I am convinced that a person's handwriting is an excellent projective procedure, perhaps even the best projective procedure available today. Samples of handwriting are readily obtained and are thus immediately useful for analysis. It is clearly recognized that a person's handwriting is highly individualistic and that it reveals both conscious and unconscious aspects of personality.
I found it valuable to question graphologist Kimon Iannetta as to what clues of dangerousness she found in each individual research case and to encourage her to identify any repeated signs or clusters of signs in the writings that contributed to her predictions. Watching this skilled graphologist at work, I had the distinct impression that if I were able to supply her with a number of handwriting samples from patients who were frequently prone to violent behavior, she would most likely improve upon her ability to recognize these types of individuals in a general population. I envisioned this as a valuable learning experience for her. I also saw that it would expand and improve upon her abilities in predicting possible violence as she had more and more experience with precisely specified kinds of cases.
It also occurred to me that the use of graphology might be a valuable way to discover valid patterns and clues for any specific area being studied. In this instance we were aiming for the prediction of dangerousness in psychiatric patients, but these same techniques could perhaps be used to identify non-psychiatric dangerousness as well. It might also be possible to identify other specifically defined targets, such as who might be genuine suicide risks; other personality components such as creativity or special talents might also be recognized.
When it became apparent that Kimon Iannetta could indeed identify dangerousness with considerable regularity, the question was then raised as to whether this recognition skill could be taught to others who might be called upon to assess possible dangerousness. Obviously health care professionals would not likely have the skills of a seasoned graphologist and they would probably not even know how to approach handwriting as a measurement tool. However, it seemed that we might simplify the procedure enough to produce a practical tool for use by health care professionals.
This very time-consuming project has provided some valuable findings that could prove to be very helpful for the assessment of dangerousness. The problem immediately encountered when using handwriting analysis, however, is that graphological assessment can be an enormously complex task, and thus requires specialization. There is also a need for extensive research to further legitimize the serious use of graphology.
In the present instance, predictive attempts were made on the basis of extensive study of precisely identified target cases (post-diction?) in conjunction with the use of statistical analysis. An attempt was made to provide a tool useful to graphologists and non-graphologists alike. The result is this manual.
James F. Craine, Ph.D.