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Lengths Of Ring Finger Linked To Male Attractiveness

April 20, 2011

Women find men whose ring fingers are longer than their index fingers more attractive, according to findings in a study published by the British Royal Society’s journal Biological Sciences.

Previous studies which were conducted under the banner of evolutionary psychology, suggests that the drivers of human behavior are found in “nature” rather than “nurture,” reports AFP.

Led by Camille Ferdenzi of the University of Geneva, the new study was designed to find out if women are drawn to the telltale signs of high testosterone levels in men who have a more “masculine” finger ratio configuration.  Some telltale signs include a symmetrical face, a deeper voice and a particular body odor.

The researchers found that the 2D:4D ratio, where the length of the fourth finger is compared to the second finger, directly relates to how attractive their face is considered.

Sex hormones have been linked to the ratio between the fingers. Previous studies also suggest that the ratios have been linked to fertility, sexuality and competitiveness, reports the Telegraph.

A longer ring finger than an index finger indicates a lower ratio, in which case it reveals that there was exposure to testosterone in the womb. 

The study asked more than 80 women university students between the ages of 18 and 34 to look at pictures of 49 men who were similar in age.

The faces of these men were rated for short term attractiveness, such as a dinner date or holiday romance; long term attractiveness, or a potential partner; masculinity; and symmetry.

Recordings of male voices and samples of body odor taken from cotton pads worn under the arm for 24 hours were listened to and smelled by a smaller group of women.

“The aim was to understand what makes a man attractive,” and whether at least some of those qualities “were in part conditioned by the fetal environment,” says Ferdenzi.

The visual experiment yielded unambiguous results.

Both long and short term attractiveness was found to be “highly correlated” to the 2D:4D ration, with the lower the ratio the higher the score, researchers say.

“The longer the ring finger compared to the index — that is, the greater the exposure to testosterone — the more attractive the face was rated,” Ferdenzi says during a phone interview.

“We also found that attractiveness and symmetry in the face are highly correlated.”

“This illustrates a female preference for men with a low 2D: 4D ratio, possibly driven by the fact that these men have more symmetrical faces,” Ferdenzi says.

“Such a preference might have evolved because it increases females’ reproductive success by gaining benefits from partners who are more physically robust.”

Other indicators of high testosterone exposure such as body odor and voice pitch were also not found to be linked to the 2D:4D ratio.

“There wasn’t any relation between the 2D-4D” — 2nd digit, 4th digit — “ratio and the reactions of the women to odor,” Ferdenzi says.

It is possible that these were developed later in life and are not affected by exposure to the hormone in the womb, the researchers say.

Research published in December showed that the chances of developing prostate cancer dropped by a third in men whose index finger is longer than their ring finger, indicating that the disease is tied to high levels of testosterone, reports the Telegraph.

The ratio findings can prove useful in predicting the risk of prostate cancer in men.

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