September 05

Writing Like Crazy — a graphite infographic about the graphias

The other day, I stumbled upon the infographic, “What Does Your Handwriting Say About You?”  According to the authors, “how you write can indicate more than 5,000 personality traits.”  I found this claim surprising, especially because I never knew more than 10 personality traits existed!

Despite the infographic’s accurate description of me as “shy or withdrawn, studious, concentrated and meticulous… intrusive… logical, systematic… hard to read or understand… detail oriented, organized and emphatic” (based on small letters with narrow spacing, an illegible signature, and dots directly over my i’s), I remain skeptical of the field of graphology—at least as presented by (as you’ll see, I much prefer, great deals!!).

As an aspiring infographicist with a concentration in neuroscience, I’ve decided that it is my duty to deliver my own graphology infographic, focused on the neurological indications of hand-writing, complete with academic sources.  (There may be too much info and too little graphics here, but you’re going to have to deal with it.  I’ll get better, stay tuned for my next infographic on déjà vu!).


Major references, which I highly recommend:

  • Larner, A. J., ed.  A Dictionary of Neurological Signs.  3rd ed.  London:  Springer, 2010.
  • Moore, David P., ed.  Textbook of Clinical Neuropsychiatry.  2nd ed.  Boca Raton, FL:  Taylor & Francis Group, 2008.
  • Flaherty, Alice W.  The Midnight Disease: The Drive to Write, Writer’s Block, and the Creative Brain.  New York, NY:  Mariner Books, 2005.

References cited:

  1. McLennan, J. E., Nakano, K., Tyler, H. R. & Schwab, R. S. Micrographia in Parkinson’s disease. Journal of the Neurological Sciences 15, 141–152 (1972).
  2. Quinn, N. & Kuoppamäki, M. Fast micrographia and pallidal pathology. Movement disorders 18, 1058–1076 (2003).
  3. Phillips, J. G., Bradshaw, J. L., Chiu, E. & Bradshaw, J. a. Characteristics of handwriting of patients with Huntington’s disease. Movement disorders: official journal of the Movement Disorder Society 9, 521–30 (1994).
  4. Beversdorf, D. Q. et al. Brief report: macrographia in high-functioning adults with autism spectrum disorder. Journal of autism and developmental disorders 31, 97–101 (2001).
  5. Johnson, B. P. et al. Understanding macrographia in children with autism spectrum disorders. Research in developmental disabilities 34, 2917–26 (2013).
  6. Cavanna, A. E., Ali, F. & Rickards, H. Paligraphia and written jocularity in Gilles de la Tourette syndrome. Movement disorders: official journal of the Movement Disorder Society 26, 930–1 (2011).
  7. Pick, A. On the pathology of echographia. Brain (1924).
  8. P. van Vugt, Paquier, P., Kees, L. & Cras, P. Increased writing activity in neurological conditions: a review and clinical study. Journal of neurology, neurosurgery, and psychiatry 61, 510–514 (1996).
  9. Berthier, M. L. Transcortical Aphasias. (Psychology Press, 2001).
  10. Berthier, M. L., Pulvermüller, F., Green, C. & Higueras, C. Are release phenomena explained by disinhibited mirror neuron circuits? Arnold Pick’s remarks on echographia and their relevance for modern cognitive neuroscience. Aphasiology 20, 462–480 (2006).
  11. Hermann, B. P., Whitman, S., Wyler, a R., Richey, E. T. & Dell, J. The neurological, psychosocial and demographic correlates of hypergraphia in patients with epilepsy. Journal of neurology, neurosurgery, and psychiatry 51, 203–8 (1988).
  12. Okamura, T. et al. A clinical study of hypergraphia in epilepsy. Journal of neurology, neurosurgery, and psychiatry 56, 556–9 (1993).
  13. Waxman, S. G. & Geschwind, N. Hypergraphia in temporal lobe epilepsy. 1974. Epilepsy & behavior: E&B 6, 282–91 (2005).
  14. Geschwind, N. Personality changes in temporal lobe epilepsy. Epilepsy & behavior: E&B 15, 425–33 (2009).
  15. Imamura, T., Yamadori, a & Tsuburaya, K. Hypergraphia associated with a brain tumour of the right cerebral hemisphere. Journal of neurology, neurosurgery, and psychiatry 55, 25–7 (1992).
  16. Yamadori, A., Mori, E., Tabuchi, M., Kudo, Y. & Mitani, Y. Hypergraphia: a right hemisphere syndrome. Journal of neurology, neurosurgery, and psychiatry 49, 1160–4 (1986).

For more information on the version of graphology:

A French love affair… with graphology” by Hugh Schofield

How graphology fools people” by Barry L. Beyerstein

The Great James Randi and a Graphologist