Handwriting Analysis in Forensic Psychological Assessment
Dr. Yury Chernov
IHS Institute for Handwriting Sciences, Zurich, Switzerland
Prof. Vali Engalychev
Research Centre for Forensics and Criminalistics, National University, Kaluga, Russia
In Chernov, Y., & Nauer, M. A. (Eds.). (2023). Handwriting Research: Forensics & Legal. P. 87-104.
Legal psychological examination especially requires methodological tools that are objective and reliable: the responsibility of an expert is very high. Legal psychology is the generalization of two fields: forensic and criminal psychology. Criminal psychology is mainly to do with psychological aspects of the criminal behavior of individual persons and groups. This includes generally the origins and development of criminality. Forensic psychology deals mainly with courts and law, that is with trials. However, it should be understood more widely. It includes all possible aspects of the legal system: investigation, policing, prisons, etc. It applies to criminal, civil, and family contexts. The objects of forensic psychology may be criminals, suspects, witnesses, family members, investigates, detectives, prosecutors, lowers, experts, etc.
Generally, legal psychological assessment uses the same methods and instruments as other application fields of psychology. However, it has strong specifics. First, an explicit involvement of the person under investigation or expertise is often impossible. The person is simply not available or refuses to participate in the testing. Second, the information by a person under investigation is not credible – the person would just manipulate his answers.
That is why alternative or additional methods, which could enhance the level of objectivity and credibility, are very important. One such instrument is handwriting psychology. The authors present several examples of the usage of handwriting psychology in legal psychological assessments. The proposed procedure of the formalized handwriting psychology supported by HSDetect answers the requirements of the mentioned standard. It is formal, unambiguous, and transparent. It satisfies the required quality level required by assessment standards.