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Friday, November 7, 2008

Learning 50-year-old New Ideas

I've always had some interest in graphology, the study of handwriting. But I've never tried to learn much about it. This summer I picked up a book written in the 1950's on the topic... hey, I will pay 10 cents for fun topics! Just for the record, it's Handwriting, A Key to Personality by Klara G. Roman. So I'm sure that the art or science or hocus-pocus(whichever it is) of graphology has changed in 50 years. Nevertheless this book is quite interesting, even as an historical snapshot, if nothing else. Here are several points that seem sensible that I hadn't either thought about, or didn't previously know.
  • Whatever aspects of our character affect all our motions, such as things which make us hesitant, or graceful, or aggressive, or tense will also affect the movement which drives our writing. This shows up even in the scribblings of toddlers before they learn to write. Scribbles of every child are distinctive.
  • Normal adolescents go through a period (several years) of applying unusual pressure while writing, then several months of unusually light pressure near the end of puberty, before the pressure the exert on the paper returns to a normal level.
  • Cultural artifacts show up in the handwriting of entire populations. For example, Americans' writing tends (well, 50 years ago) to be more open and individualistic than British who are taught to be more reserved.
I'm about a third done with the book... it's fascinating whatever you believe about graphology.

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