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Forensic Graphology

Forensic Graphology deals with handwriting analysis. However, it given indications as to the person’s state of mind at the time of producing a particular document, be it a blackmail letter, ransom letter, or a suicide letter.

Basically, it analysis the physical characteristics of handwriting and patterns of handwriting that claim to determine the writer’s psychological state or personality characters. It helps in the analysis of the unique meaning of handwriting and has many things for the study.

Graphology work upon two different types: –

  1. Integrative Graphology focuses on various strokes and their relation to the personality of writers.
  2. Holistic Graphology is based on form, movement during the writing, and use of space.

Forensic Graphology helps in an investigation by determining the psychological state of the writer’s and helping in criminal profiling.

Types of Cases Encountered: –Forensic Graphology helps in analyzing handwriting in such cases encountered like ransom notes in kidnapping or blackmailing letters or in pen poison letters or in suicide cases or in forgery.

Role of Forensic Expert in Forensic Graphology: –

A graphologist looks for insights into some following: – mood, motivation, integrity, intelligence, emotional stability.

Graphologists will examine an individual’s handwriting for signs of some or all of the other factors of handwriting that interest them as well, depending on the reasoning behind their involvement in a particular investigation.

Aspects of the writing process include examining slants or line quality and size of the writing, as it is written softly or heavily scrawled, and how the individual writing the letter might speak. Individual writing manner like using abbreviations, slang, and colloquialisms that vary from person to person and place to place. A Graphologist can make better use of knowledge of such things during the investigative process.

A Graphologist will use the ESDA Test Electrostatic Development of Indented Writing Impressions test used to bring to the fore evidence on paper that not visible to the naked eye.

Some other important aspect of a forensic Graphologist is to help provide a usable profile in combination with a forensic psychologist that police can use in order to draw up a list of suspects.

Identification of personality traits through handwriting samples can be done both by humans and machines. Basically, there are two ways to Carry out the handwriting analysis intending to determine personality traits through it and these are: –

1) Manual Way:- Is done simply by the Graphologist in which he/she analyzes the handwriting by using the various tools such as magnifying glass and observe the various features of handwriting and then determine the personality of the writer based on these features like word spacing, line spacing between, alignment, slant, movement, size, It relies on the knowledge and observation of the Graphologist.

2) Automatic Handwriting Analysis through the computer: – There is software that can help the Graphologist do the analysis more efficiently and in an error-free manner. Computer-Aided Graphology (CAG) systems are one system which enables the graphologist to take advantage of computer in order to achieve the faster and error-free analysis of handwriting that help in obtaining the personality description of the writers based on these analyses. The CAG systems involve scanning, Pre-processing of the image feature extraction, Analysis features.

The various handwriting features can be analyzed in a handwriting sample, and they can tell a lot about the writer’s personality if they are observed carefully.

A few of these features and their corresponding meaning to describe one’s personality traits are:

  1. Word Spacing: If there is a wide space found between the words, the writer usually avoids the crowd and is comfortable in spending some alone time. Narrow space found between the words the writer may be intrusive.
  2. Line Spacing: Wide spaced lines usually open-minded persons. Narrow spaced usually narrow-minded persons and are used to react when close to the action.
  3. Page Margins: Left margins indicates towards roots or family. Right margins indicate the other people in a person’s life as well as the future. The top of the page indicates the goals. The foot of the page indicates the energy practical approach.
  4. Alignment: It can be better judged when the writing samples are taken on a blank sheet of paper. Upward Alignment-Indicates that the writer is optimistic. Downward Alignment-Indicates that the writer is pessimistic. Straight Alignment-Indicates that the writer likes discipline or is organized.
  5. Pen Pressure: Some people write with heavy pressure and they usually find those to be slow it has been seen most times that illiterates write with heavy pressure. Also, the person who is very emotional is writing under heavy pressure.
  6. Slant: It refers to the angle of inclination of handwriting or a letter from that of the baseline.
  7. Size and Proportion of letters: A usual criterion is to judge the size by attributing 3mm per zone and thus sets a measure of 9mm for full height, the size more than this will be large whereas that less than this is small. Large size handwriting indicates extravert as well as confidence. Small size handwriting indicates introverts as well as academics.
  8. Position and Shape of i-dots: If an ‘i’ is written without dot, then it indicates toward the absent-mindedness of the writer.

 

If the dot is placed high above, then it indicates the writer is imaginative.

Dot is formed like a circle, then indicates artistic personality.

However, an open dot may also indicate affection and a visionary.

Forensic Investigators use handwriting patterns to determine the personality traits of an individual. In different agencies use Graphology for checking applications for jobs, recruitment procedures, compatibility for marriage, career guidance, motivates different employees, and child behavior and development. It is also stated that the social and economic status, environment, psychological and cognitive development are also a part of a person’s intentions to take part in aberrant behavior. 

To identify handwriting traits that match particular characteristics, forensic experts study a large portion of handwriting samples from control and Suspect sources.  scope of forensic Graphologist is vast. In the forensic department as a specialist, analyses signatures and handwriting to detect forgery.

References

  • Oliveira LS, Justino E, Freitas C, et al. The Graphology applied to signature verification, 2005.
  • Jamin JC. L’ecritureet le caractere (14th edn), Presses Univ de France, France.

Author: Shivani Singh

Shivani Singh is a postgraduate student. Currently pursuing MSc in forensic science from the Institute of road traffic education college Faridabad, India. She completed her graduation from Amity University Gurgaon. Completed her internship from RFSL Bikaner and CFSL, CBI Delhi. She also attended various national and international webinars and conferences.

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