Simulation Detection in Handwritten Documents by Forensic Document Examiners

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This study documents the results of a controlled experiment designed to quantify the abilities of forensic document examiners (FDEs) and laypersons to detect simulations in handwritten documents. Nineteen professional FDEs and 26 laypersons (typical of a jury pool) were asked to inspect test packages that contained six (6) known handwritten documents written by the same person and two (2) questioned handwritten documents. Each questioned document was either written by the person who wrote the known documents, or written by a different person who tried to simulate the writing of the person who wrote the known document. The error rates of the FDEs were smaller than those of the laypersons when detecting simulations in the questioned documents. Among other findings, the FDEs never labeled a questioned document that was written by the same person who wrote the known documents as "simulation." There was a significant statistical difference between the responses of the FDEs and layperson for documents without simulations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)936-941
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Forensic Sciences
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Genetics


  • Forensic science
  • Handwritten documents
  • Mock jury
  • Proficiency testing
  • Questioned document examination
  • Simulated handwriting

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