Sex hormones and finger length - What does 2D:4D indicate?

David A. Putz, Steven J.C. Gaulin, Robert J. Sporter, Donald H. McBurney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

269 Citations (SciVal)


Much recent research has focused on the ratio of the lengths of the second to fourth manual digits (2D:4D) as a predictor of the degree of expression of sexually dimorphic and other sex-hormone-mediated traits. However, published findings are often contradictory or subject to various methodological problems. In the present study, we reassessed the relationships among three measures of 2D:4D (left hand, right hand, and mean) and several variables previously claimed to be related to 2D:4D, including sexual orientation, spatial ability, status, physical prowess, and components of reproductive success. In addition, we examined the relationship between 2D:4D measures and several other traits whose expression is thought to be related to sex hormones, including voice pitch, sociosexuality, mating success, and fluctuating asymmetry. 2D:4D measures showed highly significant sex differences, as did spatial ability, sociosexuality, components of reproductive and mating success, and fluctuating asymmetry. However, out of 57 correlations, 2D:4D correlated significantly in the predicted direction only with sexual orientation (for both sexes) and only for left hand 2D:4D. We discuss the recent 2D:4D literature in light of these findings and consider their implications for understanding the timing of developmental events.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)182-199
Number of pages18
JournalEvolution and Human Behavior
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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