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Society Conference Reports for 2007

Winter Conference

Saturday, February 3, 2007

Dor Gauthier
The STROKE and the Fourth Dimension in Handwriting

Canadian handwriting analyst Dor Gauthier is an international lecturer, graphology writer and forensic document examiner, with thirty years of experience. A master of several languages, he is the Canadian correspondent to the French, Italian, and Spanish graphological societies. Dor discussed the various qualities of the stroke, and how it is considered as a fourth component in handwriting analysis, along with space, form and movement.

Unlike other handwriting elements, which are taught, the stroke is a picture of instinctual energy. If one views the paper as the environment, the manner in which the stroke propels the line of ink upon it represents the individual's response to it. The stroke does not require that the analyst know the language, culture, or writing method learned by the writer; it has a universal language of its own. It is, in a sense, the foundation for the "handwriting house" built upon it. For this reason, if the stroke is very different from the gestalt of the writing, it may point out a problem area. He suggested that each writing has its own music, and that with practice, we can discover the source of its inner life through the stroke.

Dor offered several ways to become more familiar with deciphering stroke quality. One of these is through the study of calligraphy, which teaches how to achieve different strokes by varying such elements as pressure, pen position, or the choice of writing instrument. It can also be helpful to trace the actual line of writing in order to get the feel of its movement. He showed several examples of stroke qualities, including thick and thin stroke width; rhythm and elasticity; shaded, pastose, and dry strokes; blurred and sharp borders; and displaced and tremulous pressure. The stroke can reflect overall expansion or contraction. However, while there are some generalities a thick line is associated with sensation and expansion, and a light one with a dryer affect he stressed the importance of viewing the stroke alongside the whole body of writing.

A Special Lecture

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Dafna Yalon
Emotional Aspects of the Star-Wave Test (SWT)

A frequent ASPG speaker, Dafna Yalon is from Israel, where she was former president of the Israeli Graphological Society. She was editor of the Global Graphology journal of the International Graphological Colloquium, is the recent author of The Star-Wave Test Across the Life Span, and editor of Graphology Across Cultures.

The SWT is a graphic personality test that addresses both projective and expressive elements. Originally developed for children, the test provides a wealth of information about individuals of all ages. For children especially, the test often speaks when the child cannot. The subject is asked to draw a starry sky over ocean waves. The projective aspect the symbolic waves and stars correspond to the same zones as in graphological analysis. The stars are the upper zone of ideas, intellect, aspirations, and superego. Do they crowd the sky, appear all on one side, or dip into the ocean? The waves are the middle and lower zones, representing the writer's emotional experiences and instinctual urges. Are the waves huge and overwhelming, or flat, calm, or repressed? The expressive aspect of emotional processing is shown through graphological parameters. Intensity of the emotional sphere can be exhibited in pressure, density, detail, versatility and warmth of stroke. Depth and contents of the experience can be shown by shading or other artistic effects, or through the addition of elements unasked for, such as boats, fish, or people (picture solution).

In understanding the development of emotions, there should be a distinction made between primary emotions (affect), which have an overall undifferentiated impact often manifested in severe temper outbursts (seen in uncontrolled movement and a crude stroke), and the more sophisticated secondary emotions that should be expected to develop since childhood (and seen in form and the differentiated qualities of the stroke.)

Important components to consider are whether the expressive movements are in the proper wave area (congruency) or misplaced into the stars; whether the layout is harmonious (inner locus of control), obsessive (external locus of control), or disturbed (lack of emotional control); and the authenticity of the drawing (vs. persona or false self, seen in designed solutions). Dafna showed one particularly interesting persona sketch that looked more like a carefully drawn quilt pattern than an expression of true self, clearly created for effect. Dafna also showed revealing examples of drawings by autistic children, who don't understand emotion, and by a woman with alexithymia, an inability to display emotion. With signs of distress, the analyst can determine if the signs are in response to a current crisis or a recurring personality trait. For this reason, repeated tests should be performed.

Spring Conference

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Heidi H. Harralson
Assessing Personality and Psychiatric Disorders Using Handwriting Kinematics

Heidi is president of the American Handwriting Analysis foundation (AHAF) and president/owner of Spectrum Consultants, a graphology and document examination practice in Tucson, Arizona. Board certified as a forensic document examiner by the National Association of Document Examiners, she is also a nationally published author on a number of graphological topics.

Heidi's lecture presented the science of handwriting kinematics system that measures handwriting movement and its relationship to traditional graphological analysis. She gave a demonstration of the Movalyzer, a device that turns handwriting movement into numerical measurements, as it records the writing of a signature in real time. The machine dissects handwriting movements into fractions of seconds, section by section, and maps them on a graph. The Movalyzer also measures such qualities as pressure vs. time, speed, frequency of trait occurrence, and the strength of jerky or tremulous movements.

Heidi's research compared the handwriting graphics of the five dimensions of the Neo Five Personality Test, "Neuroticism, Extraversion, Openness to New Experience, Agreeableness, and Conscientiousness" to the findings of kinematic studies, and found that the results of both methodologies have striking similarities.

Fall Conference

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Richard Kokochak
The Elements, Symbols of Thought

Richard is a court qualified questioned document examiner and is certified as a handwriting analyst by IGS and AAHA. He has assisted lawyers in more than 200 trials in both state and federal courts, and has also been interviewed about handwriting on Hardcopy and NBC Dateline.

Richard gave an engaging lecture exploring the symbols of the four basic elements "fire, air, earth, water" along with the Greek deities who represent these forces, and how they can be applied to graphology. He told many entertaining stories of his enduring interest in graffiti, which led him to discover that certain universal themes keep popping up in conjunction with certain symbols: the circle, square, triangle, and cross. Richard began early studies by separating his graffiti collection into message categories of love, war, social commentary, and God. He then observed the graphics within each category and uncovered an interesting consistency: messages of love contained circles and rounded forms, war had triangles, social commentary was in squares and block letters, and God messages were full of crosses. He contends that great artists use all of these forms in their work.

Richard looks for these symbols, and integrates them into a system of analysis that ascribes four deities and the personalities they represent to each element. Because he believes that we like people who are like us, he uses this system of classification when analyzing handwriting for jury selection. The most important factor in this process is to determine how different types of people will interpret the same evidence.

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