Longer ring finger may make men better traders
Published Monday, January 12, 2009 5:03PM EST
A man with a longer ring finger may be appealing to more than just the woman who wants to put a wedding band on it.
A new study involving 44 male financial traders suggests that those with a longer ring finger relative to the index finger are more likely to be successful in their jobs.
Previous studies have shown that the length ratio of index finger to ring finger is a measure of prenatal exposure to male sex hormones, or androgens.
Exposure to these hormones in utero can impact the brain's development and can influence confidence levels and the ability to react quickly to various stimuli.
Researcher John Coates and colleagues from the University of Cambridge believe their study indicates that exposure to prenatal androgens can improve concentration and allow traders to make decisions on short notice, making them more effective at their work.
"Our results suggest that prenatal androgens increase risk preferences and promote more rapid visuomotor scanning and physical reflexes," the authors wrote. "The success and longevity of traders exposed to high levels of prenatal androgens further suggests that financial markets may select for biological traits rather than rational expectations."
The findings are published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
According to the researchers, previous studies have shown that ring-to-index-finger ratios can predict performance in competitive sports, from soccer to rugby to downhill skiing.
However, they cautioned that because of the small size of their study - they only included 44 traders - more research needs to be done before definitive conclusions can be made on how exactly prenatal hormone exposure influences trading abilities.