Dermatoglyphics Multiple Intelligences Test (DMIT): a fundamental review!
What is the 'Dermatoglyphics Multiple Intelligences Test' (DMIT)?
DMIT is an appealing commercial product which suggests that 'multiple intelligences' (read: talents) can be assessed from dermatoglyphics & fingerprints.
During the past years DMIT became a popular niche in some Asian countries with the use of smart marketing techniques focused on especially young parents, who are often insecure about their child's future. Is DMIT really the reliable & scientifically validated test that it claims to represent?
At some locations (e.g. in Chinese cities) DMIT became banned after parents started complaining about e.g. the reliability of the DMIT results + doubts regarding the validity of various DMIT-claims.
Also, incidental reports have been noticed from various sources where DMIT became described as a franchise scheme fraud/scam.
The objective of this article is to demonstrate the construction of the DMIT concept; also, background info is presented regarding the origins of DMIT, featured with a deeper analysis focused on in specific the DMIT claim regarding 'Musical Intelligence'.
Finally, various sources are recommended for further reading.
"To date there have been no published studies that offer evidence of the validity of the multiple intelligences. ... The theory of multiple intelligences has been conflated with learning styles. It is often cited as an example of pseudoscience because it lacks empirical evidence or fallibility. "
2 - DMIT is built on the 'left-brain vs. right brain lateralization' hypothesis.
The concept of the 'left-brain vs. right brain lateralization' became popular based on e.g. outdated findings from the 1970's and neuropsychologist Roger W. Sperry's 'split-brain experiments'.
Unfortunately, also this theory has a lack of support from brain research and is today known as an unfounded example of pseudo-science; a neuroscientists explains:
"The idea that the left side is "logical and analytical" and the right is "intuitive and creative" seems to be natural law. In fact, it may be the poster child for pseudoscience - something that looks like science but isn't.."
3 - The 'finger-brain lobe connection' hypothesis.
The origins of the 'finger-brain lobe connection' can be traced to Taiwan, and in specific the works of education Professor Lin & kindergarten principal Mary Lai.
Both appear to suggests that since the 1990's they have been working with the so-called 'finger-brain lobe connection' hypothesis - which suggest each fingers represents a brain lobe at the other side of the body.
Unfortunately, this theory can also be recognized to represent example of pseudo-science for various reasons; e.g. because brain research today points out that all five fingers have the strongest connection with only a small parts of the brain that is known to represent the so-called 'primary motor cortex' and the 'primary sensory cortex' (both are located at the central sulcus, which separates the frontal brain lobe from the parietal brain lobe).
4 - The 'fingerprint predicts behavior' hypothesis.
The origins of the 'fingerprint predicts behavior' can be traced to the field of palmistry.
US Palmist Edward D. Campbell describes in his very informative 1998 article 'Fingerprints & Palmar Dermatoglyphics':
"Noel Jaquin began to speculate about the psychological connections of fingerprints and individual subjects in print in 1933 as he wondered whether the whorl pattern, then commonly found on the prints of certain types of criminals, indicated some defect of moral perception that he would attribute to some psychological deficiency."
Unfortunately, there is no scientific evidence which provides evidence for the idea that fingerprint patterns (such as: whorls, ulnar loops, radial loop, tented arches & arches) correlate with behavior;
so far there are only studies available where results indicate that 'fluctuating dermatoglyphic asymmetry' may correlate with some aspects of behavior (usually due to developmental instability), however one should not misinterpret such findings as a clue that individual fingerprint patterns themselves also correlate with genetically determined talents or behavior.
The illustration below is a compilation of illustrations presented by Encycligent (which associates with Professor Lin's work).
However, in DMIT models the parietal brain lobe usually gets associated with the middle finger (3rd digit) and posterior frontal lobe usually get associated with the index finger (2nd digit) - see Esther Cheang's illustration, second picture below.
Hand-brain model presented by marketing specialist Esther Cheang.
"A brief consideration of the evidence suggests that musical skill passes the other tests
for an intelligence. For example, certain parts of the brain play important roles in
perception and production of music. These areas are characteristically located in the right
hemisphere, although musical skill is not as clearly "localized," or located in a specifiable
area, as natural language."
Actually, according the sate of cognitive neuroscience today research points out that music skills actually require the involvement of both hemispheres:
"Music is also processed by both the left and the right sides of the brain."
Additionally, the truth is that various brain lobes from both hemispheres are involved with the process of music:
- pitch involves both hemispheres the upper temporal lobe [primary auditory cortex] (+ auditory brainstem, inferior colliculus & auditory thalamus);
- fine pitch resolution involves more the right- than the left upper temporal lobe [secondary auditory cortex] (+ right planum temporale & right superior temporal gyrus);
- melody involves in both hemispheres the upper temporal lobe [secondary auditory cortex], slightly more on the right side;
- rhythm involves the left frontal cortex & left parietal cortex (+ the right cerebellum);
- tonality involves right auditory cortex, and for both hemispheres: the medial prefrontal cortex, the cerebellum, the superior temporal sulci, and the superior temporal gyri.
Also, Walter Sorell pointed out in 1968 that long ring fingers have been linked with musical ability for many years; during the past few decades John Manning described that this old finding has been confirmed by 2d:4d digit ratio studies which indicate that musicians tend to have by average a (slightly) lower index- to ring finger length ratio.
Unfortunately there are no scientific studies available at all which confirm that fingerprint ridge counts (or dermatoglyphics) correlate with 'musical ability'.
Conclusion: the correlation between musical talent and the ring finger was already known long before DMIT, and so far there is no (independent) evidence which confirms that this correlation is more significant for the right ring finger than for the left ring finger.
Therefore this aspect of DMIT represents likely just another glimp of a pseudo-scientific theory.