The Frequency of Occurrence of Handwriting Performance Features Used to Predict Whether Questioned Signatures are Simulated
Forensic Document Examiners (FDEs) examine the physical morphology and performance attributes of a line trace when comparing questioned to specimen handwriting samples for the purpose of determining authorship. Along with spatial features, the elements of execution of the handwriting are thought to provide information as to whether or not a questioned sample is the product of a disguise or simulation process. Line features such as tremor, pen-lifts, blunt beginning and terminating strokes, indicators of relative speed, splicing and touch ups, are subjectively assessed and used in comparisons by FDEs and can contribute to the formation of an opinion as to the validity of a questioned sample of handwriting or signatures. In spite of the routine use of features such as these, there is little information available regarding the relative frequency of occurrence of these features in populations of disguised and simulated samples when compared to a large population of a single individual’s signature. This study describes a survey of the occurrence of these features in 46 disguised signatures, 620 simulated signatures (produced by 31 different amateur forgers) and 177 genuine signatures. It was found that the presence of splices and touch-ups were particularly good predictors of the simulation process and that all line quality parameters were potentially useful contributors in the determination of the authenticity of questioned signatures.
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