psychologist John T. Manning

The Finger Book - author: John T. Manning

Book Review:

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.”

digit ratio

A short history of major the developments in the concept of ‘digit ratio’:

  • In 1888 antropologist and biologist Dr. Frank Baker noticed that the index finger is usually short than the ring finger:
  • 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.

  • In 1930 antropologist Ruggles George noticed a sex difference in the index finger and the 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).

  • In 1952 antropologist V.R. Phelps discovered that finger length is stable throughout life:
  • 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.

    Psychologist Glenn Wilson

    Psychologist Glenn Wilson

    * 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.

    Psychologist John T. Manning

    Psychologist John T. Manning

    * 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‘.

    'Digit ratio' - the book

    Digit Ratio - the book

    * 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.

    The finger book

    The finger book

    * 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.”