Showing posts with label graphoanalysis. Show all posts
Showing posts with label graphoanalysis. Show all posts

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Reviews of My Favorite Graphoanalysis Books

Image created on Fotojet.com

What Sold Me on Graphoanalysis 

I had my first experience with graphoanalysis in the 1990s. At the time I had an IBM clone  computer in the days before Windows and before I had the internet. I don't quite remember how I acquired the floppy disks I got my shareware programs on or how I even found out about them back then. But one of those disks had a program for analyzing people's signatures for their hidden meanings.

My friends and family weren't safe. I immediately used the program to find out all about them. Of course, I shared  my results and most people thought the results were correct assessments of their personality traits.

In 1990 the IRS decided to audit us. They asked for a ridiculous amount of paperwork and receipts over the course of several weeks. We'd go to an appointment and then the agent would ask for more. By mail. With her signature. Hubby said, "Why don't you analyze her signature?" So I did. That analysis gave us enough information to plan a strategy that worked and helped us win our case. After that handwriting analysis became a sort of hobby.

Later I Turned to Handwriting Analysis Books


As technology progressed, I had to upgrade my computer. I could no longer use a floppy disk. But I wanted to learn more about graphoanalysis. So I started buying books. My collection now includes six books on the subject. I will review my two favorites here.

My foundational book was Handwriting Analysis: The Science of Determining Personality by Graphoanalysis by Milton Bunker, founder of the International Graphoanalysis Society. He was a shorthand teacher who had learned and taught seventeen different shorthand systems. He began to research handwriting in 1910 and through his observations developed his techniques for analyzing it. He explains how he developed and tested his system. He believes it's as valid a science as psychology is. Not everyone agrees. My own experience leads me to believe there's something to it.

After the first chapter, every chapter teaches you a rule to use when evaluating handwriting. Each of these chapters is followed by an short exam so you can test yourself. All the answers are at the back of the book. There is a "Dictionary of Grapho Analysis" at the very end of the book.

The book itself was first published in 1959. I have the 1975 printing and its cover design shows it. The type style  and layout of the book are not as easy to read as more modern styles, but it's still worth what I paid for it and I'd buy it again because it's so interesting. The covers below give you an idea of the style. That back cover will get big enough to read if you click it.

My Scans of Front and Back Covers of Bunker's 1975 Printing, © B. Radisavljevic


See the signatures of the rich, famous, and infamous, as well as their analyses. Learn how the ability of someone to analyze another's handwriting prevented suicides.  Between the covers of this book are numerous stories I simply enjoyed reading. People have used graphology to settle court cases, help law enforcement, and protect loved ones from unhappy marriages and even murder.

Milton Bunker introduced me to the way graphoanalysis developed and its basic principles and techniques. He showed me how useful it is to learn it. Andrea McNichol provides a more modern book that makes handwriting analysis easy to learn -- Handwriting Analysis: Putting It to Work for You. Both books are entertaining and held my interest with anecdotes, case histories, and instruction.

Nuggets from Milton Bunker


Bunker calls the ability to analyze handwriting "an insurance policy." He says it can protect your wallet and even your life. He tells several stories where this turned out to be the case. Appearances are often deceiving. Some scoundrels are very good actors and convincing liars. But their handwriting doesn't lie. You can learn a lot about someone from their signature alone. I certainly found that was true as I dealt with the IRS agent during our audit. Graphoanalysis helps one look behind a person's facade.

Here is Bunker's advice for applying what you learn from his books:

  1. Study the rules
  2. Use them to study actual samples
  3. Test and prove your result
He says if you do these things, what you learn will stay in your mind even if lose your books. 

Bunker says analyzing your handwriting will help you get to know yourself better. It can also help you help your child. Sometimes it can uncover unrecognized family dynamics so families can deal with unhealthy situations. 

Bunker tells the story of a family that was about to "lose" their son. The parents knew he was headed for trouble and they didn't know what they were doing wrong. After an analysis of a sample from the parents and the child, they discovered the boy felt his parents didn't love him. They had both been so active outside the home they didn't give the son the attention he craved. The boy agreed that was the problem and the family was able to make changes and turn the situation around.
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What to Do with Your Discoveries


Milton Bunker cautions us to be ethical in the way we use what we find when we analyze someone's handwriting. He reminds us that we should not use it to judge people or as a basis for gossip. He offers this example. As you analyze someone's signature, you may discover its owner has a tendency to steal. But because a person has that tendency doesn't mean he has ever actually stolen anything or ever will. You should simply recognize that the tendency is there and not let him handle your money. Watch him carefully if he handles money or other things of value. Use the information to protect yourself and those you love. 

You may also discover things about yourself you don't like when you analyze your own writing. Bunker and many other graphologists believe you can actually change some traits you don't like by changing your handwriting. I have no personal experience trying to do this, but he does offer some guidance on the subject. 

A Fun Way to Learn Handwriting Analysis 


My Scan of My Book
Andrea McNichol wrote a workbook designed to help anyone learn to analyze handwriting for personal reasons. Handwriting Analysis: Putting It to Work for You is easy to use and makes learning enjoyable.

Ms. McNichol has sterling qualifications. She did her undergraduate work and got a teaching credential at UC Berkeley and studied graphology in Europe. She also participated in more specialized study and research related to substance abusers, mental patients, and criminals, some under the auspices of the University of California. She designed and taught the first graphoanalysis course at UCLA and went on to teach the course at seven other UC campuses. Her students have given her consistently high ratings in their reviews. As a professional consultant for law enforcement and businesses, she has used her skills in high profile cases such as the contesting of the will of Howard Hughes.

The book cover I scanned above gives you a good preview of the format and style of her book. My affiliate links above or below will take you to the book page where you can look at a few sample pages inside. They will give you a realistic idea of what it's like to use this book. You will see the introductory quiz that demonstrates how much just your common sense can discern.

McNichol defines graphology as the study of all graphic movement. She believes it applies not only to handwriting but also to doodles, sculpture, and painting. She says it gives insight into the writer or artist's physical, mental, and emotional state, but in this book she limits herself to handwriting analysis. She does devote a brief chapter at the end of the book to doodling.

When We Write We Leave "Brain Prints"


Image Created on Fotojet.com


Ms. McNichol points out that people's handwriting is as unique as their fingerprints. Our handwriting is like an x-ray that reveals what's in our minds. Scary? She says "Our brain prints reveal who we are and how we think, feel, and behave. The are an x-ray of our minds....No two people have the same brain prints."

The purpose of McNichol's book is to show us how to read these brain prints so  we can understand more about people than their spoken words and their actions may reveal. Her easily readable presentation is full of samples and illustrations that will engage you in actually testing what you learn as you go.

Two Approaches to Handwriting Analysis


McNichol offers two paths to interpreting handwriting.

  1. Look for the individual traits of a person's handwriting and determine what each reveals. 
  2. Start with an individual personality trait you want to check for and then see if the person's handwriting has signs of that trait being present. 

Suggestions to Increase Accuracy When Analyzing Handwriting



Don't jump to the wrong conclusion when you see one or two traits that point in the same direction. Look for several different traits that mean the same thing. If possible, use several samples of a person's writing that were taken at different times. 

Consider the conditions a person wrote under. In the introductory photo at the top of this post is a sample of my writing taken under abnormal conditions. I was writing with the "pen" that came with my Samsung Galaxy Note 9 smartphone. I wanted to use a handwriting sample as part of the image and the easiest way to do that was to use the pen to write on my phone screen and then make a screen shot to edit as part of the total image collage. I then used Fotojet to build the collage of cover scans and the handwriting sample. 

Writing on a phone screen is a bit like signing your credit card on one of those terminals that supplies the pen and allows you to scribble something that only faintly resembles your signature. On the phone screen I can at least see what I'm writing, but the surface is much different than paper and one needs to concentrate more. Handwriting samples are best taken when a person is not trying to concentrate on the writing process. The important part of an analysis is what a person is unaware of doing. Something written on paper at a table or desk is a better sample than something written on a computer train or while holding a phone in one hand and the pen in the other. You get the idea. 

Make sure the person who wrote the sample intended for others to read it. We are often careless when we are taking notes just for ourselves, especially if we are trying to hurry. A grocery list may not be the best thing to use. 

Other Considerations 


McNichol tells us that children's writing is often undeveloped. We need to analyze their writing differently than that of adults. They often display traits in their writing that is normal for their age but would horrify us if we saw it in an adult's writing. This book is intended for analyzing adult handwriting only. 

It can also be useful to know which system a person learned to write with. Many people learned to write with the Palmer method and some parts of the book applies mostly to people who learned that way.  If you know how a person learned, it's easier to spot deviations from that method of writing. 

Why Not Learn to Analyze Handwriting Yourself?


It's not only an enjoyable hobby, but it's a great way to get to know people -- really know them. Most of the friends I asked were happy to give me samples. Of course, they also wanted to see the results. Most were surprised their writing revealed so much they'd never told me. 

Write a letter to your younger self and sign it. Or write a letter to anyone you don't intend to send. Don't think about your handwriting -- just what you want to say.  Then use one of these books or a computer program to help you analyze your writing. I have used all of the books below and found them helpful. Many others have been written since I bought mine that I'm also tempted to try. Sometimes it's better to learn from more than one teacher.

You may surprise yourself with what you learn from your handwriting.  And you will also begin to notice the traits you see in the writing of others. Have fun.






Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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