CAN FINGER LENGTH HELP US PREDICT THE WINNER OF THE FIFA WORLD CUP 2010 IN SOUTH-AFRICA?
British researchers found confirming evidence that football ability is linked with the so-called '2D:4D digit ratio', which concerns the full-length ratio between the index finger vs. the ring finger. After taking a closer look at the results, a slideshow is presented featured with the hands of 'FIFA Golden Ball Award' winners - including: Pelé, Diego Maradona, Romário, Ronaldo & Zidane!
"Comparative measures of 2D:4D between international squads of players would be of great interest and may prove to be predictive of success in international competitions such as the World Cup"
- Professor John T. Manning in his first book: Digit Ratio (2002, p.139) -
The short '2D:4D digit ratio' is a typically male-like characteristic!
It has been known for more than a century that males and females tend to differ in the relative lengths of their index (2D) and ring (4D) fingers. Men on average have ring fingers longer than their index fingers, while women typically have the opposite.
The '2D:4D digit ratio' has a unique characteristic: it is fixed before birth after fingers show sex differences as early as nine weeks of foetal life!
Professor John Manning - an evolutionary psychologist at the University of Central Lancashire, and an expert in the area - described:
"The digit ratio is a living fossil. It is a record of what the foetus was exposed to at a critical time for the development of many other things."
During the past decade multiple international studies have confirmed that a low 2D:4D finger length ratio may point to a rainbow of typically male characteristics, including: fast running speed, endurance running, and visuo-spatial abilities.
Short 2D:4D finger length ratios in professional football players from England and Brazil!
Manning published in his books detailed reports about sample of amateurs & professionals from England, including: 304 professional players (e.g. from the Premier Division clubs: 'Liverpool' and 'Coventry City'), and 99 players from Brazil (e.g. First Division club: 'Sport Club Internacional').
The results of Manning's reports on football players should be seen in the perspective that populations from England are known for having a relative high average digit ratio: 0.98 for males, and 1.00 for females.
A few of the reported digit ratio facts:
• Average '2D:4D digit ratio' in football amateurs (N=533) = 0.98;
• Average '2D:4D digit ratio' in football professionals (N=267) = 0.95;
• Average '2D:4D digit ratio' in football internationals (N=37) = 0.94;
• Average '2D:4D digit ratio' in black football professionals (N=13) = 0.93;
• Average '2D:4D digit ratio' in football professionals (N=99) = 0.93;
• Average '2D:4D digit ratio' in first team professionals (N=20) = 0.92;
Football ability linked with the left hand, running speed linked with the right hand...!?
While both 'football ability' & 'running speed' have been linked with a low 2D:4D finger length ratio, an interesting trends was noticed in all studies.
For, in sprint-, middle distance-, and long distance athletes 'running speed' especially correlated high with the '2D:4D digit ratio' of the RIGHT HAND.
But in football players 'football ability' especially correlates high with the '2D:4D digit ratio' of the LEFT HAND (confirmed in the sample of English professionals, Brazilian professionals + English youth players).
Do 'Golden Ball' winners have the low 2D:4D finger ratio?
After the final of every FIFA Word Cup one single football player is honoured with the 'Golden Ball Award' - representing the best (most valuable) player of the FIFA World Cup tournament.
Time to take a look at the hands of the FIFA Golden Ball Award winners!