13 December 2010

What your fingers say about you

Scientists are finding surprising evidence that links men’s attributes and behavioural patterns to the length of their…erm… fingers.


Mothers often advise their daughters to check out any potential male love interest’s fingers since neat and clean fingernails are supposedly a good measure of a man’s character. Scientists are discovering, however, that mothers should rather make their daughters measure the length of the guy’s fingers - and no, it’s nothing to do with the length of his penis!

The measure of a man

While there are still some sceptics in the medical fraternity, a growing number of scientific studies have shown a statistically significant correlation between the length of men’s fingers and a number of rather surprising behavioural patterns and attributes. In particular it’s the ratio between the length of a man’s index finger and the length of his ring finger, normally measured on his right hand, which gives away his character traits. This ratio is called the 2D:4D ratio. The “2D” bit refers to the second digit or index finger and ”4D” denotes the fourth digit or ring finger.

Studies have shown that men with comparatively small 2D:4D ratios (i.e. men who’s right hand index finger is significantly shorter than the right hand ring finger) tend to:

• take greater risks in their social, recreational and financial lives;

• consume more alcohol;

• be more fertile;

• have greater sport and musical aptitudes;

• be more assertive and aggressive;

• be more likely to be fined for breaking the speed limit in their cars;

• have more masculine handwriting; and

• have greater mathematical skills and spatial ability.

The testosterone connection

So why should the relative lengths of a man’s fingers give any indication of his personal characteristics, attributes and skills?

It turns out that the 2D:4D ratio is largely determined during early foetal development in the womb and is strongly influenced by sex hormones, especially testosterone. Evidence suggests that exposure to higher levels of this male sex hormone during the early developmental stages facilitates the growth of the ring finger, while elevated levels of the female sex hormone oestrogen foster the growth of the index finger. So on his right hand, which is more sensitive to foetal hormone exposure, a man’s ring finger tends to be longer than his index finger. Women usually have ring and index fingers of approximately equal length.

Since prenatal exposure to sex hormones also has a very strong influence on a man’s character development, the relative length of his fingers turns out to be a surprisingly reliable morphological marker of his personality.

(Andrew Luyt, Health24, December 2010).



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