Is it or is it not possible to predict "with a fair degree of accuracy" one's nationality through one's handwriting?

Yes, it's possible.

It is possible for a trained expert in handwriting to tell with a fair degree of accuracy the nationality ... of any one who executes writing of any kind. - Disputed Handwriting, 1909: Jerome B. Lavay,

The authors of this 2014 paper develop a handwriting recognition system. Looking at handwriting samples from 8 nationalities (≥ 30 samples each), its system correctly predicts the nationality of the writer 48% of the time (as opposed to a 12.5% random prediction rate).

One webpage states:

Many handwriting experts claim you can’t tell a person’s ethnicity or nationality by their handwriting, but again, I say this isn’t true.

No, it's not.

Wikipedia states:

The published studies on ... nationality ... and their relationship to handwriting have had mixed results.

One webpage claims:

Handwriting cannot tell someone's age, race, gender, religion, nationality, whether someone is right or left handed, and it cannot predict the future.

Another claims:

A graphologist will not be able to determine the nationality of the writer.

This question is motivated by my anecdotal experience that for some specific handwriting styles, it is possible to identify the nationality of the writer, even without any special training or equipment/software. Example: One particular handwriting style (in English) seems to be used only by people from China.

  • 1
    I'm not sure this is the proper forum for this question, but it's interesting. Would you say it's a difference in lettering format (which could be a particular form taught in certain places) or is it a difference in the style (slant, pressure, etc.) with which they are laid down? – Larry OBrien Sep 23 '14 at 17:52
  • I have zero training in this so I don't even know how to describe it. It is perhaps a bit like recognizing faces - one can immediately distinguish an Oriental (East Asian) face from a North European face, but without training (or the aid stereotypes) it is not easy to describe precisely what the differences are. I will get some samples and post photos here. – Kenny LJ Sep 23 '14 at 22:53
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    Doesn't your cited study answer your question? – Oddthinking Sep 24 '14 at 16:11
  • It is only one study. I've now added details to the question to emphasize that many disagree that handwriting can identify nationality. Some folks also tend to believe that graphology isn't good for identifying anything. – Kenny LJ Sep 24 '14 at 17:22
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    I would expect that you might be able to figure out at what kind of school someone learned writing, but that a German, an Italian, and a Chinese kid learning at the same school would have the same writing style with no clue to their nationality. – gnasher729 Sep 25 '14 at 9:47

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