Development of handwriting individuality among children
The development of handwriting individuality among children in early grades is studied using automated comparison tools and statistical analysis. The data consisted of handwriting samples of children, in grade 2 to grade 4 writing in the Zaner-Bloser style, is collected over a period of three years. Scanned images were first subjected to several preprocessing steps (cropping, noise removal). Pairs of images, from the same and different students, were input to a forensic document analysis system which computes a log-likelihood ratio (LLR)- a measure of the strength of whether the two samples were written by the same person or not- based on distributions of distances of macro- and micro-features. Considering hand-print and cursive samples, the LLR values were analyzed using Chi-Square Goodness of Fit test, resulting in the two observations: (i) handwriting of each child remains relatively similar from grades 2 to 3 (when he/she has just learnt to handwrite) and becomes markedly different when he/she progresses from grades 3 to 4, and (ii) handwriting of different children becomes progressively more different from grades 2 to 4. The results provide strong support that handwriting becomes more individualistic with child development.