Forensic and Psychological handwriting analysis are separate but related disciplines. These are described in the US Secret Service Document Examination course bibliography, which quotes Robert Saudek. The Czech researcher categorizes three areas of handwriting analysis:
- Experimental: a systematic study and measurement of the physical, observable features of handwriting. This includes the material and circumstances that influence its production (paper, pen, ink, writing surface, writing conditions). In other words: How a document is written.
- Forensic: Interprets the findings of the experimental aspects according to special principles in order to determine the writer’s identity. In other words: Who wrote the document.
- Psychological: Interprets the findings of the experimental aspects according to special principles in order to discover the causes and features of handwriting, character being one. This aspect includes mental and physical health, medications and aging. In other words: Why the writing looks the way it does.
Sheila Lowe, MS, CFDE, is trained in both areas of handwriting analysis. She first qualified to testify as a handwriting expert in 1985 and has more than 40 years of experience. A member of the board of directors of the Scientific Association of Forensic Examiners, she serves as Ethics chair, and co-authored the SAFE Standards with Reed Hayes.
Contact Sheila at Sheila@sheilalowe.com
Phone: 805-658-0109 (Pacific time)