Essay: Handwriting

Handwriting is a form of expressive moment frozen on the paper, through which physiological and psychological functions are revealed. The handwriting of a person undergoes certain variations with his changing frame of mind and emotions [14]. The person’s disposition, whether glad or contented, happy or excited, sad or disappointed, are spoken out through his handwriting. These emotions can be characterized through various handwriting indicators or traits of writing like Baseline, Slant, Pen-pressure, Size, Strokes, Spacing, Margins, Loops, ‘i’-dots, ‘t’-bar etc. These features and the emotions depicted by them are further described.
A. Baseline
The line on which most of the letters rest is known as baseline [5]. It is an important factor in inferring the emotional stability of the writer. It reveals the writer’s attitude about reaching his goals and the kind of mental energy he applies to various situations [14]. There are four most common baselines namely, Ascending, Descending, Straight and Wavy Baseline whose significant emotional characteristics are described in the following table [6], [10], [30]
TABLE 2. TYPES OF BASE LINE AND RELATED EMOTION

B. Slant
Slant is the predominant angle of the upward or downward stroke or in simpler terms, it is the relative alignment of the letters to the baseline. It is a significant factor in interpreting the inner mind of a person as it discloses the person’s truthfulness and emotional responsiveness. It indicates the degree to which the writer expresses his real emotions and feelings to the world around him. The slants in handwriting varies from extreme left through left, vertical and right to extreme right [6], [14], [30].

TABLE 3. TYPES OF SLANT AND RELATED EMOTIONS

C. Pen-Pressure
Pen-pressure is defined as the force which we apply on the writing surface with the writing instrument. Pen-pressure corresponds to the intellectual vitality, mental energy, intense feelings, determination, passivity and emotional intensity. The pressure exerted maybe heavy, light or average. [5], [6], [14], [29].
TABLE 4. TYPES OF PRESSURE AND RELATED EMOTIONS

D. Size
The size is an unstable peculiarity which varies according to the disposition of the writer. Usually the size of handwriting is cataloged as large, overly large, medium, small and microscopic sized handwriting. However, the sudden transformation in the size of one’s handwriting from normal to microscopic portrays that the writer is sinking down in dejection [14]. It describes a deeply distressed or sorrowful emotional status of the writer.
TABLE 5. SIZE TRANSFORMATION AND EMOTION CONNECTION

E. Margin
Each side of the page and the entire layout has a meaning which communicates much about the person’s aspiration and the desire for appreciation. The margin could be either left, right or the text could be all over the page. Wide right margin indicates the writer’s agonize about future and fear of the unknown. It may widen temporarily resulting from a particular stressing situation and will return to normal width once the crisis has ended.
TABLE 6. MARGIN AND RELATED EMOTIONS

F. Zone
A line of handwriting is separated into three zones namely the upper zone, lower zone and middle zone. The zones signify three diverse parts of thought and are dependent on emotional vigor of the writer.
‘ Dominating Middle Zone: The size and formation of middle zone discloses the level of content and joy being experienced by the writer. Abrupt alteration in the middle zone and the diminishing of letters with respect to the rest of the two zones shows the occurrence of some incidences which lead to insightful sorrow.
‘ Upper Zone: It represents the anger, stress, aggravation, nervousness and concern. Letters with upper loops resembling balloon on a thread shows abnormal thinking similar to the writing. It hints about mentally ill or a psychotic person who distorts the reality around him instead of trying to interpret it [32].
‘ Pointed Upper Loop Zone:

TABLE 7. ZONES AND RELATED EMOTIONS

IV. EMOTION RECOGNITION THROUGH HANDWRITING ANALYSIS
The process of automated emotion recognition through handwriting analysis is a multi stage procedure [13], [24]. It begins with collecting the handwritten samples on plain white A4 size paper. These samples are then scanned and converted to JPEG format images which are then processed for handwriting analysis. The analysis and classification based on these processed images results into the recognition of corresponding emotions. The system architecture is depicted in Fig 1. The entire processing includes the following steps:
A. Image Pre-processing
Image pre-processing is the technique in which the handwritten sample is translated to a digital image by executing certain operations on it to extract the required information [18], [19]. The scanned image is studied appropriately, analyzed and processed to manipulate it. The output of this analysis enables us to understand the image and the features in it in an easier manner [8]. This process is carried out with an objective to emphasize the characteristics of the handwriting which are to be extracted and classified to recognize the corresponding emotions.
B. Segmentation
It’s a process used to partition a digital image into multiple sets known as segments. Therefore by this way the image is represented into more meaningful way which will become easier to analyze it. Image segmentation usually locates the object’s lines, curves and its boundaries as the image has its own limitations and problems like image data ambiguity and information noise [19].
Segmentation includes the thresholding and binarization of the image [18]. At this stage, the pixels which represent certain objects such as text or line image like graphs, maps are extracted. With the help of binarization, the pixels that are true regions with foreground being of single intensity and background being of different intensities are marked [26].
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