Take a look at your index and ring fingers — some researchers at University of Bath in the UK think the difference in lengths between the two could be an indicator of what your star subjects were in school.
A recent study showed a correlation between boys with a large difference in length and those who excelled at math; there was also a correlation between girls with a small difference in length and those who excelled at verbal skills. However, the results didn’t predict which girls would excel at math or which boys would excel at verbal skills.
Test this out for yourself: grab a ruler and measure the index finger (2D) and ring finger (4D) of one hand. Divide 2D/4D and write down your result. Now do the same for the other hand and take the average number. It’s a little tough to make sure you’re using the same start and end points, but most people are able to correctly measure their own ratios to within a few decimal points.
Mine came out to .995, which is just about average for women who tend to have higher ratios. Men tend to have lower ratios, say around .98. Scientists believe the reason is due to the different levels of testosterone we each receive while in the womb, with more testosterone leading to a greater difference (and therefore a lower ratio) between fingers. Other studies have found evidence of a correlation between finger length and people with dyslexia, who tend to show very high ratios greater than 1.
The same researcher who led this recent study — Mark Brosnan — led a previous examination of finger length ratios just among faculty at University of Bath. In that study, he found significant differences when comparing the scientists to the managers and engineers. Here’s the rub: those differences actually show that the scientists tended to have ratios right around .996, the usual average for women, despite the fact that only 22% of subjects were female. The managers and engineers averaged just .977 and .984, respectively.
On top of all that, this study showed no significant difference in ratios between men and women (who averaged .984 overall), suggesting that perhaps the women who succeed in academia get more testosterone in the womb then those in the general population.
These studies are far from conclusive, but they do offer a bit of compelling evidence in the search to figure out how much of our skills and personality are determined way before we know it.
No examination of this subject would be complete without mentioning what the pseudoscientists think. According to findyourfate.com, which offers comprehensive advice on reading your own palm, the relationship between finger lengths is very important and tells us a lot about ourselves. Each finger indicates the strength of traits which are related to it — for instance, the index finger represents confidence, ego, drive, and ambition while the ring finger is in charge of emotion and creativity. Because the average male’s ring finger is slightly longer than his index finger, logically it follows that the average man is more emotional and less driven than the average woman. Because that makes sense.
(Parenthetical aside: findyourfate.com also mentions that a “prominent middle finger” shows a serious and intense nature. Consider this the next time you make your middle finger prominent in the midst of a serious or intense situation.)
For fun, figure out your ratio and post it here, along with your gender and whether or not you think your personality matches your number. Who’s closer: the scientists or the pseudoscientists?