Exploring Graphokinesics Critically and Creatively

Date of Completion


Document Type

Open Access Capstone

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

First Advisor

John R. Murray


For centuries, the significance of one's handwriting, as a skill and as a projection of one's personality has evoked curiosity, enthusiasm, skepticism, anger, wonder, support and criticism. These reactions have, in turn, led to a long and complicated history of events. Over the years, many informal observations have been recorded, and many favorable and unfavorable mindsets have evolved. Research projects, trying to prove or disprove these mindsets, have been ongoing. Being a teacher for twenty years and a graphoanalyst for eight years has provided me with the opportunity to observe and experience first hand the numerous facets of handwriting both as an art form and a science. This thesis is a culmination of those observations and experiences combined with the knowledge acquired as a student in the Critical and Creative Thinking Program. Because of the myths, biases and strong controversies which surround the field of handwriting, it seems important to address some of these issues. This thesis explores handwriting as an art form, and as a diagnostic tool, which when combined become a form of nonverbal communication, or "graphokinesics." The main objective is to provide information about the field of handwriting which will help the reader become knowledgeable in an appreciative of the complexities of handwriting. The evolution of people's ability to communicate graphically is an amazing one, and one which has also had many controversies and many transitions. The thesis traces the history of handwriting, as an art form and as a "soft" science, from its origin to its present day status. It reviews some of the literature, both pro and con, connected with each aspect of handwriting. It also discusses some of the uses of handwriting analysis and the training needed to practice adequately. Also included in this thesis is an empirical study. It was created in order to explore possible connections between drawing and handwriting. Even though the results of the study were inconclusive, many valuable ideas emerged for redesigning a future study. Since drawings are so prevalently used by many counseling agencies, and handwriting can be viewed as a finely tuned form of drawing, finding a connection between these two areas no doubt will result in bringing new respect to the field of handwriting analysis. The thesis ends with a plan for a research project to help accomplish this goal.


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