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Learning about graphology

Ni Nyoman Wira
Ni Nyoman Wira

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta  /  Sun, December 31, 2017  /  10:03 am
Learning about graphology

Writing with a pen is one of the requirements in graphology as every stroke is important. (Shutterstock/File)

Did you know that your handwriting can reveal personal things about you?

Graphology is the analysis of handwriting that identifies traits about the writer. One graphologist believes that handwriting, also known as graphic gesture, does not necessarily come from the hands but is a result of brain activity (brain-writing), hence many people can write using their foot or mouth and each person has a different style of writing.

Following is some insight shared by Deborah “Debo” Dewi, an Indonesian graphologist who is affiliated with the American Handwriting Analysis Foundation (AHAF).

Not all writings are qualified to be read

In graphology, there are requirements in the writing process to give a more accurate result.

Besides being healthy, participants must also write on a flat surface and use a pen because every stroke is important for a graphologist. It is hard to see when they write using a pencil or marker, for instance.

Furthermore, participants must be calm while writing and should be given a time limit when doing so.

Emotions are important

Sometimes people are influenced by their emotions, such as anger or happiness, when they write.

Debo explained there were two types of marks: temporary and permanent. “If you’re sad, angry or in a hurry, there will be temporary changes [in your writing],” Debo said. “While the permanent marks are caused by stroke, accident or drastic change in someone’s life. Both temporary and permanent marks depend on a person’s social trauma.”

What graphology can analyze

“A graphologist can explore the connection between handwriting and the writer’s character,” Debo stated. For instance, you can compare a person’s handwriting with the way they make a decision -- whether that person is too fast or direct or even thoughtful in coming to a decision.

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Graphologist Deborah Dewi gives a talk on graphology on Dec. 18 at Lewis & Carroll, South Jakarta.Graphologist Deborah Dewi gives a talk on graphology on Dec. 18 at Lewis & Carroll, South Jakarta. (JP/Wienda Parwitasari)

Many benefits

Graphology is widely used in recruitment, especially in analyzing participants’ soft skills to learn their strengths and whether they are suitable for a certain position.

Debo believes that generation terms, such as the commonly used millennial or generation X, tends to generalize people into one group. No person’s writing is the same as another's and the handwriting itself has a close connection to the character.

“But later you may be grouped in one type even though you are actually different. So what to think about that?” she said, adding that when it came to generalizing a person’s soft skills, there is a possibility that they will not be able to work long for a company despite the person’s proficiency in hard skills.

“Mapping a person’s soft skills in a detailed and customized [way] can be accommodated by graphology,” Debo said. “It’s because, aside from the fact that each person has different handwriting, it is also impossible to manipulate your handwriting.”


A signature is part of graphology. While handwriting shows a person's actual profile, their signature shows how they want to be seen by others.

“Both handwriting and signature contain information that complete each other,” Debo stated.

Terrorism and graphology

Debo has a mapping term she uses in the recruitment process: white and black. White is when graphology is used during a company’s recruitment process, meaning that it has positive impact on a company or an industry.  

“Black recruitment is my term for a process done by certain party to find the right human resources and it has a negative impact on the person and the country,” Debo explained.

One of the examples of this is recruitment for a radical movement that will lead to terrorism. For such a matter, Debo works with R. Rakyan Adibrata, a researcher of radicalism and terrorism.

“I find that graphology can be used in the deradicalization process and in counteracting 'black' recruitment itself,” Debo stated. (kes)