Much as phrenology seeks to understand the psychology of people by studying the bumps of their skull, graphology seeks to understand them by analyzing their handwriting. This is not to be confused with forensic document examination, which is done to determine the validity of a document. In medicine, graphology helps doctors diagnose and track the course of diseases of the brain and nervous system.

Graphology is based on the few basic tenets. When we write, our arm and hand are controlled by the central nervous system. Neurological changes can show up in our handwriting, reflecting alcohol use, Parkinson’s disease, and more. Likewise, our emotional and mental state can be reflected in our writing.

Graphologist will evaluate a handwriting sample based on its pattern, form, rhythm, movement, and the quality and consistency of each stroke. Interpretations may very between graphologists, and there are several schools of thought that may affect the interpretation.

In graphology, the slant of the letters can provide information on the inner world of that person. Expressive and emotional people show a strong forward slant to their writing, while those who are emotionally withdrawn will have writing that slants to the left. Vertical handwriting with no discernible slant indicates a restrained and moderate person.

The shape of the letters also indicates what kind of person wrote them. Circular, loopy writing indicates an easy-going nature. On the other hand, angular writing with many sharp spikes can indicate high energy and an aggressive nature. People who are practical and down to earth often have square handwriting, while artistic people who march to the beat of a different drummer often include squiggles and other irregular strokes in their writing.

Of all of the individual letters, the letter “T” has received the most interpretations. The location of the horizontal “bar” on the t can indicate the goals of the person in question. If the bar is high on the “stem” of the “t”, the person in question sets their goals very high. Meanwhile, the length of the stem relates to their ability to reach those goals. A “t” bar that is higher than the top of the stem indicates dreams that are out of reach.

There are several approaches to handwriting analysis, and each has led to new systems. Currently, there are only three academic institutions which offer an accredited degree program and handwriting analysis. Two are located in Italy, while one is in Argentina. In the United States, training is only available via correspondence. The quality of schools varies, and those interested in further training are urged to check out schools carefully.