Past and Present

Past and Present in the Research on Handwriting: Time to Improve Reliability

Dr. Nicolò Di Toma
Centro Ricerche sulla Scrittura, Italy


In Chernov, Y., & Nauer, M. A. (Eds.). (2018). Handwriting Research: Validation & Quality. P. 174-192.

Handwriting is studied by several disciplines, which all have different purposes, but a common interest in demonstrating their validity. Both Graphology and Forensic Handwriting Examination are now summoned to test the validity of their assumptions. In scientific research, the concept of reliability is necessary in order to support every hypothesis of validity. For this reason, it is necessary to improve nomenclature and measurement criteria in handwriting, since they are at the basis of any consideration of the validity of these disciplines.
The paper analyzes the importance of reliability in the research applied to handwriting as a first requirement in every hypothesis. A historical digression will show how in different ages scholars have given their contributions to this subject matter. It will then be shown how – nowadays more than ever – scholars have tools at their disposal that allow them, for the first time, to complete accurate research on the reliability and validity: there are technologies that allow a scientific study of the handwriting movement. These technologies, on the other hand, require new skills and professional approaches.
Forensic Handwriting Examination and Graphology have different aims and face different issues; nevertheless, they share the common purpose of nomenclature and measurement of the graphic elements, a starting point to obtain true reliability. This essay offers shared matter among the disciplines, which deal with handwriting, in order to reaffirm the common importance of reliability and promote scholars’ research in several areas through new technologies.

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