The Physiological/Psychological Link
To Brain Dominance
A Review, by Rosemary Arnold C.G.
This review offers a unique research perspective on handwriting. In order to fully appreciate its content, I'd like to provide the introduction of a few handwriting facts so the reader can better grasp the significance of this research perspective.
Acting as the complex printout of a very sophisticated neurological process of a highly activated brain, handwriting reveals the writer's physical, mental and emotional state at the time of writing. That it offers extraordinary insight for those skilled in its interpretation is an unquestionable reality for many in Europe, Israel and increasingly in the United States.
Handwriting has a physiological/psychological link in the brain. This link is a concept established by extensive European research decades ago. Its interpretation is tied to the physiology of contraction or release of the movement style. Although this concept was established decades ago, for a variety of long standing, closely intertwined reasons, it is largely unknown in this country and has never been established by research.
By drawing on massive brain research over the last 30 years, Jeanette Farmer, C. G., has developed an exciting new graphological perspective grounded in the psychology of the left and right brain. Her book, "Handwriting Movement: Its Physiological/ Psychological Link in the Brain", summaries her research efforts over the last twelve years.
Discovering the Handwriting/Brain Dominance Connection:
Inspired by a major "aha" while attending a brain dominance seminar and armed with advanced graphological training, Jeanette drew upon some 75 years of highly complex European graphological research to design and implement her handwriting and brain dominance research. While her research must be replicated, it represents a major first step in establishing handwriting's special link in the brain in this country.
She drew upon two bodies of extraordinary graphological research by German neurologist/graphlogist, Dr. Rudolph Pophal, and Hungarian psychologist/graphologist Klara Roman. Both research pioneers were highly instrumental in defining handwriting 's special link in the brain. Pophal spent 30 years studying how the fundamental nature of the brain's various motor centers predominately impacts the movement style. These motor centers are located in the brain from the brain stem up to the cortex.
Pophal determined that while handwriting's content is consciously produced, its movement is emotionally delivered from the deepest strata of the brain. He identified the brain's four bio-types based on the specific type of movement characteristics, portraying which area of the brain had a predominant influence in producing the writing.
Using Klara Roman's Psychogram, a technically sophisticated graphological instrument, Jeanette measured/scored forty handwriting characteristics for contraction or release on a 0-5 scale. She assigned Pophal's "bio-types" characteristics to the HBDI's four quadrants and developed a similar graphic four point plot for a final numerical assessment that identified the thinking and emotional styles in four quadrants of the brain.
The control, the Herrmann Brain Dominance Instrument (HBDI), (a self-assessment, forced choice questionnaire), produces a graphic four point plot that identifies the thinking and emotional styles in four quadrants of the brain (graphic link). With a correlation of .78 to the better known Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, the HBDI graphically reflects introversion or extroversion. Superimposing the two graphic profiles with the handwriting typically reveals a congruency, but it also produced a few incongruencies. The few incongruent profiles that occurred are revealing in and of themselves.
It is important to note that dominance is never polarized. Most profiles are double dominant, even triple dominant or rarely "whole brain" (left and right cerebral, double left, double right, or left and right limbic).
Another discovery from recent brain research is that the differences in the physiological structure of the male and female brain. The female corpus callosum matures earlier and impulses move back and forth faster. Also the communications skills are more diffuse than in the male brain. This may require reassessment of some graphological interpretations of male and female handwritings.
Taking the Handwriting/Brain Dominance Perspective to the Next Level:
As a result of her handwriting/ brain dominance perspective, she soon realized its extraordinary potential for dealing with some disturbing national trends. These include America's rising illiteracy rates. In just the last 20 years we have fallen from 13th in literacy to 49th, and the burgeoning number of children diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder. She realized that the neglect of good old fashioned "penmanship" and its inherent stimulation to the brain has had major educational ramifications.
As mankind evolved over the centuries the ongoing manipulation of the fingers in the process of making tools stimulated the brain, eventually causing the left brain's language capacities to emerge. Comparing the highly disproportionate space in the brain devoted to the use of the hand and fingers as compared to the rest of the body's moving parts, immediately highlights the hand's crucial influence in actually developing the mind. In truth, handwriting, as one of the most complex of all human behaviors, helps turn the brain into the mind.
Realizing the connection, she developed a structured handwriting remediation program that uses therapeutic music to "retrain the brain," i.e., develop impulse control, by stabilizing the lower levels of the brain so the left brain can gain control. Its success lies in the basic physiological fact that for 90% of the right handed population, fine motor control and emotional control are deeply intertwined.
In opening a new arena, handwriting remediation, for graphological services, Jeanette lectures and teaches analysts the brain dominance perspective nationally and internationally and "teaches the teachers" about handwriting's significant role in "training the brain." Her program is now used in classrooms across the country by teachers and occupational therapists and is part of a year long pilot study in the Denver area.
The effects of Jeanette's research on the field of graphology, together with more exposure of Pophal's work in the United States, will be to legitimize graphology in a way not possible either through the field of psychology or through standard research of individual handwriting characteristics.
About the author
Jeanette Farmer, C.G., one of only a few handwriting remediation specialists in this country, has developed a highly specialized perspective of handwriting based on its physiological/psychological link in the brain. She's developed two specialized innovative brain-based learning programs. Training the Brain to Pay Attention the Write Way, Volume I for pre K-2 and Volume II for 3-12 grades. Her "Train the Brain" program is now in use in many classrooms in both public and private schools in the western states.
This concept is designed to stimulate the young child's brain without creating stress and anxiety. Its non-threatening format is critical in reaching and teaching the at-risk child. She pioneered this concept for use in preliminary process for developing literacy for the at-risk.
While her studies of the brain started as a lark, she's spent the last 10 years investigating the handwriting/brain dominance connection by capitalizing on 30 years of research by German neurologist/graphologist and extensive brain science research.
It culminated in controlled research that was published in a peer-reviewed 1995/1996 edition of The Journal of the American Society of Professional Graphologists. She received the American Handwriting Analysis Foundation 1992 Special Achievement Award for her pioneering research and was honored as an "Unsung Hero" at the recent Vanguard conference. She gained her original training through the International Graphoanalysis Society and was certified by them. She then took advanced training in the Psychogram through the Handwriting Analysis Workshop Unlimited. She is board certified by the American Handwriting Analysis Foundation (AHAF) of San Jose, CA, and is now serving a second tour of duty as editor of the AHAF Journal.
In recognizing an existing educational void in understanding handwriting's deeper implications, she provides educational inservics to "teach the teachers" on handwriting's inherent capacity to critically impact the young brain and its largely unrecognized influence in developing reading skills - a missing piece in America's illiteracy puzzle.
She also lectures to related professionals and has spoken at the Colorado 1996 Title 1 Parental Involvement Conference, the 1996 New Mexico Occupational Therapy Conference, the 1997 Nevada Occupational Therapy Conference, and the 1995, 1996, 1997 and 1998 Colorado Council of the International Reading Association Conference.
She has written several monographs that focus on advanced training in t he handwriting field from the movement/brain dominance perspective. Her book, Handwriting Movement: the Physiological/Psychological Link to Brain Dominance, summarizes the underlying principles that support her research and experience. Another is Grapho-Motor Exercises, a Historical Perspective on t he Evolution of Handwriting Movement Therapy and Can Handwriting Training Be the Unrecognized Path to Literacy?
Contact Jeanette Farmer at: (For information about her services)
4400 S. Quebec D104
Denver, CO 80237
Fax: 303/740-6161 Star 51
e-mail: Jeanette Farmer
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