of the people who used to work there.
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Old 5th February 2003, 04:10 PM   #20
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Originally posted by a_unique_person
So the consensus is, if you can't tell if you are talking to a man or a woman at the job interview, or you would like to find out if they have short stubby hands but they won't take them out of their pockets, then graphology might be usefull.
Yup, sounds about right to me
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Old 5th February 2003, 05:02 PM   #21
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I remember reading a book on graphology, and one thing that sticks out as a basic tenet is that if your writing leans to the right, you are outgoing, and leans to the left, you are introverted. Mine, leans heavily to the left, infact I have noticed very few peoples does lean to the left, which is the opposite of the way you are generally taught in schools , take italics, they lean to the right as opposed to normal text up and down.

So I would say leaning to the left shows individualism and an urge not to conform, but anyway, its a load of crap, as long as what you write can be understood, it enough for me
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Old 5th February 2003, 06:39 PM   #22
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I remember reading a book on graphology, and one thing that sticks out as a basic tenet is that if your writing leans to the right, you are outgoing, and leans to the left, you are introverted.
Then apparently left-handed people are often neither. In school in the past, for some odd reason, teachers often tell left-handed students that since right-handed people should slant their writing to the right, either they must also slant it to the right, or that they should slant it to the left (depends on which teachers you get). Yet it is perfectly proper for a left-handed person not to slant their writing at all, as any properly informed instructor (especially if they are left-handed) would tell you, and I in fact do not slant my writing. All my hand-writing is straight up and down, cursive or not, and it has 100% to do with how I was taught.

Further, I have rather awful handwriting now, but I use to have great hand-writing. What happened was I started using computers All The Time - I hardly ever to any handwriting now adays, whatsoever, and thus the great decline in my neetness and legibility.

So apparently graphology to that extent won't work on me, either. Doesn't bode well for the 'theory', does it?
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Old 5th February 2003, 09:04 PM   #23
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I was hired for a job in 1987 and was damned lucky that the manager who believed in graphology retired one month before I was hired. I looked up my handwriting in a graphology book and found that I am a bit of a kook according to their "science."
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Old 6th February 2003, 02:01 AM   #24
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only time I was asked to take part in graphology, I walked out of the interview. All my writing would have told them is that I am slapdash and careless, who needs that kind of insight when you're trying to portray the opposite.
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Old 6th February 2003, 11:13 PM   #25
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To go back to a topic mentioned earlier...

Quote:
So, if I see a fairly simple, clear, loopy, textbook perfect letter formation on a sample of handwriting, I generally suspect that the writer hasn't had much college and is (often) a woman.
Be careful with your generalizations. Not all graduate programs require fast note-taking. I'm in a physics graduate program, and I [and most of my professors] print neatly in either all caps or careful mixed-case. I've only seen one professor so far who really scrawls rather than prints. This is not a female effect, either...there is only one female professor in the entire department, and I haven't seen her handwriting yet.

In my experience, physicists and engineers typically use careful printing rather than cursive, despite their advanced education. (And, to address your latter point, there are more men in those fields than women.) So I would think that guessing one's education level from handwriting is a dubious business.
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Old 7th February 2003, 03:13 AM   #26
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Quote:
Originally posted by The Don
only time I was asked to take part in graphology, I walked out of the interview. All my writing would have told them is that I am slapdash and careless, who needs that kind of insight when you're trying to portray the opposite.
Same here! I would never get anyway with a graphology test in an interview:

"and here we see a lazy slob who probably hasnt washed his dishes in three weeks..."
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Old 7th February 2003, 03:36 AM   #27
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This is very disturbing

Luckily my handwriting have upward slopes suggesting optimism, and heavy pressure.

Logically I must be physically fit and strong-willed and be very healthy?

No... I'm in bad shape for the most part, I am strong willed-- sometimes. My handwriting style I chose because I liked the way another person wrote and I modeled my signature off of theirs.

Either way, I usually have upward slopes.

The capital I's, I do with a bar at the top and bottom, which must mean I have a high opinion of myself right?

Wrong, I'm a pessimist, and I have a pitiful opinion of myself. I think I suck more than a vacuum cleaner at most things. I usually put the bar on the top and bottom for precision. Otherwise the capital I, can look like a lower-case l. I don't like things getting mixed up.

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Old 7th February 2003, 05:04 AM   #28
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A few months ago the National Ground Water Association proudly announced that a famous graphologist would be an attraction at the annual convention. The Association takes a stand regarding dowsing, but apparently isn't concerned about some other forms of superstitious nonsense (or simply doesn't care what is prepared on its behalf).
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Old 7th February 2003, 08:13 AM   #29
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Quote:
Originally posted by QuarkChild
To go back to a topic mentioned earlier...

...

In my experience, physicists and engineers typically use careful printing rather than cursive, despite their advanced education. (And, to address your latter point, there are more men in those fields than women.) So I would think that guessing one's education level from handwriting is a dubious business.
Also from my experience, Accountants have very clear and neet handwriting, and when taking an Accounting course you are pretty much forced to be much more tidy in your writing than you otherwise would be. If you can't read your own writing, or if the teacher can't read it, or if you don't put all your numbers in just the right line and spacing, or you write the the account name in the wrong area, etc, then you get the question wrong. You could get _many_ questions wrong because of one mistake, too.

English class also might have some similar effect if you need to handwrite your essays. Luckily mine is in a computer class...shwew. I'm dreading running into a writing emphasis class without benefit of computer...
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Old 7th February 2003, 02:30 PM   #30
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I don't think any doctors would ever get a job.
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Old 7th February 2003, 05:42 PM   #31
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Good God, what's next?

Utter crap. I'd walk out of an interview where they pulled this crap on me.
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Old 7th February 2003, 09:23 PM   #32
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The only good thing about good penmanship is being able to forge your parent's signatures while in school. Ba da bing.

I don't know about the gender thing. I have always had extremely messy handwriting, I think it's a waste of time to make handwriting perfect, seems all my letters are compacted into one stroke if possible. And I don't have a high education. My exhusband, on the other hand, had absolutely beautiful handwriting (almost like a female LOL)

We all start out in school writing the letters as we are taught. I wonder what age children learn to individualize their writing style?
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Old 11th February 2004, 12:09 PM   #33
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