While working on the Ransom Letter analysis project, the question came to mind: "Would the writing of a schizophrenic person show tell-tale characteristics, both in content and or graphic expression?" The letters of the Note are so variable that it is hard to believe one person wrote it although the general overall appearance of the note looks as if it has one author. So I posed the question to Mr. Google Search Engine and here is what I discovered:
Many Graphologists say you can determine if a certain handwriting sample is made by a schizophrenic:
"So what can you really tell about a person from their handwriting?
"Everything," says Polly. "I can tell if you're a psychopath. I can tell if you're a schizophrenic. I can tell if you're sober or not sober. I can tell if you have learning disabilities." She goes to the schools and she can tell what kids are in gangs, and if they are on drugs, and even what drugs they are using - all this from handwriting!"
And others say you cannot:
"Graphoanalysis works very well in analyzing personality. But it officially stays out of medicine and abnormal psychology, leaving these fields for doctors and psychology professionals to research. Nothing in Graphoanalysis enables us to diagnose a writer as specifically a stalker, abused, learning disabled, schizophrenic, or mentally retarded. These conditions are not going to be pinpointed by looking at personality traits."
But here is a purported scientific experiment that indicated that you could see certain graphological characteristics:
"Objective: Extrapyramidal motor symptoms (EPMS) in schizophrenia are usually attributed to neuroleptic treatment, although EPMS have been observed in schizophrenic patients before the era of neuroleptics. This study examines the development of EPMS under haloperidol treatment assessed by kinematic handwriting analysis.
Method: Kinematic analysis of handwriting parameters using a digitizing tablet and clinical ratings were obtained from 30 schizophrenic patients on 3 occasions during haloperidol treatment (unmedicated, 3 days and 7 days after first medication) and compared to 30 matched healthy controls.
Results: Neuroleptic-free schizophrenic patients showed significantly impaired handwriting movements compared to healthy subjects and a decline in handwriting parameters during haloperidol treatment.
Conclusions: The results suggest that EPMS may be a sign of both the neuroleptic side-effects and the underlying pathophysiology of schizophrenia."
"Background Extrapyramidal motor signs (EPS) are well-known symptoms of degenerative ataxia. However, little is known about frequency and appearance of EPS in subtypes of ataxia."
Different drugs have greater or lessor effect on the control of these Parkinsin-like tremors, per the link below, another medical test. I gather from reading it that a schizophrenic off their medicine would demonstrate less control of their writing which would therefore show more little hooks, tics, stray marks, tremors, squiggles, etc.
As an aside, some problems associated with schizophrenia:
n Disordered thought
n Inappropriate emotion
n Often bizarre behavior & speech
n “positive (+) symptoms”
n Normal emotion lost
n Decreased social interaction
n Speech often decreased
n “negative (-) symptoms”"
"Psychosis is a severe psychiatric disturbance characterized by
A. Impaired behavior
B. Inability to think coherently
C. Inability to comprehend reality
D. Inability to understand disturbance
E. Symptoms may include delusions and hallucinations
Schizophrenia (disordered thinking, emotional withdrawal, paranoid delusions and auditory hallucinations)
"Beside the typical extrapyramidal motor symptoms such as ***rigidity, tremor***, and dyskinesia, a reduction in handwriting area may occur under neuroleptic therapy."
I assume the opposite would be true if off their medication, ie., expansive/free form/ off the lines? Notice any tremor or rigidity in the RN handprinting?
Well, I'm running out of time for now and all the info on recognizing schizophrenic tendencies in handwriting seems to be in books and tapes that are for sale for a lot of money. I think I'll try the local libraries or visit Barnes & Noble a few times and report back. I really think there is something to this and I am not a big graphology fan.