Silly scribbles: CBC News asks graphologist to comment on new officials

Graphology? SERIOUSLY? Earlier this week, we linked to a story about the popularity of this nonsensical analysis in France. It showed up in Canada now.

What the new Bank of Canada governor’s signature may say about him – Business – CBC News.

Now that we know that Poloz will be the next governor, we thought it would be fun to ask a handwriting expert to analyze the signatures of the last few governors, as well as the next man to sign Canadian banknotes.

Elaine Charal analyzes handwriting for clues about someone’s personality; companies consult her in their executive hiring decisions. Graphology is not science —for a critique, see the link in the left column by former Simon Fraser University pyschologist Barry Beyerstein.

She then comments on the signatures of Stephen Poloz, Mark Carney, David A. Dodge, Gordon Thiessen and John Crow.

Included in a small link that you have to search to find is the Quackwatch essay by Beyerstein. Nice that they included something in such a ridiculous piece but no one will bother to read why this is complete rubbish. But, here’s a clip:

In this essay I have argued that graphology, despite its scientific pretensions, remains mired in its occult past. I have shown why the graphologists’ favorite justifications are inadequate and alluded to many well-controlled studies which have found that handwriting analysts, denied non-graphological clues about their clients, do no better than chance in describing them. The clients, on the other hand, cannot exceed chance either when asked to select their own from a stack of anonymous graphological profiles. Despite graphology’s poor showing in these well-controlled tests, both practitioners and an a goodly portion of the public at large steadfastly continue to believe it works. The latter sections of this chapter were devoted to the interesting cognitive biases that have kept graphology alive by giving customers the strong illusion that it is revealing and accurate when it is not. If graphology cannot legitimately claim to be a scientific means of measuring human talents and leanings, what is it really? In short, it is a pseudoscience.

I’d recommend taking the time to read this extensive piece in its entirety. Then you will be armed from now on whenever this silliness arises again. And it will.

  4 comments for “Silly scribbles: CBC News asks graphologist to comment on new officials

  1. J
    May 4, 2013 at 4:09 PM

    Although it might be disappointing to see on the website, it’s had the paradoxical effect of generating good (negative) commentary. It’s like they’re baiting reason out of people, so it’s not altogether bad.

  2. May 4, 2013 at 6:00 PM

    I saw this, J. But I think people who are outraged tend to say so. How many people just read it and assumed there was something to it.

  3. J
    May 4, 2013 at 6:46 PM

    Possibly a troubling amount if the psychological ‘sleeper effect’ theory has any weight to it.
    But then that might work in favor of the commentary, too.

  4. May 4, 2013 at 7:04 PM

    Now, I know that graphology has no science to back it up, but considering that a number of companies in other countries, and some in the USA use it to evaluate perspective employees, I can see the reasoning for reciprocity, especially from elected officials and corporate bigwigs. Who know, if they are subjected to the same sort of sorry thinking that the rest of us are, maybe they could put an end to it anywhere they have influence?

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