There are mistakes that are made when referring to Graphology as a legitimate and wholly formed science that encompasses all fields of study and investigation of human conduct and nature. The science of Graph (writing) and logos (speech) is legitimately used in medicine, forensics, and other scientific and legal fields, but with much challenge and with much scrutiny. The interpretations that are based on the science are misused in astounding fashion in pseudo scientific arenas and by unqualified individuals to cause great damage in employment evaluations for hiring, and even in some scams where hucksters claim that they can interpret a person's whole set of life issues based on their writing style, eccentricities habits.
Because the act of writing is controlled by the human nervous system, certain characteristics of writing might be relatable to neurological conditions. Because the act of writing involves the use of the muscular and skeletal systems, certain characteristics might indicate the presence of arthritis or insults to the bones of the hands. A person's style of writing might indicate where and when they learned how to write, what field they worked in, and other cultural and social facts about the person.
There are more than enough well designed studies that relate writing issues to cultural, forensic, and medical issues in an empirical fashion, making certain aspects of the field of graphology not only useful, but necessary as part of the process of identifying and diagnosing disease, where other tests and examinations make up the whole process.
Graphology is used to detect forgery, to rule out that a much younger or older person could have written in a style that was taught decades ago. Or, a comprehensive understanding of humans and the process of writing can help to confirm that the actual writing exemplar, or sample, contains enough information about a person's writing habits to make a comparison with a document and to determine who may have written it. Again, in forensics, or "questioned document testing", other evidence is used to put together a final conclusion in important cases. In some cases, a judge may be able to glance at a pair of signatures and find such glaring errors that he or she can make a finding very quickly.
The dark side of graphology is evidenced when untrained and unqualified individuals buy into "systems" or "programs" that claim to allow generalizations to be made that are based on a person's writing. In hiring, graphology should be legally prohibitied as a violation of privacy, a potential for misuse that attributes defamatory, libelous or patently false characteristics to an individual, and as the practice of a profession by individuals who are not well trained, tested or properly certified to make such determinations based on a handwriting sample, and by generalizing results of small populatons to the general population.
In broad personnel testing, it might be legitimate that the individual's compatability with the average employee at various levels of the corporation is being tested. But overall, there are many ethical and legal challenges to using graphology testing results as the sole determinant in a hiring decision. Yet firms are making bundles by selling the process and the services to corporations.
The legal right of potential employers to use graphology based personality assessments was tested by referring to several legal cases, but those cases only dealt with the fifth amendment right in criminal cases. The exact and overwhelming evidence to support forecasting future job performance, based on graphology testing simply does not exist. At best, the results are weak material that must be supported by background checks, checking references, and by other testing. As the American Disabilities Act prohibits testing of disabled people, one case surmised that no one should be forced to undergo any testing.
Graphologist testing and analysis is also used in jury selection, marital compatibility counseling, psychological therapy, where the functions of writing can be changed with an expectation of changing the dysfunctions of the mind, in areas of self esteem, personality, and even addiction.
Finally, graphology is used to sell various levels of occult, spiritual, and fortune telling operations. These are completely up the the individual and let the buyer beware.
There are few, if any accredited university graphology programs or degrees in the world. There is currently no widely recognized certification for graphologists, except as provided by and limited to the time of active membership in certain organizations, such as the International Graphoanalysis Society.
Establishing legitimate educational programs and certifications, lawsuits, legal challenges, and the schools must be on the leading edge of protection for the individual against the misuse of what is a legitimate science in some fields, but which ranges from an ineffective but potentially destructive scheme, to outright fraud, when used in other fields. As a result, graphology is legitimate science, illegimately applied science, and scam on a continuous scale.