Degree Name

MA (Master of Arts)


Criminal Justice and Criminology

Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Larry S. Miller

Committee Members

John T. Whitehead, Michael C. Braswell


Regarding the myriad disputed documents encountered within the science of forensic document examination, questioned handwriting is the most prevalent. This includes the simulation or alteration of and or additions to handwriting and signatures. The current study examined the changes that may occur in writing when given a limited amount of space. Several participants completed a survey wherein writing samples were taken under varying space allowances. These space restrictions were made under differing conditions such as boxed signatures, additions to prewritten material, and alterations to letters and numbers. The results of the study found characteristics of reflex of avoidance in the participants' handwriting. These characteristics included changes in height, width, and letter spacing in accordance to the amount of space provided. The examples of reflex of avoidance defined throughout this study may serve to assist forensic document examiners in the detection of alterations within questioned documents.

Document Type

Thesis - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.

Included in

Criminology Commons