Is it really possible to read character in the slope of a person's handwriting and the way they cross their Ts? Michael Booth puts graphology to the test
Don't think of it as handwriting, think of it as brainwriting. Once we have learned the mechanics of writing (or reached "graphic maturity") the subconscious takes over. Then, with the help of a graphologist, your handwriting becomes nothing less than a window to your personality. Major corporations use graphologists to screen employees (often without them knowing); they help the police with criminal profiling; and in some countries, notably Switzerland, a graphological profile is admissible in court. By way of demonstration we asked Lawrence Warner, principal of the International Graphology Association and Elaine Quigley, vice president of the British Institute of Graphology, to interpret my handwriting and, though they stress this is an holistic technique, they have pinpointed telling characteristics.

Elaine Quigley "Your Ys have very impatient lower zone parts [below the line] ending abruptly in completely straight lines. You are a person who is dynamic, lives life in the fast lane and likes to be constantly challenged. You like to get on with things."

EQ "The garland shape where your Ms and Ns and Hs look like Ws and Us makes them like cups receiving information."

EQ "You've got very wide open `ovals' - the As and the Os for instance - which correspond to communication, so you are a person who likes to speak forcefully and spontaneously, you like to shake people up a bit and say something controversial just for the sake of it - not unkindly, but more to stop getting bored. You like to interact with many people at once, at speed, your mind is butterfly enough to draw out of the atmosphere sufficient to interest you before whisking off to another subject before you get bored. You do busk things and you can be ratty if people distract you from something."

EQ "There's a lot of egocentricity in the I, it says `I'll do it my way, thanks.'"

LW "You keep your ears open but you might not always listen, part of the reason is you are always looking to the future which is shown in your left margin which gets wider. You are unlikely to want to reminisce." EQ "Your left margin gets wider and wider which shows impatience, you're constantly seeking fresh adrenaline, you're always thinking there must be more than this."

EQ "The urgency of your writing and its positioning to the right of the page shows that you don't want to dwell in the past. The slope to the right shows a keenness to communicate, if it slanted to the left it would show you were self-contained." LW "The wide spacing of your writing shows that you don't like people to invade your territory without your permission."

LW "The fluency is very high and those short cuts indicate this jumping to conclusions, thinking on your feet. I would describe your writing as simplified almost to the point of neglect, which means that in a rush, things get missed. Your lead into the letter N often doesn't have an initial stroke. That originality of letters shows you don't like routine."

LW "Your signature is larger than your salutation which reveals a person who wants to be noticed, somebody whose ego needs stroking. If you underline your signature it indicates self-reliance."

EQ "The way the first stroke goes up and then down to the lower zone in the capital M in your signature is saying `I've established my position in this relationship, I don't like to be pushed around.'"

Michael Booth's conclusion If the judgement of friends and family is anything to go by, overall Elaine and Lawrence's interpretations are spot-on. Aside from the idea that I don't like to dwell in the past (bearing grudges is a hobby of mine), I'd have to - often reluctantly - agree with their observations

International Graphology Association, 01761 437809

British Institute of Graphology, 01753 891241

LW "Your Ms have a sharp point which, coupled with the speed you write at, indicates a quick brain. You're going to catch on to ideas and think on your feet quickly, but you can jump to conclusions. You shoot from the hip. You're an excellent negotiator, it's difficult to pin you down, you can easily move a conversation around." EQ "Your angular Ms, Ns and Hs show you are more theoretical and intellectual than you are emotional. You are not a person who wants to nursemaid others."

EQ "F is an interesting letter because it is the only one that covers all the zones - upper, middle and lower - so it covers you in your entirety. Yours rises up high which shows you are ambitious."

LW "Your Ds are often spread apart, which means you are stubborn." EQ "Your Ds are quite low which means you are pragmatic."

LW "Your pressure is light, showing a need for immediate results and intellectual stimulation. Light writers tend to have more ephemeral feelings, they forgive more easily. Heavy writers can take more punishment, but bear grudges." EQ "The lightness of pressure is unusual, I'd expect heavy pressure, but this shows the addition of empathy - you have a great deal of awareness in a social setting, your antenna are always picking up vibes."

EQ "The word `birthday' has very varied middle sections which shows you're not looking for harmony, you're looking for a challenge."

LW "The way your Ps go down low and then, instead of retracing, go forward reveals aggressiveness."

Lawrence Warner "You can hit back with sarcastic comments which shows in the fine-pointed way you cross your Ts." EQ "Your Ts show that you know how to enjoy yourself."