Finger length, more specifically the length of the index finger compared to the ring finger may be an indication of a person’s likelihood of being a faithful partner or promiscuity. A recent study says that if the ring finger is longer than the index finger there is a higher possibility of straying. This indicator applies to both men and women.
The study, by the laboratory at Oxford University which is run by Professor Robin Dunbar and Professor John Manning at Northumbria University, was published in the journal, Biology Letters. In it, the authors identify two groups, one group monogamous and the other not monogamous, and humans fall into one or the other of these two groups. Humans are the only species that widely uses both strategies in relationships.
All other species fall into one category or the other, for the most part, depending the need of the species. For example, it may be beneficial for survival to have many offspring in a herd born in the same season. On the other hand, the benefits for a species could be greater to protect and participate in raising the offspring with the mate by staying close to home.
Humans are almost equally divided between the groups of promiscuity and faithfulness. In fact, results from this study suggest that the two groups – promiscuous and faithful – have almost equal number of men and women.
The study used two different methods of gathering information. An online questionnaire was used to gather data from 575 participants who lived in North America and the U.K. The focus was on attitudes about intimacy in noncommittal relationships.
Additionally, using photocopies they measured the index and ring fingers on the right hand of 1314 men and women in Britain, gathering data for what is known as the 2D:4D ratio, the index finger being 2D and the ring finger is 4D. If the ring finger is longer than the index finger the person had higher levels of testosterone while in the womb and a higher probability of promiscuity. Specific results from the 2D:4D portion of the study indicate that 62 percent of men and 50 percent of women fell into the promiscuous group.
Combining the data from the online portion of the study and the 2D:4D portion netted the following results: 57 percent of the male participants were inclined to be promiscuous and 43 percent held the probability of being faithful partners. Results for the women from combining the results revealed that 53 percent of the women were in the faithful category and 47 percent could be promiscuous.
Determining the possibility of promiscuity or faithfulness requires more information than basing the judgment solely by looking at someone’s hand and calculating the size difference between two of the fingers. Collecting more of this same information from other cultures could prove or disprove these results. Testing in other cultures could highlight mating differences and similarities as well.
While this study has interesting indications, there are many factors in determining promiscuity or faithfulness in a relationship other than the length of the ring finger compared to the index finger. That said, after reading about this study many people will be checking the hands of potential partners, no doubt.
By Ailey Hines
Photo by jakub Flickr Page – License