Analyst Pegs Personalities to the Letter

For JoNeal Hendricks Scully ’59, a handwritten note can be the scene of a crime. She zeroes in on evidence others might miss, probing each penned character for possible leads. Is it larger or smaller than normal? More pointed or more round? Slanted to the left or to the right? Little details can give Scully big tips about a penman’s personality. She has used them to weigh in on everything from criminal investigations to romantic relationships. But her decades-long career as a certified handwriting analyst came together much like the mysteries she solves – one clue at a time. “It’s like working a puzzle,” said Scully, who studied history, education, and psychology at Mary Washington. “You keep coming around and around. You’re looking for so many things.” Scully taught school for a while after college, but it wasn’t for her. Three years overseas, two children, and one decade later, she decided to revisit her love of psychology. She was excited until the graduate-school … [Read more...]

Researchers Give Helicopter Parenting Another Whirl

Soon after recovering from a media swarm surrounding a study they published last June, UMW Associate Professors of Psychology Holly Hollomon Schiffrin ’94 and Miriam Liss made headlines again.,, and The Chronicle of Higher Education clamored after the pair when their original research on intensive parenting ran in the Journal of Child and Family Studies. That project, co-authored with then-undergraduate student Kathryn Rizzo ’12, revealed that overinvolved parenting – sometimes called “helicopter parenting” – can negatively affect a mother’s health. Schiffrin and Liss continued to research the phenomenon, shifting their focus to college students. In an online survey, nearly 300 participants ages 18 to 23 agreed or disagreed with statements like “My mother monitors my diet,” “My mother does my laundry when I come home,” and “My mother had a say in what major I chose.” The results, published in February in the Journal of Child and Family Studies, showed … [Read more...]