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HomeEditor's PickDigit length may link to muscular strength in adolescent boys

Digit length may link to muscular strength in adolescent boys

DigitlengthThe ratio of the length of the second (pointer) finger and the length of the fourth (ring) finger – is favourably related to muscular strength in boys, found a small US study.

A father-son research partnership has found that athletic prowess could be related to the length of your fingers. Grant Tomkinson, a professor of kinesiology and public health education department at the University of North Dakota, conducted research with his son Jordan, a junior at Sacred Heart School.

The research paper explores the difference in length between one's index finger and ring finger, and a possible link to muscular strength.

They found that the ratio of the length of the second ("pointer") finger and the length of the fourth ("ring") finger – called the "digit ratio" – is favorably related to muscular strength in boys.

"Examine the fingers of your hand," said Grant Tomkinson. "Which is longer: the index finger – the finger you use to point with – or your ring finger?" He said the ring finger in males is typically longer than the index finger, whereas the fingers are about the same length in females.

"There is some indirect evidence that this digit ratio of the length of the fingers, is determined during early foetal development by testosterone – the more testosterone the foetus produces, the longer the ring finger, so the smaller the digit ratio," he says.

"Testosterone is the natural steroid hormone that enhances sport, athletic and fitness test performance. In general, people with smaller digit ratios are better athletes. Our study shows that boys with lower digit ratios have better hand-grip strength, irrespective of their age or body size," Tomkinson said.

Because muscular strength is important for success in many youth sports and athletic events, the finding suggests that the digit ratio may predict performance in youth sports and athletic events requiring high strength. Muscular strength is also an important indicator of good health, and those with lower digit ratios probably have better general health and well-being, Tomkinson said.

One of Tomkinson's graduate students, Makailah Dyer, has also found that females with lower digit ratios are better basketball players.

Using a cross-sectional design, this study quantified the relationship between the digit ratio (2D:4D) and muscular strength in 57 adolescent boys. 2D:4D was very likely a moderate negative correlate of handgrip strength, even after adjustment for age and body size. This result may reflect the organizational benefits of prenatal testosterone.

Jordan M Tomkinson, Grant R Tomkinson


A study undertaken by researchers at McGill University in Canada in 2014/15 suggests men with ring fingers longer than their index fingers are more likely to be kind and caring than those whose second digit is longer.  A 20-day study of 155 men found that men with comparatively longer ring fingers were more likely to laugh, compromise, compliment others and smile.  The digit ratio – the difference in length between the second and fourth fingers – is an indication of the amount of testosterone the man was exposed to as a fetus within in his mother’s womb, earlier research has shown. A longer ring finger indicates greater exposure to the male hormone.

A further 2015 joint study carried out by the Oxford University department of experimental psychology and Northumbria University found that men with longer ring fingers are more likely to be promiscuous. The research put forward the idea that humans are divided into two categories, one which prefers short-term flings and the other more interested in long-term commitment.
Men whose index finger is longer than their ring finger are a third less likely to develop prostate cancer over their lifetime than men from whom the reverse is true, according to a 15-year study of some 4,500 men.  Scientists at the University of Warwick and Institute of Cancer Research said the link was so strong that looking at men’s fingers should be part of a basic screening process for the disease.

A 2011 study measured the digit ratios of 49 men before presenting their pictures in random order to a group of women. Women then rated the faces for short term attractiveness – someone they would choose for a holiday romance – and long term attractiveness, ie a potential life partner.

Men with longer ring fingers were much more likely to be deemed attractive both as a casual fling and as a life partner.
Academics at Canada’s Concordia University suggested men with longer ring fingers were more likely to take risks and were therefore more likely to amass wealth than others.

Their study of finger lengths and personality differences in 415 men suggested these “alpha males” had “work hard, play hard” attitudes and were less likely to take no for an answer.

Several studies have suggested a link between sexual orientation and digit ratio, with men who have longer index fingers more likely to say they are attracted to other men.  The inverse has been suggested for gay women: while women typically have a ring finger and index finger of the same length, those who identify as lesbians are more likely to have shorter index fingers, which is typical for heterosexual men.

A 2011 study suggested that men with shorter index fingers in relation to their ring fingers were more likely to have a larger penis. The study was carried out on 144 men who underwent urological surgery at Gachon University Hospital in Incheon, South Korea.

To summarise – if your index finger is longer than your ring finger, there is a higher than average chance you will be grumpy, gay, poor and/or ugly, with a short penis. But, on the bright side, you will have a much lower than average chance of developing prostate cancer.


[link url=""]University of North Dakota material[/link]
[link url=""]Early Human Development abstract[/link]
[link url="…-gay-What-does-your-ring-finger-say-about-you.html"]The Daily Telegraph report[/link]

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