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Development of Individual Handwriting Characteristics in ~1800 Students: Statistical Analysis and Likelihood Ratios That Emerge Over an Extended Period of Time

NCJ Number
Date Published
May 2016
23 pages
This test of the hypothesis that each individual's handwriting is unique from all others analyzed and compared the handwriting of approximately 1,800 children over time, all of whom were in the same age groups and had received the same type of handwriting instruction.
The study aimed to determine at what ages individuals' handwriting characteristics begin to develop, at what rate individual handwriting characteristics develop, the most common (less unique) individual handwriting characteristics that develop, and the least common (more unique) handwriting characteristics that develop. This analysis of both hand-printed and cursive handwriting samples of children progressing from grades two to four determined the degree of handwriting individuality as children develop. The analyses indicated that as children moved to higher grades, they gradually formed their own writing styles. This provides strong justification for the principle that handwriting becomes more individualistic with age, even when children are taught the same writing style. This study marks the beginning of the establishment of a true statistical model that may be used to prove scientifically why forensic handwriting comparisons are possible. In addition, it may also be possible in the future to continue data mining by examining new words located within the previously collected paragraph. By continuing to collect these measurements and statistics, data obtained can continue to statistically prove how individual handwriting characteristics develop and how the combinations of individual handwriting characteristics develop into individual handwriting styles. These research findings are important for handwriting examiners and all courts and legal areas that rely on forensic handwriting examinations. 9 figures, 5 tables, and 12 references

Date Published: May 1, 2016