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The proper APA Style reference for this manuscript is:
CLARK, S. R. (2005). Graphology: Predicting Intelligence. National Undergraduate Research Clearinghouse, 8. Available online at http://www.webclearinghouse.net/volume/. Retrieved September 25, 2023 .

Graphology: Predicting Intelligence
Missouri Western State University DEPARTMENT OF

Sponsored by: Brian Cronk (cronk@missouriwestern.edu)
This study questioned the predictability of a person’s intelligence by analyzing the style of their handwriting. The study was conducted at a university in Northwest Missouri. Forty-five students, 32 females and 13 males, were recruited from two general psychology classes and given an IQ assessment test containing ten questions and a sentence at the end for each participant to copy for purposes of the handwriting analysis. The handwriting was analyzed on things like the slant of the writing, the size of the letters, how hard the subject copied the sentence on the paper, and whether the subject dotted i’s or crossed t’s. The subjects were also asked their age, gender, and grade point average to determine whether those factors contributed to predicting their intelligence. There seemed to be no significance with regard to any of those factors except for GPA. A person’s intelligence could be predicted by their GPA score. In conclusion, this study was not consistent with previous research that holds evidence for handwriting as a predictor of intelligence.

Confucius said, “Beware of a man whose writing sways like a reed in the wind.” Just like Confucius, graphologists make predictions about personality by examining the way the person writes. Beyerstein (1992) defines graphology as the alleged scientific practice of determining a person’s psychological, social, occupational, and medical attributes from the way one forms letters, lines, and paragraphs on paper. Graphology is a branch of the large group known as “character reading”. People have been interested in the unique aspect of human individuality since ancient times. Assumptions about a person’s inner make-up range from interpreting the positions of the stars, lines on the palm, bumps on the head, and the style of writing one possesses. Modern graphology can be traced to the seventeenth-century Italian physician, Camillo Baldi, but the most influential founder who coined the term “graphology,” and founded the Society of Graphology, in 1871, is a French clergy, Jean-Hippolyte Michon.French graphologists continued to dominate the field until the early twentieth century when German graphologist began to introduce their own analysis. German graphologists suggested that writing was a sub-species of expressive movement and that mental processes and emotionality could be read by analyzing writing. These graphologists began to justify personality readings by saying that “handwriting is brainwriting,” which still remains the most widely stated defense of graphologists (Beyerstein, 1992). Graphologists believe personality traits like temperament, self-confidence, optimism, honesty, jealousy, generosity, criminal tendency, and complacency can be determined from writing. Graphologists also believe intelligence, reasoning, intuitiveness, leadership, and reliability can be predicted. Although there are previous data that correlate with intelligence, there have not been substantial relationships between graphology and personality prediction (Furnham, 2003). The purpose of this study is to determine whether there is a relationship between the way a person writes that can predict certain intellectual capabilities.


Forty-five students were recruited form two general psychology classes at Missouri Western State College. The classes consisted of 32 females and 13 males that ranged from ages 18-25 years.

The students were given an IQ assessment of 10 questions that measured intellectual capabilities, and were asked to copy a short sentence. The questions were taken from an online IQ test at http://web.Tickle.com. They were allowed to use a pen, or pencil, on this assessment.

Students were given the 10-question assessment with a sentence at the end of the test. They were asked to answer the questions with the best possible choice given and then they were asked to copy the sentence at the end of the assessment. The sentence consisted of words containing several “t’s” and “i’s” for purposes of analyzing whether the student dotted the i or crossed the t. The Other characteristics the writing was graded on were the slant of the students writing-whether the slant was consistently to the left, right or mixed, the size of the writing and how big the letters were, the space on the paper the students utilized in order to complete the sentence, and the pressure of the writing-this depended on how hard or soft the student wrote. Demographics such as age, gender, major, and GPA (grade point average) were also asked.

Data were analyzed using multiple linear regression. The regression was calculated to predict the subjects intelligence (IQ) based on the style of their handwriting (slant, size, pressure, crossed t’s, dotted i’s), age, gender, and grade point average. A significant regression equation was found (F (1,43) = 4.365, p < .05) with an R2 of .092. Subjects predicted IQ is equal to 3.987 + .987 (GPA). Subjects grade point average had a significant effect on the measure of the IQ score. There were no other significant data found with regard to the slant of the writing, the size of the writing, the pressure of the writing, or whether the subjects dotted the i’s or crossed the t’s. There were also no significant results with regard to the age of the subject or whether the subject was male or female.

This study about graphology and predicting intelligence showed there is no support that the style of a person’s handwriting can predict how high their IQ will be. The slant of the writing, pressure of the writing, size of the writing, and whether the student dotted and crossed the correct letters had no significance in this particular study. As reported above, the only statistically significant regression was found with grade point average predicting IQ. Although evidence does not hold firm in this particular study, previous data does report substantial evidence that the style of a person’s handwriting can be somewhat helpful in predicting one’s intelligence. Further research would be more effective by analyzing handwriting on a more specific scale, meaning not just whether the subject dotted the i or crossed the t, but how the subject crossed or dotted them. Looking at certain characteristics of the writing such as whether it was sloppy or neat, if there was a lot of space between letters or if they were close might also enhance the study. Also, further research could benefit from recruiting subjects and keeping the same people over a long period of time to study several different writing tasks (notes, checks, letters, etc.). Further research would benefit by taking more aspects of intelligence into consideration and implementing more than just ten questions on the intelligence scale.

Beyerstein, B.L. (1992). How graphology fools people [electronic version]. http://www.wuackwatch.org/01QuackeryRelatedTopics/Tests/grapho.html.Furnham, T. (2003). Does graphology predict personality and intelligence. Individual Differences Research, 1, 78-94.King, R.N. (2000). Illusory correlations in graphological inference. Journal of Experimental Psychology, 6, 336-348.What’s Your IQ? [Electronic version]. http://web.tickle.com.

Figure 1. Scatter plot of IQ (how may questions on the assessment the subject got right) with respect to grade point average (GPA).


Submitted 4/28/2005 12:24:37 PM
Last Edited 4/28/2005 12:44:01 PM
Converted to New Site 03/09/2009

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