The predictive validity of graphological inferences: A meta-analytic approach

Efrat Neter, Gershon Ben-Shakhar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The use of graphology as a device for personnel selection is prevalent and increasing. This study attempts to examine the validity of graphology in this particular applied field by means of meta-analysis-a method of integrating research findings across studies. Seventeen studies dealing with the validity of graphology as a personnel selection device were tracked down. A total of 63 graphologists and 51 nongraphologists who evaluated 1223 scripts were included in the data set. The group of non-graphologists served as a control group to establish a base line for the predictive validity that could be obtained on the basis of the script's content without the benefit of any graphological knowledge. Representative correlations between handwritten-based inferences and criteria were calculated for each judge in each study, and correction for sampling error was performed. It was found that correlations between inferences based on content-laden scripts and a general criterion range from 0.136 to 0.206 for all judges (graphologists, psychologists, laymen) and 0.153 - 0.177 for graphologists. In the few cases where neutral scripts were used the validities of the graphologists were near zero. In addition it was found that psychologists (with no knowledge in graphology) outperformed graphologists on all dimensions. The results were discussed, suggesting that the source of the limited validity of handwriting analysis may be the script's content.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)737-745
Number of pages9
JournalPersonality and Individual Differences
Issue number7
StatePublished - 1989
Externally publishedYes


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