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Can the Length of Your Fingers Define Your Personality?

7 minute read

They say that the eyes are the window to a person’s soul, but what if you want to know about their personality. A recent study has found a link between fingers and a man’s personality, specifically their behavior towards women.  

This certainly puts things in a distinct perspective. The next date you go on or the next time you meet a new person, there is no need to look into their eyes or check out what they are wearing; simply shake their hand and then hold your gaze at their fingers.

According to the study out of Montreal’s McGill University, men with shorter index fingers and long ring fingers are on average nicer to women. This behavior is thought to stem from the hormones that men are exposed to while in their mother’s womb.

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It is thought that genetics plays a role in the difference in levels of sex hormone exposure in the womb.

Baby sleeping with a teddy bear

The Digit Ratio

Men’s index fingers are typically shorter than their ring fingers. While this is also true for women, the difference is much less pronounced.   

Research has found that digit ratio is an indication of the amount of male hormones, specifically testosterone, that a fetus is exposed to. The digit ratio is defined as the second digit length (index finger) divided by the fourth digit length (ring finger).

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The smaller the ratio, the more male hormones that individual was exposed to during fetal development.

Variations of any level in hormones before birth can influence adult behavior. The digit ratio and subsequent hormone exposure impacts how men may behave towards women when they become adults.  

A man's hands with crossed fingers

A man’s fingers can tell you more than what their daily job and tasks consist of. There is more to look at now than just dirty fingernails, calluses, or a wedding ring band.  

The digit ratio can actually be something of an indicator in how an adult male’s complementary style and their inclinations toward children.

Compliments of His Fingers

While other studies have been done to determine how finger length is related to adult behavior, this is the first to highlight how finger length affects behavior. Specifically, how the behavior is different depending on the sex of the person they are dealing with.

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When around women, men with smaller digit ratios are more likely to be attentive listeners and more compromising. They may also smile and laugh more and deliver more compliments to the female.  

This behavior is not just limited to romantic encounters with women. The same behavior has been documented when these men are in the company of female friends and work colleagues.

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Men with smaller digit ratios were also found to be less argumentative with women than with men, whereas men with larger digit ratios were equally argumentative with both sexes. When it comes to women though, finger length and digit ratios do not seem to predict behavior with interactions of any kind.

An couple on their daily walk

Fatherhood at Your Fingertips

The study consisted of individuals completing forms relating to every interaction they had that lasted longer than five minutes. With each behavior, they checked off the behaviors they engaged in.  

Each of the behaviors was classified as either argumentative/aggressive or agreeable. Men with smaller digit ratios reported close to a third more agreeable behaviors and approximately a third fewer aggressive behaviors than those men with larger digit ratios.

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The study also discovered that the smaller digit ratios correlated with having more children. It makes sense that, since these men have and maintain more agreeable relationships with women, they are more likely to develop longer-term, harmonious relationships with women.  

Given this, having a family and more children seems a logical consequence. Having a gentler, more agreeable approach to women could also explain a gentler approach to children and a stronger likelihood of having a large family.

The right hands of a family of four on top of each other

Hormone Levels and Digit Ratio

As mentioned, genetics are thought to influence the levels of hormone exposure for a fetus. It has also been discovered that the first-born child, be it male or female, is exposed to more estrogen during fetal development.  

The timing and duration of testosterone exposure also impacts the development of a male fetus.

Outside of genetics, environment is thought to play a role. Testosterone levels are higher in the children of mothers who smoke during pregnancy and are lower in mothers who drink alcohol.  

Mothers can also over-expose their baby to estrogen if they themselves are exposed to chemicals that imitate estrogen, such as those found in cosmetics and hair products. The fetal body and brain are open to hormone sensitivity at different stages, so the duration of exposure matters and can influence your digit ratio and therefore future adult behavior.  

The Bottom Line

Obviously, there is a lot going on here between nature vs. nurture. A man’s finger ratio is by no means a sure-fire way of determining his personality. For example, cultural, personal, and financial aspects all play a huge role in how personalities are constructed.

That said, finger length is related to sex hormone exposure in the womb and may help indicate whether a man will be more agreeable or more aggressive. It’s not a certainty, but it can be a fun way to break the ice.

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