HOLD out your hands – you’ve probably never realised clues to your personality and health could be right at your very fingertips…
Testosterone plays a pretty crucial role in a baby’s development and it also determines how long your index and ring fingers will be as an adult.
But what does all that mean for the kind of person you become?
Tanith Carey reveals how finger length could determine whether…
1. YOU’RE MORE LIKELY TO CHEAT
Next time you’re on a date, don’t look into the other person’s eyes – check out their hands instead.
The shorter their index finger in relation to their ring finger, the more likely they are to have been exposed to higher levels of testosterone in the womb, and may be more prone to cheat.
Psychologists from Oxford University and Northumbria University studied 600 men and women in Britain and the US, looking at the link between hand shape and promiscuity.
The study for the journal Biology Letters found people tended to divide into two groups – those who are more inclined to stay in relationships and others who want to try lots of partners.
While the scientists couldn’t use it to predict everyone’s fidelity, they found that men and women were generally more likely to cheat if they have slightly longer index fingers (like Tiger Woods appears to have), even though the difference was mere millimetres.
You’d have to look quite hard to notice, says Oxford University Professor Robin Dunbar, who says the differences are “subtle” and “only visible when we look at large groups of people”.
“Human behaviour is influenced by many factors, such as the environment and life experience, and what happens in the womb might only have a modest effect on something as complex as sexual relationships,” he said.
2. YOU HAVE A BIGGER MANHOOD
Women have long been led to believe that checking out a man’s shoe size was the best guide to the length of his manhood.
But it turns out we’ve been looking in the wrong place all along.
According to a study in the Asian Journal of Andrology, men whose ring fingers are longer, in comparison to their index fingers, tend to have bigger penises.
To investigate this link, South Korean doctors measured the index – or pointer finger – on the right hand of 144 male volunteers aged 20 and over.
They also measured the length of each man’s ring – or fourth – finger.
Then measured their penises while they were both flaccid and stretched – which shows how long they would be when erect.
They found the men who had a small gap between the length of their ring and index digits, like Simon Cowell or Justin Bieber, tended to have bigger penises.
Those with bigger differences, like Donald Trump, tended to be less well-endowed.
And that’s not all. In 2014, another study by South Korean researchers found that men with a longer ring finger on their right hand, compared to their right index finger, also had bigger testicles.
3. WHAT KIND OF WOMAN A MAN ATTRACTS
If you’re a man hoping to seduce a woman with a gorgeous body when you next go out, your chances may have already been decided in the womb.
Men with long ring fingers, like Brad Pitt, are four times more likely to end up with a partner with a combination of a slim waist and prominent chest
Researchers from Poland’s Jagiellonian University Medical College looked at the hands of 50 young men in long-term relationships and measured the vital statistics of their partners.
They found men with ring fingers longer than their index fingers tended to have partners with classic hourglass figures.
This is possibly because high testosterone levels have also been found to make male faces more symmetrical and attractive to the opposite sex, giving them more chance of attracting a partner with proportions that typically have indicated fertility.
According to the study in the journal Personality and Individual Differences: “Our results suggest men’s pre-natal environment has an impact on the likelihood of being in a relationship with a more attractive and presumably more fertile woman.”
4. HOW FAST YOU CAN RUN
You may go running every day to train for that 5K, but it’s the length of your fingers that may help decide how long it takes you.
Researchers found young male athletes with long ring fingers compared to their index fingers also had more lung power.
One theory is that higher exposure to testosterone in the womb may boost the development of a baby’s lungs for life, improving how well their bodies use oxygen.
In the best runners, they found their ring fingers could measure as much as a centimetre longer than their index fingers.
A similar effect has been seen in women too.
A separate study of female x-rays in the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that more sportier women also had ring fingers longer than their index fingers.
Let your fingers do the talking
Straighten out your hands, holding your fingers together.
Look for the creases at the base of your index and ring fingers.
If there’s more than one crease, measure it from the lowest and mark it with a pen.
Next, measure your finger in millimetres from the mark to the tip.
Divide the index finger length by the ring finger length.
A short ratio is about 0.976 while a long digit ratio is around 0.99.
In most women, the ring and index finger tend to be more similar in length.
However, in men it varies more.
5. HOW MUCH A MAN EARNS
If you want a clue as to whether a man is destined to be a high earner, check out his mitts.
For a study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers measured the right hands of 44 male stock market traders, some who earned up to £4 million in the city.
Over 20 months, they found the traders with longer ring fingers made 11 times more than those with shorter ring fingers.
Researchers believe that due to a higher exposure to testosterone, they were more confident, happier taking risks and had quicker reaction times.
6. YOU PREFER JUNK FOOD
When you look on a menu, are you the type to opt for a burger and fries, rather than a salad?
While you may think you’re being led by your stomach, your choice may actually be down to your finger length.
Researchers at Scandinavia’s University of Agder, looked at the food choices of 216 men and women for study in the journal Food Quality and Preference.
They found those with only a small difference in size between their ring and index fingers, like pizza-loving Hunger Games star Jennifer Lawrence, were more likely to reach for stodgy and meaty foods when their tummies were rumbling.
Scientists believe the group with longer ring fingers may have been influenced by ads promoting ‘masculine’ food products on television, which may particularly appeal to both men and women with higher testosterone levels.
YOUR CHILD IS BETTER AT MATHS OR ENGLISH
For an early clue as to whether your child will be good at maths, check their fingers.
The hormones in the womb which help make a child good at maths can also make a child’s ring finger longer than their index finger, according to University of Bath researchers.
According to study author Dr Mark Brosnan, a child’s digit ratio is pretty much set by the time they reach Year 2.
In a study published in the British Journal of Psychology, researchers compared photocopies of the hands of 75 six and seven-year-olds and measured the length of their index and ring fingers on both hands.
They then compared their results in Maths and English tests and found the kids with longer ring fingers – who’d had more exposure to testosterone in the womb – were better at Maths than English.
Kids who had shorter ring fingers, in comparison to their index fingers – were better at language than maths.
Testosterone is thought to encourage the development of spatial and math skills, while slowing development in the brain’s left hemisphere, the part of the brain that deals with language.
Brosnan said: “Finger length is by no means a measure of intelligence or ability,” but added that a child’s finger length might show if a child has “a leaning” towards maths.
HOW LIKELY A MAN IS TO DIE OF COVID
Men with longer ring fingers have a lower risk of dying from Covid – and are more likely to get milder symptoms if they do catch it.
The difference may only be a matter of millimetres, but according to research by Swansea University, men with longer finger lengths are likely to have been exposed to more testosterone in the womb, which helps protect organs from the virus.
So if his index finger length divided by the ring finger length is longer – 0.99 plus – rather than shorter – around 0.97 – you may have extra protection.
This is believed to help because testosterone may increase the number of ACE-2 receptors – proteins on the surface of cells – in the lungs, which seem to reduce the damage the virus can cause.
However women’s finger lengths don’t seem to affect their death rates, according to the study, published in the journal Early Human Development.