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Sample essay topic, essay writing: Graphology - 2267 words
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.. ores must correlate with performance on the job, and this must be established in a statistically proper way.Graphological assessments are usually free-form personality descriptions rather than scored tests, but this does not exempt them from Title VII's coverage. The APA standards require that when an interviewer uses any kind of test to aid his assessment, the resulting assessment should be validated like other psychometric measures.If graphology is a pseudoscience, as seems highly probable, then graphological evaluations are nothing more than character readings combined with a large chance element. The biases of the graphologist will consciously or unconsciously skew the results. If the result is an assessment that results in discrimination on one of the grounds recognized by Title VII, then users of graphological tests bear a heavy burden of showing job-related validity for them.
Spohn critically examines the legal issues raised by the use of graphology in personnel practice (Spohn 1997). She also discusses other legal concerns arising the use of graphological tests, such as violation of the Americans With Disability Act (42 U.S.C. SSSS 12101-12213), defamation, and invasion of privacy. Since the current state of scientific knowledge does not support the validity of graphological judgments, employers using such assessments are in a very risky legal position.Graphology in courtMost graphologists boast of providing evidence as expert witnesses in court. I was unable to locate a single reported case in which graphological testimony for the purpose of personality assessment has been admitted in evidence
A few courts have considered whether or not a handwriting analyst can give testimony about a person's physical or mental condition, and all of them have held such testimony inadmissible. See, Warren v. Hartnett, 561 S.W.2d 860, 863 (Tex. Civ. App., Dallas, 1977 - ref. n.r.e.) (court rejects handwriting analyst's opinion on decedent's mental condition: '..we are aware of no recognized field of scientific inquiry which permits divination of mental capacity by persons whose expertise is limited to handwriting analysis'); Sosa v.
State, 841 S.W.2d 912, 916-17 (Tex. App.-Houston [1st Dist.] 1992, no pet.) (proponent of graphoanalyst' character assessment failed to prove that the underlying scientific theory was valid; that the technique applying the theory was valid; or that the technique was properly applied on the occasion in question); Cameron v. Knapp, 520 N.Y.S.2d 917 (Sup. Ct. N.Y.
County 1987) (court holds testimony of handwriting analyst not admissible in medical malpractice action to to show doctor's mental and physical condition; proponent could not show such procedures were generally accepted as reliable in the scientific community); Daniels v. Cummins, 321 N.Y.S.2d 1009 (Sup. Ct. Westchester County 1971) (handwriting expert held competent to testify that signature on deed was genuine, but not competent to testify as graphologist that signature indicated grantor was not of sound mind. 'In pronouncing such grautitous conclusions she [the analyst] leaped into the occult, esoteric, pseudo-scientific pursuit known as graphology, venturing far beyond the province of a handwriting expert'); State v.
Davis, 742 P.2d 1356 (Ariz. App. 1987) (graphologist not allowed to testify in support of defendant's insanity defense; state presented evidence that '..graphology is not a science because its results are neither verifiable nor repeatable'); State v. Anderson, 379 N.W.2d 70 (Minn. 1985) (court finds graphology is accorded a low measure of scientific reliability in predicting character or state of mind and is not generally accepted in the scientific fields of psychology and psychiatry); People v. Hester, 237 N.E.2d 466 (Ill.
1968) (Trial court properly excluded testimony of handwriting analyst that victim's handwriting showed her fear at time she writing).If graphological evidence is offered, it must meet the test for scientific evidence required in most jurisdictions. That is, there must be a general consensus in the appropriate scientific field that the theory behind the technique is sound, and that it has been reliably reduced to practice. This is the Frye rule, from Frye v. United States, 293 F. 1013 (D.C.
Cir. 1923). All the cases just cited, except for Warren v. Hartnett, and Sosa v. State, relied on Frye. The Warren court simply found the handwriting analyst's testimony useless, since she had no training or experience in evaluating mental disorders, and had made no personal observations of the decedent which would qualify her to testify as a lay witness. The Sosa court relied on Kelly v.
State, 824 S.W.2d 568, 572 (Tex. Crim. App. 1992). In Kelly, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals held the Frye general-acceptance test was not, alone, sufficient for the admissibility of novel scientific evidence. Instead, the Sosa court held, the 1986 amendments to Rule 702 of the Texas Rules of Criminal Evidence require a court to find such evidence to also be valid and reliable.The U.S.
Supreme Court recently changed the rules for admisibility of scientific evidence in federal courts in Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc., 509 U.S 579 (1993). The Daubert test was adopted by the Texas Supreme Court in E.I. duPont de Nemours & Co. v.
Robinson, 923 S.W.2d 549 (Tex. 1995). It appears graphological testimony would not be admissible under the Frye standard, and it is even less likely to be admissible if challenged under the Daubert/Robinson analysis. It could be argued that Kelly v. State, above, anticipated the Daubert/Robinson decisions.The Supreme Court in Daubert rejected an 'anything goes' approach to expert scientific testimony. Rule 104 of the Federal Rules of Evidence requires the trial judge to determine at the outset whether the expert is proposing to testify to (1) scientific knowledge that (2) will assist the trier of fact to '..understand or determine a fact in issue,' as required by Rule 702 of the Federal Rules of Evidence.
The Court wrote: 'This entails a preliminary assessment of whether the reasoning or methodology underlying the testimony is scientifically valid and of whether that reasoning or methodology properly can be applied to the facts in issue.' Justice Blackmun set out some 'general observations' to assist trial judges in determining what is reliable scientific knowledge:* . Is the theory behind the proposed testimony testable? In some cases, judges will have to find out if they are dealing with a potentially falsifiable theory or not. (Questions of theoretical falsifiability don't seem to be helpful in the courtroom context. Perhaps the Court has in mind theories that are practically unfalsifiable, because their proponents have a long record of dodging or explaining away contradictory evidence. Knowing that a theory can be and has been tested makes it more reliable.)* . Has the theory been subjected to peer review and publication? Submission to the scrutiny of the scientific community is a component of good science, in part because it makes it more likely that errors will be detected.* .
In the case of particular techniques, do we know the actual or potential rate of error? That is, even if the theory is sound in principle, can it be applied reliably in practice?* . Finally, has the theory or technique become generally accepted? General acceptance will not be the only criterion for reliability, but it can be an important factor. The Texas court in Robinson added two more factors: the extent to which an expert's subjective interpretation is involved, and the non-judicial uses to which a theory or technique has been put. These cases require the trial judge faced with an offer of scientific evidence to consider the validity, reliability and relevance of the evidence. Simply relying on an expert's credentials is not enough.Valid knowledge consists of facts, as well as ideas inferred from facts 'on good grounds.' 509 U.S. at 590.
If an expert's conclusion is not supported by valid reasoning, it fails the knowledge test and must be excluded. Graphological rationales cannot pass the valid knowledge test when they rely on magical thinking or illogical associations. Also, graphological judgments are subjective interpretations, and there is no evidence these interpretations measure what they purport to measure.Reliability means that valid reasoning results in conclusions sufficiently reliable to be helpful for legal purposes. If graphological predictions were validly shown to be right twenty per cent of the time, they would still not be reliable. This low level of certainty would be not be helpful to a jury.Even if valid and reliable, an expert's testimony might still be irrelevant. If a graphologist could validly and reliably testify that a job applicant possessed certain personality traits, for example, the evidence would not be relevant if those traits were not logically relevant to job performance.So far, there have been no reported cases of graphological testimony decided under the Daubert/Robinson line of cases. We can be confident such cases will hold the use of graphology for personality assessment does not produce valid, reliable, and relevant evidence.Where do the graphologists' claims of courtroom expertise come from? Many graphologists today attempt to qualify themselves as questioned-document examiners.
Forensic handwriting examination for the purpose of detecting altered or forged writings has long been recognized by the courts as admissible. It appears that graphologists are attempting to bootstrap themselves into respectability by combining forensic handwriting analysis with their questionable personality-assessment techniques. In some cases, testimony of handwriting experts who were also graphologists has been admitted, where the evidence went only to quesitions of document authenticity. See, Daniels v. Cummins, supra; Hooten v.
State, 492 So.2d 948 (Miss. 1986) (strong dissent by three judges taking view witness' education as a graphoanalyst did not even qualify her to express opinions on comparison of handwriting samples); 1st Coppell Bank v. Smith, 742 S.W.2d 454 (Tex. App., Dallas, 1987 - no hist.) (witness claimed to be trained as a graphoanalyst and also as a questioned documents examiner). Other courts have held the qualifications of graphologists to be questioned document examiners insufficient.
See, State v. Livanos, 725 P.2d 505 (Ariz. App. 1986) (court distinguishes between graphology as the study of handwriting to determine personality traits and forensic document analysis); People v. Tidwell, 706 P.2d 438 (Colo. App.
1985); Carroll v. State, 634 S.W.2d 99 (Ark. 1982) (witness had only taken graphoanalysis training course).Educational certification for graphologySome other legal aspects of graphology are worth mentioning. TIGS appears to have been the only graphology school licensed under the Texas Proprietary School Act (Tex. Education Code, Ch.
132). A call to the Texas Workforce Commission, which administers the Act, reveals TIGS is no longer licensed, although it is still in business. The Act requires applicants for a proprietary school certificate to show that the courses, curriculum and instruction are of such a quality, content and length as to reasonably achieve the stated objectives for which they are offered. Tex. Education Code, SS 132.055(a).
Apparently the Act's administrator is not required to go behind the course outline and judge the validity of what is being taught. He is only required to find that the school will adequately meet its teaching objectives. Officials in Austin confirmed this interpretation with me in a telephone conversation. I posed the question of how an application for a course in astrology would be handled. I was told (after some hesitation) that the statute would probably not prevent the approval of such an application.
It seems to me that a proper interpretation of the statute would hold 'objectives' to mean the objectives of assessing personality and predicting behavior, not merely the objectives of teaching graphological techniques. Anyway, the use of state licensing laws by pseudoscience practitioners to achieve credibility and legal protection is a potentially serious problem. Consider the success of the chiropractors, who years ago embraced medical licensing laws instead of fighting them.Finally, there is no state certification or licensing of graphologists in Texas. Statements to that effect in graphologists' promotional literature can only refer to 'certification' by a graphological school or association.REFERENCESAmerican Psychological Association, Inc.Standards for educational and psychological tests, Washington, D.C. 1985.American Society of Professional Graphologists:http://www.aspghandwriting.org/Beyer stein, Barry L., 'The Origins of Graphology in Sympathetic Magic', in The Write Stuff: Evaluations of Graphology, the Study of Handwriting Analysis 163.Beyerstein, Barry L. and Beyerstein, Dale F., Ed.
(1992). in The Write Stuff: Evaluations of Graphology, the Study of Handwriting Analysis. Prometheus Books.Bowman, Marilyn L., 'Difficulties in Assessing Personality and Predicting Behavior: Psychological Tests and Handwriting Analyses Contrasted', in The Write Stuff: Evaluations of Graphology, the Study of Handwriting Analysis 203.Bunker, M. N. (1970).The Science and Art of Reading Character by Grapho Analysis.
Nelson-Hall Co.Hopper, Mark, in 'Handwriting Resource Corporation': http://www.handwriting.com/.Hines, Terence (1988).Pseudoscience and the Paranormal. Prometheus Books.Hyman, Ray (1976). ''Cold Reading': How to Convince Strangers that You Know All About Them.'Zetetic, 1 (No. 2), 18-37.Jansen, Abraham (1973). 'Validation of Graphological Judgments: An Experimental Study', Mouton Publishing.Klimoski, Richard, 'Graphology and Personnel Selection', in The Write Stuff: Evaluations of Graphology, the Study of Handwriting Analysis 232.Kurtz, Sheila and Lester, Marilyn (1983).Graphotypes. Crown Publishers.Lowe, Sheila in 'Welcome to Sheila Lowe's Handwriting Analyzer': http://www.writinganalysis.com/.
(Lowe is also author of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Handwriting Analysis published by Alpha Books).Neter, Efrat and Ben-Shakhar, Gershon (1989). 'The Predictive Validity of Graphological Inferences: A Meta-Analytic Approach.' Personality and Individual Differences, 10(7), 737-745.Nevo, Baruch, Ed. (1986).Scientific Aspects of Graphology. Charles S. Thomas, Publisher.Rafaeli, Anat and Klimoski, Richard J.
(1983). 'Predicting Sales Success Through Handwriting Analysis: An Evaluation of the Effects of Training and Handwriting Sample Content.' Journal of Applied Psychology 68, 212-217.Rosen, Billie Pesin (1965).The Science of Handwriting Analysis. Crown Publishers, 1965.Solomon, Shirl (1978).Knowing Your Child Through His Handwriting and Drawings. Crown Publishers. Spohn, Julie A., The Legal Implications of Graphology, 75 WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY LAW QUARTERLY, No. 3 (Fall 1997); alsohttp://www.wulaw.wustl.edu/WULQ/75-3/753-6.htm l.This fact sheet was written by John A.
Thomas. Portions previously appeared in The Skeptic. Copyright 2002 by the North Texas Skeptics.
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