At first sight, graphology and forensic handwriting are the same thing, i.e. the science about handwriting. In a sense it’s correct: in both cases, the main subject of analysis is human handwriting. Nevertheless, the difference between these two disciplines is quite significant.
Forensic Graphology analyses handwriting and drawing movement skills to solve tasks in forensic examination of texts and signatures. A forensic handwriting analyst should be able to identify whether a piece of text or a signature was written by one person or different people, and to confirm forgery or genuineness of a signature.
Moreover, a forensic handwriting expert is able to identify the conditions in which the text was written, for example, in lying or standing, the state the author of the text was in — whether he was intoxicated, ill or under a lot of stress. Sometimes it’s possible to identify the approximate age of the author — handwriting analysts know what handwriting worksheets were used at different times. A handwriting analyst can tell about physical qualities and some professional details of the author.
Apart from the main characteristics of handwriting — slant, pressure, page margins and line spacing, the way of putting punctuation marks — an expert analyses lexical parts of the speech (if the text is large enough): level of grammar, lexical and stylistic skills in writing.
Graphology is mostly a psychological discipline and aims to find a connection between a person’s writing and personality. A graphologist analyses handwriting to discover skills and aptitudes of the author of the written text, and about his psychological and emotional state. Graphology is one of the methods of psychological testing, which differs from the majority of other tests as it doesn’t need the physical presence of the person.
In graphology, like in forensic handwriting, importance is given to the way of writing letters, spaces between lines and letters, page margins and other characteristics of writing. But graphologists see the meaning of these characteristics from other sides.
You can say that a handwriting analysis in frames of forensic graphology should answer the main question: who is the author? Whereas the main question in graphology is– what kind of person is the author?