The Neuroscience of Handwriting: Applications for Forensic Document Examination, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

The Neuroscience of Handwriting

Applications for Forensic Document Examination, 1st Edition

By Michael P. Caligiuri, Linton A. Mohammed

CRC Press

267 pages | 55 B/W Illus.

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pub: 2012-02-22
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The Daubert trilogy of U.S. Supreme Court cases has established that scientific expert testimony must be based on science grounded in empirical research. As such, greater scrutiny is being placed on questioned document examination generally, and handwriting comparison in particular. Bridging the gap between theory and practice, The Neuroscience of Handwriting: Applications in Forensic Document Examination examines the essential neuroscientific principles underlying normal and pathological hand motor control and handwriting.

Topics discussed include:

  • Fundamental principles in the neuroanatomy and neurochemistry of hand motor control and their application to research in handwriting
  • The epidemiology, pathophysiology, and motor characteristics of neurogenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis, essential tremor, and motor neuron disease and their effects on handwriting
  • Psychotropic medications prescribed for depression, bipolar disorder, and psychosis; their mechanisms of action; and their effect on motor behavior and handwriting
  • The impact of substance abuse on handwriting
  • An overview of the aging process and its effects on motor control and handwriting
  • The kinematic approach and new findings on the kinematic analyses of genuine, disguised, and forged signatures
  • The authors’ laboratory research on authentic and forged signatures

An essential resource for professionals and researchers in the forensic documentation examination and legal communities, this volume provides a window on the scientific process of signature and handwriting authentication, integrating the extensive research on neural processes and exploring how disease, medication, and advanced age alter these processes.

Table of Contents


Neuroanatomical and Neurochemical Bases of Motor Control

Historical Perspective on Brain Function for Hand Motor Control

Neuroanatomical Bases of Hand Motor Control

Basal Ganglia Neurochemistry

Frontal-Subcortical Neural Circuits and Motor Function

The Cerebellum and Brain Stem

Neuroanatomical Bases of Handwriting Movements

Lesion Studies

Functional Neuroimaging Studies

Models of Handwriting Motor Control

Handwriting as a Motor Program

Hierarchical Models of Handwriting Motor Control

Cost Minimization Models

Equilibrium Point Model

Neurological Disease and Motor Control

Parkinson’s Disease

Progressive Supranuclear Palsy and Corticobasal Degeneration

Essential Tremor

Multiple System Atrophy

Multiple Sclerosis

Huntington’s Disease

Lower Motoneuron Disease

Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia with Lewy Bodies

Psychotropic Medications: Effects on Motor Control

An Overview of Psychotropic Medications

Neurobiology of Psychotropic-Induced Movement Disorders

Aging and Motor Control

Neurotransmitter Mechanisms of Motor Aging

Aging Effects on Motor Behavior


A Kinematic Approach to Signature Authentication

The Kinematic Approach

Isochrony in Genuine, Autosimulated, and Forged Signatures

Methods: Writers and Procedures



Kinematic Analyses of Stroke Direction in Genuine and Forged Signatures

Methods: Writers and Procedures


Upstroke/Downstroke Ratio Scores


Neurological Disease and Handwriting

Handwriting in Specific Neurological Diseases

Effects of Psychotropic Medications on Handwriting

Empirical Research on Effects of Psychotropics on Handwriting Kinematics

Substance Abuse and Handwriting




Aging and Handwriting

Empirical Research on Effects of Aging on Handwriting



About the Authors

Michael P. Caligiuri, PhD, is a professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego. His research over the past two decades has focused on understanding how drugs and disease affect motor control and fine hand movements. He has served as the lead scientist on several federally and industry-sponsored studies on identifying treatment response in psychiatric patients and has authored over 100 peer-reviewed articles in medical journals and book chapters on movement disorders, brain imaging, and biomedical instrument development. His current research interest focuses on kinematic studies of impaired handwriting and understanding writer-based sources of variability in signature authentication.

Linton A. Mohammed, MFS, D-ABFDE, has been a forensic document examiner for 25 years. He has testified as an expert witness over 100 times in the United States, England, and the Caribbean. He is currently in private practice with Rile, Hicks, & Mohammed with offices in Long Beach, California, and San Bruno, California. He is certified by the American Board of Forensic Document Examiners and holds a Diploma in Document Examination from the Forensic Science Society in England. He is the current president of the American Society of Questioned Document Examiners, is a fellow in the Questioned Document Section of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences, and is currently completing work for a PhD in Human Biosciences at La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia.

About the Series

International Forensic Science and Investigation

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LAW / Forensic Science
LAW / Medical Law & Legislation
SCIENCE / Life Sciences / Neuroscience