You’ve got to hand it to the French

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hands_reached_out_1600_wht_16231when it comes to recruitment methods. They persisted with graphology when every right-thinking person agreed it was a nonsense with no scientific evidence that it worked.

Having said that it seems to be becoming popular again according to a recent article in the Guardian, and not just in France where 75% of companies admit to using it. For psychologists like me it’s up there with corporate psychics advising on who to hire or fire.

But I digress because the latest fad is hand-reading!

Jean de Bony is a French consultant who claims that he can tell if you are a born leader by looking at your hand and fingerprints. Have you got a broad palm, long finger-nails, arches, spirals or loops in your fingerprints? Are your hands cold, warm, or moist? Just to give one example he claims that people with cold, moist hands are unsuited to positions of responsibility.

He claims to have analysed 10,000 hands, including those of 300 famous people including Nicholas Sarkozy and Charlotte Rampling, to help him devise his system which he calls biotypologie and which he claims gives him an insight into our temperament. However he has never published his studies so they have never been tested scientifically.

In fact at one point in the 1980s he had to leave the country after outrage at his theory which critics claimed was similar to Hitler’s approach to genetics. Facing death threats he fled to Canada and when he later returned he was welcomed back by businesses who wanted him to help on hiring and retention decisions.

The fact that large insurance companies and energy suppliers made decisions based on fingerprint patterns and warm hands is amazing. He has since moved on to running seminars for well-known fashion houses, construction companies, and hotel groups. He says he has never met a business leader with cold wet hands as if that proves his theory.

41-fNSYvklL._AA160_He has a new book out called Ce Que Révelent Vos Mains (what your hands reveal). He rejects the accusation that he is promoting a modern version of palmistry which he claims is for charlatans. He says his method is a factual assessment of the present and is something “I wanted to create … that was accessible and universal and that can be reproduced”.

If you want something for your next party you could try it out as long as you don’t take it too seriously. Back in the 1970s I had similar fun with the Lüscher colour test although it has a longer pedigree and its developer better scientific credentials than Monsieur de Bony.


For more information about graphology’s lack of validity see these two sources: 

The CIPD cite Pilbream & Corbidge (2006) who rate the predictive validity of graphology alongside astrology as 0.0.

The British Psychological Society (BPS) has also examined its use in selection and found no evidence to support its use.


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