Methodological Aspects of Handwriting Identification
Keywords:Handwriting methodology, motor program, motor memory, micro-features, variability
Signature authentication and identification of writing or printing is one of the most common issues presented to forensic document examiners. Handwriting is a complex motor skill expressed individually as a result of learned symbols that are stored in long term memory. This paper discusses the stages of memory retrieval that begins the writing process through the muscle joint systems that execute the movements that result in the graphic expression. The authors discuss in detail the identification process and comparison of handwriting characteristics used in the Forensic Science Laboratory, the Netherlands. The process includes discussion of general characteristics, microcharacteristics, spacing characteristics, and variation, as well as touch-ups and disguise. References are made to literature and research projects that support the principles and methodology. The paper concludes with a discussion about the levels of opinions expressed by forensic document examiners.
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