The Effects of Word Length on Handwriting Perception


  • Haley Calder MacEwan University


Humans are social creatures, and a large part of our communication skills are developed through reading and writing. Unlike typeface, handwriting is unique to each individual writer and can characterize a person. Our brain engages differently when reading and writing handwriting versus typeface. Similar to faces, handwriting is a complex visual stimulus containing multiple dimensions. This study looks at the effects of word length in handwriting perception using traditional psychophysical techniques. Recently, we have developed a set of standardized handwriting stimuli that we can use to investigate whether or not the perceived gender of handwriting depends on the number of letters within a word. Stimuli will be composed of 1, 2, 4, 8, or 16 letters and participants will rate the perceived gender of the handwriting. There are two alternative outcomes we expect to find with this study. Handwriting perception may reflect global visual processing (efficient processing) or local visual processing (inefficient processing).

Department: Psychology 

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Nicole Anderson