, Volume 38, Issue 2, pp 298-305
Date: 14 Mar 2008

Relative Finger Lengths, Sex Differences, and Psychological Traits

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Various finger length and personality and ability measures were obtained for a sample of Australian adolescent twins (306 boys and 397 girls). A new measure of relative finger length (the length of a given finger relative to the sum of all four fingers) was investigated, and shown to be superior to the traditional 2D:4D for discriminating between the sexes. It also had the advantage of permitting a more analytic approach: for example, the 2nd finger-length contributed much more than the 4th finger length to the sex difference in 2D:4D, and a smooth gradient of sex differences across the hand was evident. Sex differences on right hands were greater than those for left hands. Within-sex correlations were obtained between the various finger-length measures and a personality and an ability scale that showed relatively large sex differences (Eysenck’s Psychoticism scale and the spatial subscale from Jackson’s Multidimensional Aptitude Battery). The correlations were low, but on the whole consistent with the between-sex differences for the girls. For the boys, this was so for Psychoticism, but spatial ability was, if anything, correlated in the opposite direction.