Linda Spencer, MS, CGA

Questioned Handwriting

LS Spencer and Associates

Illinois Forensic Handwriting Experts

Phone 630-631-1987

Questioned Documents

Personality Profiles 

All About Handwriting


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Print Writers and The High Tech World

Posted on March 19, 2014 at 10:09 AM Comments comments (31)
More people are writing in print script everyday. How does this fit with communication in a high tech world?

People who print and prefer to print are preoccupied with the accurate communication of facts unaltered by imagination. Printers are visual learners, and they constantly strive for efficiency. They like speed in performance. They are direct in their communication, they do not beat around the bush, and they expect the same approach in return.

Printers prefer simplicity in their lifestyle.  They often are artistic and intuitive.They do not mind working alone on projects.   It is important to printers to have control  and they tend to leave their emotions out of situations.  For these reasons it can be difficult to get to know them. In fact people who print all in caps do not want others to know who they are.  Many anonymous notes are printed in all caps.

Handwriting is shaped by the era in which one grows up. Today we live in a stripped down, fast moving world. Our styles of handwriting have changed over the decades and handwriting from the time periods reflects our cultural changes.
Tamara Plakins Thornton has written a book, Handwriting in America /A Cultural  History,published by Yale University.  Her book is an excellent review of the history of handwriting and the cultures in which each style was written. As an extreme contrast, it is interesting to compare the ornate handwriting from Victorian times with the increase in print script in these high tech times. You can literally see the changes.

Personality and The Print Writer

Posted on March 3, 2014 at 5:56 PM Comments comments (28)
Many of you are aware that more and more people are printing today rather than writing in cursive.  I am often asked what handwriting analysis reveals about the personality of printers.

Printing fits very well with our high tech world and is reflective of the culture we live in. The models and styles of handwriting have changed over the decades and handwriting from the time periods reflect our cultural changes.For example,look at  handwriting from Victorian times with it's ornateness and compare it with today's almost stick like hand printing. It is easy to see a huge difference.

People who print and prefer to print are preoccupied with the accurate communication of facts unaltered by imagination.  They are visual learners and are often artistic.  They prefer to get straight to the point when speaking and acting and want the same response in return.
Printer's usually are highly efficient.  They will not waste time or resources and will seek the quickest method to achieve results. They like simplicity and often have good taste.

Printer's can find it difficult to bond with others as they prefer to leave their feelings out when communicating. They like to have control over situations and over their environment. They enjoy working independently.

Printing in all caps reveals the person who does not want others to know who they really are.  Many anonymous notes are printed.

How does this fit with the printers you know?  Are you a printer? 

Common Core Standards and Uncommon Cursive

Posted on January 23, 2014 at 5:03 PM Comments comments (69)

Today is National Handwriting Day.  My article, Common Core Standards and Uncommon Cursive was recently published and is available on the internet.  I hope you will read it and let me know your thoughts on the subject.

Are you aware of the fact that writing in cursive and typing on a keyboard create different neuropathways in the brain? Studies are indicating that learning to write in cursive has a strong effect on the learning process, especially in areas of reading and memorization.

The need to learn keyboarding skills is obvious.  However, the need to learn how to write in cursive, while less obvious, is no less important. Neuroscientists are examining and have published studies on cursive handwriting’s effect on pathways in the brain, particularly with young learners. Many of these are available on the internet using  search terms cursive handwriting and brain studies.

An excellent blog, dated  May 2013,  regarding teaching cursive and it's effect on his students is posted by Dr. David Sortino.  Dr. Sortino holds a Master’s degree in Human Development from Harvard University and a Ph.D. in Clinical/developmental Psychology from Saybrook University. In addition, Dr. Sortino holds learning handicapped, resource specialist and multiple subject teaching credentials. He  consults with  parents and schools in the areas of achievement motivation and school success. His blog provides  his  first hand experience and some interesting results from teaching cursive handwriting to his students.

Dr. David Sortino Brain research and cursive writing/blog

We don’t yet know how changing from cursive to mostly keyboarding is affecting young learners brains but evidence is mounting that indicates that caution must be taken before discarding cursive handwriting from our nation’s primary grade education.

Cursive handwriting and Common Core Standards

Posted on November 15, 2013 at 9:59 PM Comments comments (58)

      The Common Core Standards for education are beginning to be rolled out in schools across the country. Many people are unaware that the Language Arts section of the Common Core standards has omitted cursive handwriting as a subject that must be taught. Keyboarding is a required course. The need for keyboarding skills is obvious. The need to learn cursive handwriting while less obvious is also important.

     The omission of cursive handwriting has created growing controversy  over the role handwriting and keyboarding instruction will have in the classroom, particularly in the elementary grades where students are still developing their reading, writing and motor skills. Little research has been done to determine how the change in writing, from learning and using cursive to using keyboarding exclusively, affect neuro-pathways in the brain.

  The reduction in instruction time for cursive handwriting has slowly and subtlety taken place. Sometime in the 1980’s cursive handwriting began to receive less and less classroom instruction. It changed from the excessive two hours a day in the forties and fifties to the current fifteen minutes two or three times a week. Schools often start teaching cursive at the end of second grade and little instruction extends after the third grade. Since cursive isn’t stressed after third grade students are not given enough practice to make cursive writing a habit. As a result many kids educated in the last two decades cannot write in or even read cursive. Many cannot even sign their name in cursive instead they use block printing.

  Little regard has been given to the interrelationships of handwriting development and reading, spelling and composition.  The past two decades of decline in learning to write in cursive has paralleled the nations last two decades of declining scores in reading comprehension. Handwriting can change how children learn and how their brains develop.

     Researchers are trying to understand why units of language are affected differently when hands write by pen and by keyboard.    Handwriting experts know that handwriting is actually brain writing as it is the brain that directs the strokes on the page. Neuroscientists are studying how handwriting actually affects the brain. 

     Psychiatrist and neuroplasticty expert Dr. Norman Doidge author of the book The Brain That Changes Itself explains, “When a child types or prints he produces a letter the same way each time. In cursive however, each letter connects slightly differently to the next, which is more demanding on the part of the brain that converts symbol sequences into motor movements in the hand.”  He also explains, “Sure in the 1980’s there were things that were part of a kind of classical education that people did away with because they thought that they were irrelevant like an almost fanatical attention to elocution and handwriting or memorizing long poems.  But, it now turns out that what these activities did is, "they exercised very important parts of the brain that allow you to think in long sentences, have deep internal monologues and a certain amount of grace in all kinds of expression.  And probably a lot of damage was done by doing away with these exercises that were there for good reasons we didn’t understand.”

Few would argue that deep internal monologues, memorizing, and grace in all forms of expression are becoming lost or certainly on the wane in our culture today.  rumbff? Text talk for, Are you my best friend forever?   Texting has created a new language which is rather reminiscent of primitive forms of writing.
I'll be back with more research findings in my next post.  Please comment.  I would love to hear you opinion on cursive handwriting, keyboarding and learning in this high tech world.

An interesting observation about writing in longhand

Posted on July 12, 2013 at 12:18 PM Comments comments (57)
This is an interesting article about writing in longhand posted by a professional writer.

Do You Really Know Who You Are Hiring?

Posted on July 3, 2013 at 12:35 PM Comments comments (59)
If you are a small business owner you know that every time  lose an employee your company productivity goes down and morale goes down plus you have the frustrating job of placing a new ad and interviewing and checking backgrounds.  Certainly not how you want or need to spend your time.  You can avoid this costly, time consuming and disruptive situation by using personality testing through handwriting analysis. It is estimated that a hiring mistake costs a company $8,000 or more depending on the level of the job position. The good news is many people are underemployed or unemployed so  you have the fortunate opportunity of choosing the cream of the crop from many great job applicants. However, you also have the overwhelming task of sorting through all those applicants, deciding who to interview, checking references and conducting required background checks to protect the safety of the public and your other employees.To make your job more difficult, resumes may exaggerate credentials and background checks reveal only those whose illegal acts have been caught breaking the law. Even references from past employers can sometimes be unreliable. The real challenge when you are interviewing is to get behind the candidates interview personality. Those who are the most impressive during the interview are not always who they seem to be.  You may have had the experience of discovering that the person you hired is very different from the person who shows up on the job.  For example, the person you interviewed was pleasant and unassuming and eager to work on a team.  The person who shows up on the job is loud and arrogant and wants to do things his way, and thinks the rules do not apply to him. Definitely not the team player you thought you were hiring and really need for your projects.  For these reasons and many more, most companies do some type of assessment testing to find a candidate who is most likely to succeed in the job, fit in with the company culture, and hopefully become a highly productive and long term employee. One of the best personality tools available today is Graphoanalysis, handwriting analysis. This method is cost effective, easy to administer and highly accurate and its effectiveness is measurable over time.
It is estimated that a hiring mistake costs a company $8,000 or more depending on the level of the job position.  Whats more a bad hiring decision occasionally becomes a major public relations and legal problem for the company. If you are a small business owner you know you have even more to lose. An investment in personality assessment  is well worth the cost especially considering whats at stake if your new hire becomes a liability instead of an asset. If you would like to learn more about using handwriting analysis as a tool to help you hire, train and motivate your employees please email me @[email protected] or contact me through this blog.

Why is Printing Replacing Cursive Writing?

Posted on June 17, 2013 at 11:48 AM Comments comments (33)
There are many people who can not write in cursive today as well as many who can not read cursive.  There are a myriad of reasons why this is so. Perhaps the biggest reason is because very little time is spent teaching cursive handwriting anymore.  Some teachers do not know how to write in cursive because it is not taught as a part of the schooling for elementary educators.  Does it matter?There is a lot of controversy about the importance of learning to write in cursive.  Some people think it is outdated and unnecessary.  Others think it is still relevant and important to education.  For certain it should not be dropped from elementary curriculum without knowing what, if any, impact it has on the learner. To know how learning to write in cursive and learning to only print or text effects the brain and thus the learning process we turn to the experts, in neuroscience.  There are many neuroscience research studies demonstrating how the act of learning to write in cursive enhances the learning process itself.  You can find a wealth of information on this subject by simply entering learning to write in cursive and what neuroscience studies have to say about how it effects the brain.
A couple of places to start are:

What Learning Cursive Does for Your Brain, published on March 14, 2013 by William . Kiemm a professor of Neuroscience at Texas A&M University, published in Memory Medic

Printing, cursive, keyboarding: What's the difference when it comes to learning?
a study by Indiana University neuroscientist Karin Harman James written by Tracy James and published in IU Home pages

Handwriting in the 21st Century/ an Educational Summit 

I look forward to your questions and comments on the value of learning to write in cursive.

Signatures What Your Signature Says About you

Posted on May 19, 2013 at 7:14 AM Comments comments (52)

Signatures are rather like a person's trademark.  In fact in some cases signatures such as WK Kellogg, Jim Beam and Walt Disney they are the company trademark.
Signatures indicate what the person wants to show the world about themselves.  They can be highly revealing. Signatures should be legible.  Illegible signatures indicate that the writer does not care to communicate who they are. Occasionally a person will write with only a long line or scribbles thinking that this will make it very hard for anyone to forge their signature.  However, scribbled signatures are easier to forge as they have few specifics to  identify.  Another reason why your signature should be legible.
  When looking at a signature notice the size of the capital letters on the first and last names. 
The first name relates to the individuals personal self.  The last name relates to the family or social self.   If the capital on the first name is larger than the capital on the last name it means that the individual wants emphasis on his or her self personally. For example. Jim Smith want to be known as Jim.  He is proud of being Jim.  If the capital is larger on the last name,  it says the person wants to be known by his or her family name.  So what would you say it may mean if a married woman writes her first name capital much larger than her married name capital? Or if a person runs a line over or crosses out  their last name?
When a person crosses out their name it indicates dissatisfaction with who they are or a desire remake the self.  It is not a happy sign.

The Two Types of Handwriting Analysis Explained.

Posted on March 20, 2013 at 10:38 AM Comments comments (200)
Many people do not realize that there are two types of handwriting analysis. Although both types of handwriting analysis work with handwriting they are completely different in their purpose and methodologies.

One type is Forensic Handwriting Analysis which is used to determine the authenticity of a signature or some other questioned handwritten document, note, page or graffiti. This type of handwriting analysis is typically referred to as Questioned Document examination or Handwriting Authentication handwriting analysis.
The Second type of handwriting analysis is Graphoanalysis or graphology.  This type of handwriting analysis is used to determine the character and personality of the writer. This type of handwriting analysis is often used in business as a tool to help in the selection of employees, as well as a tool for counselors to gain early insight into their client's problem.  Many individuals have their handwriting analyzed to better know and understand themselves. 
Although both types of handwriting analysts work with handwriting they are completely different in their purpose and methodologies. The forensic document or handwriting expert is concerned only with the physical characteristics of a handwriting.  They exam handwriting  to find similarities or dissimilarities in the writing strokes, shapes, formations, connections, spacing, and many other peculiarities of the handwriting.  They work with a variety of scientific instruments including stereo microscopes, magnifiers, scientific gauges and other tools to determine if the signature or writing is or is not that of a particular writer.  In some cases they are called in to testify to their opinion and visually demonstrate the reasoning behind their determination. Their purpose if to find the truth of authorship of the writing for the court, not to aid one side or the other in their case.
The graphologist examines handwriting to determine the personality of the writer.  The questioned document examiner examines the handwriting to determine, Who Wrote It?   The graphologist examines the handwriting to determine Who Is The Writer?

I welcome your questions and requests for more information about the two types of handwriting analysis.

Don't Markup Your Document!

Posted on August 16, 2011 at 9:57 AM Comments comments (87)
It is important to know that when you have a signature or any type of document that you believe is forged or in question you should not make any marks on the document.  Documents submitted for examination must not be altered by you in anyway, check marks, circles, strikeouts and other marks can cause the document to be rejected as evidence by the court. Original documents are preferred as they may provide more information than a copy.  For example, the pressure applied when writing can be seen and felt on the original.   Original documents are not always available, they may have been lost or destroyed.  Document examiners must often work with copies and are able to provide conclusive opinions and testify in court. 
When providing a questioned document for examination be sure to provide the best quality copy available.