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BACKGROUND: The size of a person's signature may reveal implicit information about how the self is perceived although this has not been closely examined. METHODS/RESULTS: We conducted three experiments to test whether increases in signature size can be induced. Specifically, the aim of these experiments was to test whether changes in signature size reflect a person's current implicit sense of embodiment. Experiment 1 showed that an implicit affect task (positive subliminal evaluative conditioning) led to increases in signature size relative to an affectively neutral task, showing that implicit affective cues alter signature size. Experiments 2 and 3 demonstrated increases in signature size following experiential self-focus on sensory and affective stimuli relative to both conceptual self-focus and external (non-self-focus) in both healthy participants and patients with anorexia nervosa, a disorder associated with self-evaluation and a sense of disembodiment. In all three experiments, increases in signature size were unrelated to changes in self-reported mood and larger than manipulation unrelated variations. CONCLUSIONS: Together, these findings suggest that a person's sense of embodiment is reflected in their signature size.

Original publication




Journal article


PLoS One

Publication Date





Adult, Affect, Anorexia Nervosa, Cognition, Female, Handwriting, Humans, Male, Self Concept, Young Adult