The meaning of the term Graphology is the “Study of graphisms”. Graphology is a technique that studies writing and the whole graphical production. What does it do it for? To determine the type of personality of an individual through handwriting analysis. Although it seems impossible, a trained graphologist is prepared to detect all the information of the writer.
What is not Graphology? Graphology is not a science because it does not comply with the requisites of the scientific method. It is not a predictive test either. Graphology does not try to guess anything.
This technique reveals personal traits, capacity and abilities, past experiences that have left prints in personality, physical and psychological health problems. Present studies assure that through Graphology it is possible to detect even lies.
How does Graphology work?
Graphology is based on projective techniques (which are instruments that reveal subconscious aspects of conduct. They facilitate the bringing to surface of all of which is nested in our subconscious) in psychoanalysis and neuroscience.
The act of writing consists in executing a movement that, like all movements, depends on the nerve system. This system possesses “our brain” as the principal coordinator, which sends impulses to our hand through nervous signals, achieving the motor act.
This is much more complex than what I am describing here, but the intention is to reflect that if we write with the right or left hand, the feet or mouth, the strokes should be similar (with more or less skill due that both hands have a different training). It is proved that the impulse comes from the brain. Through a bidirectional circuit between the muscles of the hand and the nervous system, the full image of the writer is expressed on the sheet of paper.
What are graphical techniques?
Graphical techniques are projective instruments that are applied in order to recognize the most primitive aspects of the individual. Graphology is the art that intends to find, through the characteristics of letters, psychological qualities of the writer. We know the importance of confirming the findings achieved by other techniques.
German Ludwig Klages, in his work “Writing and Character”, relates the movements and the motivations of the individual in the act of writing and proposes that the human being is driven by countering forces, which are rhythm and measure (rhythm as propellant of movement and measure as the opposed force in relation to rhythm that will inhibit the activity). Max Pulver then goes in depth on the Klage´s idea by studing the relationship of writing and the graphical space. He affirms the existence of a certain analogy between graphical space and temporal space and between writing movements with certain impulses of the human being. (If a person is introverted, this will be represented in the writing, as well as if the person is expansive). That is where Max Pulver´s theory emerges (two crossing edges that divide the sheet of paper in superior, inferior, right and left areas and the center, where both lines intersect, representing the Ego of the individual).
The blank sheet of paper is the “screen” through which the individual “projects” the inner representation of himself, originating the so called “projective test”. The line is associated to the horizontal line of the cross. The high stroke of the letter follows the direction of the superior line and the lower stroke of the same, of the inferior one. That is how we determine a superior and inferior area and, starting from a central point, a left and right area, configuring the scheme of the cross.
What had been applied to writing was extended to drawings. Drawings are productions that are particular to each individual, which express the “Ego” symbolically, its desires and fantasies.
We can access the psychological apparatus and the deep levels of the personality through drawing analysis. In graphical tests, it is more difficult that the individual manages to control himself or manages to manipulate or hide any situation, as opposed to verbal tests. Graphical tests are used to investigate psychological disorders quickly before they are expressed through another practice. Projective tests grant preponderance to the corporal image that each individual on themselves and this is subconscious. It is related to the own history of each individual.
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What does the Graphologist analyze?
The present Graphologist is a specialist with studies and ethics, who describes, interprets and validates the results he obtains through handwriting.
- Describes: When he enumerates the referential characteristics to each graphical symbol.
- Interprets: When he assigns a meaning to the way of producing strokes in context.
- Validates: When he verifies the results that are obtained with other tests.
Handwriting is like a fingerprint, a unique and unequalled gesture that distinguishes us from the rest. Throughout life, the calligraphy learned in the first years evolves along with personality.
Graphology as a Professional Skill
Graphological analysis requires an exhaustive and meticulous examination in order to find the individual traits of the writer. The professional will examine whether the graphical context is compensated or decompensated, altered or disturbed. This is determined through different factors like the spacing between letters, words and lines, whether letters overlap in the same line or with the next line, the presence of blank spaces, the width of margins, the cohesion of letters, whether they are altogether or not, the pressure used for writing, whether there are prints on the reverse of the sheet of paper, the thickness of strokes, color, the speed of strokes, whether it is fast or slow.
The Graphologist is a trained professional who must detect the existence or absence of graphical harmony in a piece of writing. Graphical harmony is the equilibrium in time, layout and movement that integrate the so called graphical vectors. The harmony that we talk about is not linked to the “neat writing”, lacking spontaneity, monotonous, nor excessively decorated handwriting, it is not calligraphic handwriting learned in school, sign of evolved personalities. It is expected that writing is: spontaneous, without hesitations or doubts, without interruption in strokes. This is normal handwriting impulse. When disorders in the graphical impulse appear, they originate alterations and the loss of integrity of the writing. These are called disturbances (it indicates the presence of pathologies).
Importance of the interview
There are people who affirm that Graphology is a technique that does not require the presence of an interviewee. We do not agree with that. It is very important to know information like age, socio-cultural level, whether he is left or right-handed, how he takes the sheet of paper, what color and type of subscribing tool he selects, whether the consultant is consuming any medication, whether he has a disease, wears glasses, whether he is going through a special or abnormal situation or psychophysical circumstance, whether he is comfortable or nervous. All in all, this will contribute at the moment of interpretation and devolution that the Graphologist carries out. It is recommended to analyze prior writings of the same person so as to detect variability, evolution or flaws in writing.
Sigmund Freud introduces symbolism of space into psychology. According to symbolism of space and shapes, the so called graphical vectors of writing are outlined.
What are graphical vectors?
Vectors are forces or cardinal directions that graphic gestures acquire that are considered depending on where they are located:
Vector “A” Spiritual on the superior area: Represents imagination, sublimed aspirations, superiority ambitions, intellectuality, abstract thinking. It is the so called “Superego” in the theory of the psychological apparatus by Freud.
Vector “C” Emotional: In the middle area, Freud locates the “Ego”, which represents the principle of reality, the present and the affective tendencies of the Ego in relationship to itself in present time. On the base of letters we have the limit with the subconscious, where “censorship” is symbolically located. On the upper zone of the middle area of letters a, o, m, lowercase, among others, there is the limit between the emotional and the spiritual; between the concrete and the abstract.
Vector “B” Biological on the inferior area: It represents the instinctive part of the personality, tendencies and physical, material and organic needs. The motor needs, like physical movement, work, sports, change of environment, technical and practical interests that require the command of senses. The attachment to the language, the family and the country of origin. Customs also belong to that vector. To Freud, this is the area where we find the “Id”.
Vectors of contact “I” and “D” correspond to the right and left areas: The aforementioned vectors are divided with an imaginary edge that symbolizes the “Ego” in the left sphere (of letters, words, lines, and the whole page) that represents the regressive aspects of the non-detachment of the mother womb, the immature “Ego”, the primary bonds, the past, introversion, fixation in the anal or oral stage, childish attitudes, feminine attitudes.
The right sphere reflects an individual who has been able to detach from the mother womb, who has generated growth, a mature “Ego”, adult attitude. It refers to affective relationships with the world, communication, extroversion and advance towards the future, projection, influence of the father image, active, aggressive, masculine.
How are these vectors related to Graphology?
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We shall explain this topic through the symbolisms of Max Pulver. When we observe a text, before we read what it says, we will have to consider:
- The blank sheet of paper
- The text.
The symbolism of space helps us analyze the place the text occupies in the sheet of paper and the execution of letters.
We shall study whether the text moves towards the right of the sheet of paper, leaving a big margin on the left, or if it is located on the left, or if it is displaced upwards and there is space left at the bottom. The possibilities are multiple. According to where the writing is mostly developed, that is the vector we shall use for interpretation.
Pulver points out that there are archaic symbols that we carry within ourselves since the times of dawn. Mental associations that we use in a daily basis in life that guide us without being conscious about it. Human beings make some associations such as:
- Left: The mother, yesterday, introversion, the past, the beginnings, fear of the ego to continue.
- Right: The father, getting together, the future, extroversion, achievements.
- Center: Id, present, immediate events, today, self-control.
- Up: The sky, God, light, daytime, spirituality.
- Down: Nighttime, instincts, darkness, depth.
These symbols that we reveal in the graphic space in an unconscious way correspond to our behavior.
The Left Area symbolizes the regressive aspects of personality, incapacity to detach from the mother’s womb, the immature “EGO”. Primary bonds, the past, introversion and reflection of the individual are analyzed here.
The Right Area speaks about people who have been able to detach from their mother, who generated the growth of a mature “EGO”. It refers to the affective relationships with the world, communication and the future.
The Central Area, where we place the “EGO” of the theory of the psychological system developed by Freud, which represents the principle of reality and the present. It corresponds to the affective traits of the Ego in relation to itself during present time. When people write predominantly in this zone, it is interpreted that they need to be the “center” for the others.
The Superior Area symbolizes spirituality, idealism, imagination, intellect. Freud, in his theory of the psychological system, calls it “SUPEREGO”
The Inferior Area represents the instinctive part of the personality, the motor, the biological and concrete. To Freud, this is called ID.
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