Israeli scientists claim they have mastered a new and more profound way of reading people’s emotions – when appearances or words lie, handwriting can still reveal the truth.
The University of Haifa has presented a computerized system that can identify people’s moods by detecting changes in their handwriting. The system uses the findings of Prof. Sarah Rosenblum, who has already made it possible to diagnose early stages of Parkinson’s disease this way.
The system measures the slightest changes, such as the space between the letters, their height, and the amount of pressure. Such secondary automatic actions are hard to control for a human brain under cognitive pressure, which being in a bad mood and under stress can provoke.
To test the method researchers split 62 participants into three groups, setting a different mood – positive, negative and neutral – with a special movie. After that, they were asked to write a paragraph on a system that included all Hebrew letters, which turned out to be different depending on the emotions in each group. For instance, people in a negative mood wrote quicker, with narrower and lower letters than more cheerful participants.
The researchers claim this method is easier to conduct than physiological tests, which can be complex and expensive as well as disrupt a person’s daily routine. Handwriting analysis can be more accurate than conventional techniques for evaluating people’s emotions, such as analysis of an external observer or self-reporting, as patients can lie or be unaware of their feelings.
As researcher Clara Rispler told the Jerusalem Post: “There’s a problem measuring emotions using objective indexes that are completely free of what the subject tells us. An ability to identify the subject’s emotions easily and non-invasively could lead to breakthroughs in research and in emotional therapy.”