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Forensic graphopatology

In order to understand the neuromuscular dynamics that determine graphic ageing the intervention of not only graphology is essential, but also other disciplines, such as in primis the neurophysiology of the graphic movement. Generally speaking, knowledge of the specific dysgraphic phenomenologies connected with ageing allows us to investigate the significance and the credibility of the handwriting pathologies found, for example, in holograph wills attributed to elderly subjects, as, in principle, between the specific syndrome of graphic deterioration perceivable in the specimen handwritings and that which appear in questioned handwriting a dysgraphic coherence is expected.

The phenomenological observation in the physiological sense becomes particularly important and significant in forensic graphology applied to all those cases in which the handwritings indicate signs of organic suffering: bearing in mind the medical history of the person writing, this interpretation key allows us to define the graphic movement seen within the neurophysiological contest to which it belongs.

One can ask why it may be necessary to resort to these arguments given that the handwritings should already be sufficiently differentiated at graphological level. This is true if the handwritings under examination do not show marked levels of graphic regression owing to simple ageing or to the presence of particular organic pathologies. The handwritings of the elderly or ill people can resemble each other very much because they are equally disturbed by common rhythmic elements: hesitations, tremors, slowing down, fragmentation, with the consequent simplification of the letter shapes and inter-letter connections. From the document examination point of view, the above specified phenomenology must be considered carefully, as the graphic movement necessarily loses the more original and expressive graphic automatisms, in favour of a levelling out and a generalised simplification of the personal graphic level, trivialising the handwriting and facilitating the work of possible imitators.

For these reasons handwritings which are disturbed or altered by senile and/or pathological dysmotility must be carefully studied with regard to the current direction of forensic-graphic research, which is steered towards establishing precise similarities between specific organic syndromes and specific dysgraphic syndromes, in order to evaluate the degree of dysgraphic coherence.

In brief

What characterises forensic document examination, in the various aspects presented, is the study of the graphic phenomenon as always seen in the global context in which it belongs, since only within a dynamic globality is the consequentiality or the incoherence of a specific letter formation perceivable. While all the approaches based on the assessment of whether the graphic letter shapes have been reproduced are considered as unsuitable to give grounds for a definitive judgement, regardless of the graphic rhythm to which they belong.
Document examination, by pointing out individual rhythms and frequencies with which the grapho-motor impulses are channelled, allows us to reach certain conclusions even in cases that are unsolvable with other methodologies.