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James Randi Educational Foundation

An Encyclopedia of Claims, Frauds, and Hoaxes of the Occult and Supernatural

Introduction | "R" Reading | Curse of the Pharaoh | End-of-the-World Prophecies

Index | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | Y | Z

graphology (also, graphiology, a spelling invented by the practitioners) Graphology is not to be confused with graphoanalysis, the art of identifying samples and classifying styles of handwriting for legal and forensic purposes.
      Graphology is a pseudoscience by which it is claimed that the character, disposition, fate, aptitudes, and potentials of a writer may be determined. Slant, flourishes, pressure, size, regularity, and curvature are some of the features that are believed to reveal characteristics of the writer.
      To quote John Beck, secretary of the National Society of Graphologists in the U.K., some practitioners are so accurate that “sometimes they can tell what a person had for breakfast that morning.” Graphology, he says, is “the most precise of the 'ologies,'” and it has shown that “99 per cent of persons in the U.K. are not in the right jobs.” He also says that graphology is a brand of psychology. In contrast, Professor Michael Rothenberg of the Department of School Services, City College, New York, defines graphology as largely “pseudoscience, closer to fortunetelling than serious research.”
      In Israel and in Europe, many companies rely on graphologists to make decisions on employment, promotions, contracts, and other business matters. French psychologist Alfred Binet (1857-1911), the originator of a well-known IQ test still in use, embraced graphology as genuine and published material on the idea in 1906.
      Though certain very obvious physical traits and failings of the subject (tremors, lack of co-ordination, dyslexia) can clearly be established by studying the individual's handwriting, graphologists claim that hidden thoughts and attitudes, weaknesses and hidden desires, can be revealed through their pursuit. The fact is that double-blind tests of graphology have shown that it cannot perform as advertised, and certainly does not serve to indicate career choices or capabilities. The percentage quoted by Mr. Beck is perhaps more indicative of the failure of graphology to correctly determine proper career directions.
      However, Susan Morton, who professionally practices graphoanalysis (not graphology!) for the U.S. Postal Service Crime Lab in San Bruno, California, can indeed tell the future of one whose handwriting she identifies. If it matches what she is looking for, she says, she can clearly tell where the writer will spend the next four or five years.

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