Martijn van Mensvoort -  Hand Research

July 27, 2007

Finger Length & sexe differences during an aggressive music video
Digit length ratio (2D:4D) and sexe differences in aggression during a simulated war game

By Matthew H. McIntyre,

Leuven (Belgium): We tested the association between a biomarker of early sex differentiation, the second-to-fourth fingerlength ratio (2D:4D), and unprovoked attack during a simulated war game (n = 176).

We also investigatedwhether 2D:4D mediated the tendency for men to attack more than women and whether personality dimen-sions previously associated with sex differences in aggression or hostility (social dominance orientation, nar-cissism, perceived stress, and self-esteem) mediated either relationship.

We found that sex and lower, moremale-typical, 2D:4D predicted unprovoked attack independently. In men, high levels of narcissism pre-dicted greater than 10 times greater odds of attacking.

We also found non-monotonic effects of social dom-inance orientation and of perceived stress on unprovoked attack, which were not as predicted. However, we saw no evidence that effects of sex or 2D:4D were mediated by the personality dimensions we measured.

In 2004 the BBC reported about former likewise research:

Finger length 'key to aggression'
The length of a man's fingers can reveal how physically aggressive he is, Canadian scientists have said.

The shorter the index finger is compared to the ring finger, the more boisterous he will be, University of Alberta researchers said. But the same was not true for verbal aggression or hostile behaviours, they told the journal Biological Psychology after studying 300 people's fingers. The trend is thought to be linked to testosterone exposure in the womb.

Hand hints

It has been known for some time that there is a direct correlation between finger lengths and the amount of the male sex hormone testosterone that a baby is exposed to in the womb. In women, the two fingers are usually almost equal in length, as measured from the crease nearest the palm to the fingertip. In men, the ring finger tends to be much longer than the index.

Other studies looking at finger length ratio have suggested that, in men, a long ring finger and symmetrical hands are an indication of fertility, and that women are more likely to be fertile if they have a longer index finger. One study found boys with shorter ring fingers tended to be at greatest risk of a heart attack in early adulthood, which was linked to testosterone levels.

In the current study, Dr Peter Hurd and his student Allison Bailey measured the fingers of 300 undergraduates at their university. Men with the shortest index fingers scored higher on measures of physical aggression than those with longer index fingers, but the study's findings did not apply to women. Dr Hurd is now looking at male hockey players to see whether there is any correlation between finger lengths and each player's penalty record for contact and fouling during matches.

Window to the soul?

He has also been looking at whether men with more feminine finger lengths might be more prone to depression. He said: "Finger length can tell you a little bit about where personality comes from. "A large part of our personalities and our traits are determined while we are still in the womb." But he said finger length should not be used to draw too many conclusions about an individual person. "For example, you wouldn't want to screen people for certain jobs based on their finger lengths."

Professor John Manning from the University of Central Lancashire's department of psychology, who first realised

that sex hormone exposure in the womb influences finger length, agreed. He said certain individual characteristics correlate better with finger length than others. "For example, if you had a group of runners and they were about to start a race I could predict reasonably well who was going to win based on their finger length. "But I would not be able to predict whether someone was neurotic or not."

He said Dr Hurd's findings were logical based on what we know about finger length, testosterone exposure and aggression, but said more research was needed to confirm the findings. He said another recent study had found women exposed to higher levels of testosterone in the womb, and hence a more 'male' pattern of finger length, displayed more frustrated behaviour when answering challenging telephone calls than other women.


Find a Palm Reader in Belgium!

Related sources:
How the index finger & ring finger relate to financial success
A secret your finger length reveals
Basketball fingers, colonic enemas, and fat
Finger length and aggression during a simulated war game (PDF-file)
Digit Ratio & Agression
The Finger Book
What they say about men with long ring fingers
What our fingers can tell us
Left Handedness & Finger Asymmetry
Giving Science the Finger




© COPYRIGHT 2002-2017: Martijn van Mensvoort