Chiromancy (cheiromancy), the notorious pseudoscience, has for two decades been creeping back into scientific favour. Is John T. Manning its new high priest?
The simplicity of the measure has inevitably launched a thousand research papers on hundreds of topics – including: heart attacks, breast cancer, running speed, football ability, sexual attraction, homosexuality, and schizophrenia.
|THE NEW CHIROMANCY
How to understand the new Chiromancy? Hold up your right hand, and put your palm towards you and keep your fingers together; then measure the lengths of the 2th finger (index finger) and 4th finger (ring finger) – measure each finger from the tip to the crease where it joins the palm: see the picture below. Dividing the length of the 2th finger by the length of the 4th finger gives what in the jargon is known as the 2D:4D ratio!!!
Folk mythology has long suggested that men with large hands or feet will be well endowed, but there seems to be biological truth in that adage, with biologists finding that the same gene family, the Hox genes, underpins the development of “apical appendages”.
Professor John T. Manning says:
“I believe that the pattern and nature of our decline in middle life and the disease which will eventually lead to our death, is dependent to a large extent on our experiences as a foetus.”
The handedness-expert Chris McManon (psychologist from the UK) wrote a critical review of John T. Mannings ‘digit ratio’ work. You can read the full review via:
• The finger book – about the 2D:4D digit ratio
• Hands up: what your fingers reveal about you
• Digit ratio: a pointer to fertility, behavior and health
• More digit ratio and finger length news
March 13, 2009
John Manning is a professor at the University of Swansea and he wrote the book “The Finger Book”. Professor John Manning explains in his book how the ratio of the index finger and ring finger (= the ‘2D:4D digit ratio’ finger length) is related to the ‘Big five’ of life.
|FINGERS & EVOLUTION
The human thumb is known as a ‘marker’ for the evolution of human kind; however our relative long index finger – compared to the ring finger – is a likewise example. In the chimpanzee and gorilla, this hand feature is different: they always have longer ring fingers and a short index finger.
THE RING FINGER & SPORTS
Exceptional performances in sports are being linked to the amount of male hormones that people absorb before birth while they stay in the womb. The ‘digit ratio’ has frequently been used to predict performances in various sports leagues.
THE INDEX FINGER & SOCIAL BEHAVIOR
Interestingly, especially among children a short index finger may indicate a lack of empathic ability.
There is growing statistical evidence that our finger ratios are a reliable predictor of our receptiveness to diseases. However, in real life the findings have not yet shown to have a significant impact.
YOUR FINGERS & YOUR SEX-LIFE
Men with long ring fingers, consider themselves as attractive. Studies show that women in the general rule agree and confirm the judgements of these men. Surprisingly, a likewise result has been found in women.
READ FURTHER ABOUT MANNING’S FINDINGS:
November 12, 2008
Take a look at some of the international vocabulary + synonyms for the word ‘DIGIT RATIO‘:
October 5, 2008
Anthropologist Helen Fisher explains what online dating sites can learn from the biology of love and what the length of your ring finger says about your sex life.
|Last year you may have seen ads for Chemistry.com, the ones about people who have been rejected by online matchmaking sites like eHarmony for being gay, depressed, or generally unmarriageable for murkier reasons. In one ad, a young man stares hopefully at heterosexual p o r n, only to conclude, “Nope, still gay.” At Chemistry, spokespeople like to crow, you can “come as you are” (as long as you come as someone who is over 18).
The company is an offshoot of Internet meet-market Match.com, which has been around since 1994. In 2004, Match approached anthropologist Helen Fisher about designing a site where, like at the successful but restricted eHarmony, members would not shop blindly for dates, but would be matched with each other based on personality profiles and compatibility.
Fisher, whose work on s e x, love and the brain had made her an authority on human mating, developed a theory that human beings fall into four categories – negotiators, directors, explorers and builders – and that your type helps determine who you fall for.
Passage in the interview:
RT: What is this thing about your fingers? It’s on the Chemistry questionnaire.
HF: It’s called ‘digit ratio’ (finger length ratio). In the womb – during pregnancy – the brain is washed over by estrogen and testosterone. If you have a lot more testosterone than estrogen in the womb, it is going to build a longer fourth finger than pointer finger. If you’ve got a lot more estrogen in the womb, the pointer finger will be longer.
RT: What does it say about your personality?
HF: If you have more testosterone in the womb and you have a longer fourth finger, you’re more likely to have musical ability, mathematical abilities, to be an engineer or architect or good at computer programming. You tend to have poorer social skills but be direct, decisive, ambitious, competitive.
The length of a young boy’s finger may provide a clue as to whether he will be at risk of a heart attack in early adulthood. This is because these boys tend to have lower levels of the male sex hormone testosterone, which is known to protect against heart attack.
|Scientists at Liverpool University have established a link between the length of baby boys’ fingers and their chances of going on to have a heart attack at an unusually young age. They believe the link could provide doctors with a simple way to to spot potential heart disease victims at a very early age. The research shows that boys with shorter ring fingers tend to be at greatest risk.
Lead researcher Dr John Manning told the BBC:
“Males tend to have a relatively longer ring finger compared to the index finger than females.”
“There is a relationship between the ratio between these two finger lengths and the age at heart attack of people who do have heart attacks.”
Dr Manning and Dr Peter Bundred examined 151 male heart attack victims in Merseyside. They found the age range for heart attacks in men where the index finger was relatively long was 35 to 80 years of age, but in those with relatively long ring fingers it was 58 to 80.
The research was published in the British Journal of Cardiology.
An overview of the scientific sources which have found a link between finger length (high ‘digit ratio’: >1.0) and heart problems:
According to recent news reports, the sight of lingerie or a sexy woman significantly impairs male decision making. But actually, the research under discussion … indicates the opposite!
The study involved a well-researched financial task known as ‘the ultimatum game’, where one participant is given a sum of money (10 euros in this study) and has to decide how to split it with another. If the other participant accepts the split, both get to keep the money. If they don’t, no one gets anything!
Researchers Bram van den Bergh and Seigfried Dewitte asked heterosexual male participants to play the game in pairs. Before they started the game, they were variously shown pictures of a sexy woman in bikini, landscapes, older women, younger women, or lingerie to handle.
The best write-up of the study’s details is from Nature, who do point out that the results actually CONTRADICT the idea that sexy images makes men less rational!
In the study, they actually made men more rational. The fact that men who saw sexy images were more likely to accept lower offers rather than reject them and get nothing at all, suggest that their short-term rationality was actually … enhanced!
October 1, 2008
The world’s most famous ‘digit ratio’ research, John T. Manning, has begun examining autism too. He teamed up with Simon Baron- Cohen and Svetlana Lutchmaya from the University of Cambridge, who have used samples of amniotic fluid to directly measure the levels of hormones that babies are exposed to in the womb.
|When the children reached their first birthday, the researchers measured their vocabularies and ability to make eye contact. Poor language skills and an unwillingness to make eye contact are early hallmarks of autism. They found that babies who’d been exposed to high levels of testosterone in the womb fared the worst.
“What we’re hoping to look at is whether finger ratios can be used as a proxy for hormones,” says Lutchmaya. Amniocentesis (sampling the amniotic fluic surrounding the unborn baby) is a risky procedure that only a few mothers choose to undergo, she says. But by measuring finger lengths instead, researchers can assess a random sample of children for possible early signs of impaired language and social skill development. Currently, they are checking the fingers of children for whom they have amniotic samples.
Meanwhile, Manning and Baron-Cohen have looked at the finger ratios of 49 children with firm diagnoses of autism, 23 with a mild form of the disorder called Asperger’s syndrome, and their families. The researchers found that autistic children tended to have very low 2D:4D ratios. Interestingly, children with Asperger’s syndrome had ratios that fell between those of autistics and unaffected children. “It fits exceptionally well with the theory,” says Manning.
Clearly genes play a role too in these conditions. But could fetal hormone levels explain other cognitive differences between the sexes? Janel Tortorice at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey, thinks they may. She has measured finger ratios in 2D:4D ratio gay women and found that their hands were significantly different from those of heterosexual women-in fact, they tend to resemble those of heterosexual men.
But she has also found differences in the way these women’s brains work. “They have more masculine fingers and more masculine cognition,” she says. On tests of spatial and verbal ability, lesbian volunteers perform more like men than heterosexual women, she says. If this can be confirmed by further studies, perhaps Manning’s most recent suggestion is not as outrageous as it sounds. He claims that musical talent, too, is nurtured in the womb.
An overview of the scientific sources which have found a link between finger length (low ‘digit ratio’: 0.94) and autism:
* The 2th to 4th ratio and autism – 2001 (PDF)
* [Evaluation of the 2nd to 4th digit ratio in the patients with autism] – 2005 (Japanese study)
September 29, 2008
The Finger Book – author: Prof. John T. Manning, psychologist, University of Liverpool
Publisher (Fabe and Faber, 2008) comment:
“This book employs finger ratio to examine a group of questions about human behaviour, from sexuality, to musical ability, to predisposition to disease.”
|The publisher writes about John Manning’s book The Finger Book:
“This book is about a simple measurement of the human hand: the ‘finger ratio’.
What could fingers & sex possibly have in common? What does the shape of a child’s fingers reveal about future music talent? Why should professional footballers have longer ring fingers than other men?
This book is about a simple measurment of the human hand. You may not have noticed that men tend to have longer ring fingers relative to their index fingers, and it turns out this tiny sex difference is highly revealing.
John Manning, ‘a pioneer in this field’ (New Scientist) uses it to examine a dizzying group of questions about human behaviour, from sexuality, to music ability, to predisposition to disease. Controversial, but untainglingly clear and balanced, John Manning presents his cutting-edge research for the reader to consider.
The finger length ratio (2D:4D) appears to tell us what happens to babies in the whomb, indicating the amount of testosterone and oestrogen to which each foetus is exposed. This early evens has, it seems, profound consequences in each of us. Provocative, arresting and direct, The Finger Book makes accessible a whole new area of evolutionary science, and poses many fruitful questions about what makes us as we are.”
September 29, 2008
‘Digit ratio’ in non-human primates:
The major focuss in Emma Nelson’s ”digit ratio’ research in primates is:
|“Using digit ratios (2D:4D) to investigate social systems in anthropoids; implications for the study of the evolution of hominin sociality.”.
Variation in non-human primate 2D:4D is currently unknown. One of the aims of this project is to map differences in mean 2D:4D within and between non-human primates species.
September 28, 2008
A short history of major the developments in the concept of ‘digit ratio’:
More than a hundred years ago, a very entertaining paper concerning various customs and superstitions associated with the hand – titled: ‘Anthropological Notes on the Human Hand‘ (1888) – was presented to the Antropological Society of Washington by Frank Baker, Professor of Anatomy at the University of Georgetown. Following some fascinating tales, and a debunking of palmistry, he concluded by discussing the comparative lengths of the digits, and noted that the second (index) finger is usually shorter than the fourth (ring) finger.
Some years later R. George described in a paper – titled: Human Finger types (1930) – a sex difference in the distribution of finger length ratios in that males are more likely to show the 2 < 4 pattern (i.e. a longer ring finger relative to the index finger), while females are more likely to show the opposite pattern (2 > 4).
Two decades later the sex difference findings reported by George (1930) were confirmed in the work of V.R. Phelps – titled: Relative index finger length as a sex-influenced trait in man (1952) – noting that such differences were observed in foetuses, and then appeared to be stable throughout life.
* In 1983 Psychologist Glenn Wilson introduced the word ‘digit ratio’:
Dr Glenn Wilson of King’s College, London published a study – titled: ‘Finger length as an index of assertiveness in women‘ – which introduced the 2D/4D ‘digit ratio’ as a marker of exposure to prenatal testosterone + examining the correlation between assertiveness in women and their digit ratio. This was the first study to examine the correlation between digit ratio and a psychological trait within members of the same sex.
* In 1998 Psychologist John T. Manning presented a link between ‘digit ratio’ and testosterone + sperm counts:
This link was described by Manning in a study – titled: ‘The ratio of 2nd to 4th digit length: a predictor of sperm numbers and concentrations of testosterone‘.
* In 2002 Psychologist John T. Manning presented the book ‘Digit ratio’:
Psychologist John T. Manning presented his first book about the 2D:4D ratio – titled: ‘Digit ratio: A Pointer to Fertility, Behavior and Health‘.
In this book Manning presents a first overview of the digit ratio research which has been presented uptill the year 2002.
* In 2008 Psychologist John T. Manning presented the book ‘The finger book’:
Psychologist John T. Manning presented his first book about the 2D:4D ratio – titled: ‘The finger book‘.
Quote from New Scientist:
“According to evolutionary psychologist John Manning, who has spent years researching the secrets they betray, your digits reveal all sorts of things, from your sexuality to whether you are socially disadvantaged or likely to suffer a heart attack. They even, as the legend goes, give away the size of a man’s penis.”