Success isn't written in the stars, it's in the length of your fingers

Take a look at your hands – you will learn a lot about yourself, Cambridge University scientists say

It is the simplest hands-on experiment – and, for once, it is safe to try this at home. Compare the length of your fingers and predict your own future.

Everything from sporting prowess to academic ability, sexual orientation to susceptibility to disease can be assessed on the twin measurements of the length of the ring and index fingers. It is science's answer to palmistry.

Researchers at Cambridge University have found that finger length can point to success in the City. Traders with longer ring fingers made the most money – up to six times more than those whose ring fingers were relatively short.

The study, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found finger size accounted for 20 per cent of the difference. Though the finding provoked scepticism – one blogger tartly responded, "Scientists with little else to do than measure fingers should pull their own out" – the Cambridge boffins are not alone. The significance of finger length has been investigated by research groups worldwide – with surprising results.

The ratio between index and ring finger is believed to be linked to exposure to the male hormone testosterone in the womb. On average, men tend to have longer ring fingers and women longer index fingers. The higher the testosterone, the greater the length of the ring finger and the more "masculine" the resulting child – whether male or female. The longest ring finger is known as the "Casanova pattern".

Professor John Manning, author of The Finger Book, said the ratio was a "living fossil" of the early period of pregnancy – a measure of past exposure to testosterone, and future potential.

Ring finger longer than index finger

More often found in men than women, people with longer ring fingers tend to excel on the sports field, especially in running and football.

Scientists at the University of Bath found that children who had longer ring fingers are better with numbers-based subjects such as maths and physics, which are traditionally male favourites. A study this week showed autism may be linked with exposure to testosterone in the womb. Autism is sometimes described as the "extreme male brain" and is four times more common in boys than girls. Finger length might provide an early warning of the condition. Canadian researchers from the University of Alberta have found a correlation between length of the ring finger and levels of physical aggression – as would be expected in the most masculinised individuals.

Index finger longer than ring finger

The traditional pattern in women, long index fingers can predict a child's academic strengths. Scientists at the University of Bath found that longer index fingers indicated good verbal and literacy skills, where girls dominate. The findings were published in the British Journal of Psychology in 2007. Studies of sexual orientation have shown that lesbian women are more likely to have longer ring fingers, suggesting exposure to higher levels of foetal testosterone. Professor John Manning said research he had conducted suggested that gay men were more likely to display feminised finger ratios, suggesting less testosterone exposure in the womb.

However, sceptics have observed that twin studies show that 70 per cent of the difference in finger length is inherited from our parents.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SThree: Recruitment Resourcer

£20000 - £25000 per annum + Uncapped Commission: SThree: Do you want to get in...

Ashdown Group: Project Manager - Birmingham - up to £40,000 - 12 month FTC

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Project Manager - Birmingham - ...

SThree: Recruitment Consultant - IT

£25000 - £30000 per annum + Uncapped Commission: SThree: Sthree are looking fo...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Dublin (based in London)

£20000 - £25000 per annum + commission: SThree: Real Staffing's Pharmaceutical...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before