Ever wondered why our index fingers and ring fingers are different lengths?
No, neither have I… You’re about to find out nonetheless.
When we were in our mother’s womb, we were all exposed to different levels of hormones, namely oestrogen and testosterone. Those children exposed to higher testosterone levels grew to have longer ring fingers, while those exposed to more of the oestrogen hormone tend to have longer index fingers.
The British Journal of Psychology did a study on 75 7-year-old children. It was shown that those with shorter ring fingers than index fingers were better at literacy than maths, while those whose ring fingers were longer than their index fingers did better in maths test than in literacy.
Dr Mark Brosnan from Bath University said: “…testosterone has been argued to promote development of the areas of the brain which are often associated with spatial and mathematical skills”. Meanwhile, oestrogen is thought to do the same in the more literary world.
Finally, an explanation as to why I’ve always been helpless at both maths and literacy: my index and ring fingers are the same length.
…At least that was what I thought, until I discovered that it is highly likely for women’s ring and index fingers to be roughly of the same length.
Scientists from California have discovered that women and men with a greater difference in length between their ring finger and index finger are more likely to be homosexual. Women tend to have similar ring finger and index finger lengths, while men tend to have a shorter index finger. It was noted that lesbians tend to have a more masculine arrangement – i.e. a shorter index finger and so a greater difference in finger lengths.
In addition, there have been recent studies to show that there is a strong association between the length of right-hand index fingers in men, and prostate cancer. As we have discovered, being exposed to less testosterone prenatally results in a longer index finger, and, so it seems, may consequently protect against prostate cancer. With more research, this information could potentially be used to test a person’s prostate cancer risk. Professor Ros Eeles said “This exciting finding means that finger pattern could potentially be used to select at-risk men for ongoing screening, perhaps in combination with other factors such as family or genetic testing.” At this point, I should probably stress that men with shorter index fingers should not worry – they share this trait with over 50% of all men, and this does not mean that they will definitely develop prostate cancer at a later point in their lives.
As well as all the above, finger lengths can be examined to find out more:
- The hallmarks of autism have been more frequently noted amongst babies that were exposed to high levels of testosterone in the womb.
- The shorter the index finger is in comparison with the ring finger (the higher the testosterone exposure in the womb), the more physically aggressive that person will tend to be.
I hope no one stopped reading the article after the third line to start gawping at his or her fingers…