Digit Ratio (2D:4D) Predicts Self-Reported Measures of General Competitiveness, but Not Behavior in Economic Experiments.
ABSTRACT: The ratio of index finger length to ring finger length (2D:4D) is considered to be a putative biomarker of prenatal androgen exposure (PAE), with previous research suggesting that 2D:4D is associated with human behaviors, especially sex-typical behaviors. This study empirically examines the relationship between 2D:4D and individual competitiveness, a behavioral trait that is found to be sexually dimorphic. We employ two related, but distinct, measures of competitiveness, namely behavioral measures obtained from economic experiments and psychometric self-reported measures. Our analyses are based on two independent data sets obtained from surveys and economic experiments with 461 visitors of a shopping mall (Study I) and 617 university students (Study II). The correlation between behavior in the economic experiment and digit ratios of both hands is not statistically significant in either study. In contrast, we find a negative and statistically significant relationship between psychometric self-reported measures of competitiveness and right hand digit ratios (R2D:4D) in both studies. This relationship is especially strong for younger people. Hence, this study provides some robust empirical evidence for a negative association between R2D:4D and self-reported competitiveness. We discuss potential reasons why digit ratio may relate differently to behaviors in specific economics experiments and to self-reported general competitiveness.
Project description:We replicate the Stanford marshmallow experiment with a sample of 141 preschoolers and find a correlation between lack of self-control and 2D:4D digit ratio. Children with low 2D:4D digit ratio are less likely to delay gratification. Low 2D:4D digit ratio may indicate high fetal testosterone. If this hypothesis is true, our finding means high fetal testosterone children are less likely to delay gratification.
Project description:BACKGROUND:The reported national case fatality rates (CFRs) for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) shows a sex bias with males > females. The relative lengths of the index (2D) and ring (4D) fingers (digit ratio; 2D:4D) is a sexually dimorphic (males < females) proxy of fetal sex steroids (low 2D:4D indicates high prenatal testosterone/low prenatal estrogen). AIM:To examine sex-specific relationships of 2D:4D per nation with national values of COVID-19 CFRs. STUDY DESIGN:COVID-19 CFRs and the percent of male deaths were related to mean national (self-reported) 2D:4D by sex and hand from a large online survey (the BBC Internet Study). SUBJECTS:103,482 men and 83,366 women. OUTCOME MEASURES:Relationships of mean national 2D:4D with CFRs from 41 countries and with national male death rates from 16 countries. RESULTS:Male right and left hand 2D:4D showed positive relationships with CFR. These relationships remained significant after removing the influence of female 2D:4D. A positive association of male right and left 2D:4D was detected with the percentage of male deaths. CONCLUSIONS:At the national level, high mean 2D:4D (indicating low prenatal testosterone/high prenatal estrogen) is associated with high CFRs and percent male mortality. At the individual level, high 2D:4D may be a risk factor for severity of COVID-19 in males. We speculate that male 2D:4D is a negative correlate for expression of the SARS-CoV2 receptor (ACE2).
Project description:We study how the ratio between the length of the second and fourth digit (2D:4D) correlates with choices in social and risk preferences elicitation tasks by building a large dataset from five experimental projects with more than 800 subjects. Our results confirm the recent literature that downplays the link between 2D:4D and many domains of economic interest, such as social and risk preferences. As for the former, we find that social preferences are significantly lower when 2D:4D is above the median value only for subjects with low cognitive ability. As for the latter, we find that a high 2D:4D is not correlated with the frequency of subjects' risky choices.
Project description:It has been suggested that the second (2D, index finger) to fourth (4D, ring finger) digit ratio, 2D : 4D, may be a biomarker for the risk of developing autism. The aim of the current study was to determine the usefulness of the 2D : 4D digit ratio as biomarker for autistic traits. N = 401 healthy young volunteers participated in the study. For both hands, digit lengths were measured using digital Vernier calipers. In addition to demographics, the Autism Spectrum Quotient (AQ) questionnaire was completed, comprised of five subscales, assessing "social insights and behavior," "attention switching," "communication," "imagination," and "attention to detail." Overall, no significant correlations were observed between the AQ total score, its subscales, and the 2D : 4D digit ratio. For women, the left hand 2D : 4D digit ratio correlated significantly with the subscale score "communication" (r = -0.142; p = 0.036). For men, a significant positive correlation was found between the left 2D : 4D digit ratio and the total AQ score (r = 0.157; p = 0.042) and AQ subscale "attention switching" (r = 0.182; p = 0.017). In conclusion, gender specific associations between the 2D : 4D digit ratio and specific autism traits were observed, which were stronger in men than in women. Future studies should be conducted in patients that are formally diagnosed with autism.
Project description:Developmental associations often explain phenotypic integration. The intersected hormonal regulation of ontogenetic processes fosters predictions of steroid-mediated phenotypic integration among sexually dimorphic traits, a statement defied by associations between classical dimorphism predictors (e.g. body size) and traits that apparently lack sex-specific functions (e.g. ratios between the lengths of Digits II and IV - 2D:4D). Developmental bases of female-biased 2D:4D have been identified, but these remain unclear for taxa presenting male-biased 2D:4D (e.g. anura). Here we propose two alternative hypotheses to investigate evolution of male-biased 2D:4D associated with sexually dimorphic body size using Leptodactylus frogs: I)'hypothesis of sex-specific digit responses' - Digit IV would be reactive to testosterone but exhibit responses in the opposite direction of those observed in female-biased 2D:4D lineages, so that Digit IV turns shorter in males; II) 'hypothesis of identity of the dimorphic digit'- Digit II would be the dimorphic digit.We compiled the following databases using Leptodactylus frogs: 1) adults of two species from natural populations and 2) testosterone-treated L. fuscus at post-metamorphic stage. Studied traits seem monomorphic in L. fuscus; L. podicipinus exhibits male-biased 2D:4D. When present, 2D:4D dimorphism was male-biased and associated with dimorphic body size; sex differences resided on Digit II instead of IV, corroborating our 'hypothesis of identity of the dimorphic digit'. Developmental steroid roles were validated: testosterone-treated L. fuscus frogs were smaller and exhibited masculinized 2D:4D, and Digit II was the digit that responded to testosterone.We propose a model where evolution of sexual dimorphism in 2D:4D first originates from the advent, in a given digit, of increased tissue sensitivity to steroids. Phenotypic integration with other sexually dimorphic traits would then occur through multi-trait hormonal effects during development. Such process of phenotypic integration seems fitness-independent in its origin and might explain several cases of steroid-mediated integration among sexually dimorphic traits.
Project description:Males and females generally have different finger proportions. In males, digit 2 is shorter than digit 4, but in females digit 2 is the same length or longer than digit 4. The second- to fourth-digit (2D:4D) ratio correlates with numerous sexually dimorphic behavioral and physiological conditions. Although correlational studies suggest that digit ratios reflect prenatal exposure to androgen, the developmental mechanism underlying sexually dimorphic digit development remains unknown. Here we report that the 2D:4D ratio in mice is controlled by the balance of androgen to estrogen signaling during a narrow window of digit development. Androgen receptor (AR) and estrogen receptor ? (ER-?) activity is higher in digit 4 than in digit 2. Inactivation of AR decreases growth of digit 4, which causes a higher 2D:4D ratio, whereas inactivation of ER-? increases growth of digit 4, which leads to a lower 2D:4D ratio. We also show that addition of androgen has the same effect as inactivation of ER and that addition of estrogen mimics the reduction of AR. Androgen and estrogen differentially regulate the network of genes that controls chondrocyte proliferation, leading to differential growth of digit 4 in males and females. These studies identify previously undescribed molecular dimorphisms between male and female limb buds and provide experimental evidence that the digit ratio is a lifelong signature of prenatal hormonal exposure. Our results also suggest that the 2D:4D ratio can serve as an indicator of disrupted endocrine signaling during early development, which may aid in the identification of fetal origins of adult diseases.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) during sensitive developmental windows, such as in utero, may influence disease later in life but direct measurement of fetal hormones is not feasible. The ratio of the length of the second finger digit to the fourth digit (2D:4D), a sexually dimorphic trait, is a biomarker of androgen levels and the androgen/estrogen balance in utero. However, it is unclear whether in utero EDC exposure might alter 2D:4D ratio. AIMS:We examined 2D:4D ratio in Seveso children in relation to in utero exposure to a potent EDC, 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD) using linear regression. STUDY DESIGN:The Seveso Women's Health Study (SWHS) is a historical cohort study, following the health of women exposed to TCDD during a 1976 explosion in Seveso, Italy. Individual-level TCDD was measured for SWHS in serum collected soon after the accident. In 2014, the SWHS children born after the explosion were enrolled in the Seveso Second Generation Study. SUBJECTS:594 SWHS children born post-explosion to 397 mothers. OUTCOME MEASURES:Right hand 2D:4D ratio. RESULTS:On average, 2D:4D ratio for males was significantly lower than for females (p?<?0.05). Overall, in utero TCDD exposure, either as maternal initial serum TCDD concentration or as TCDD extrapolated to pregnancy was not significantly associated with 2D:4D ratio in Seveso children. Results from all adjusted sensitivity analyses remained non-significant. CONCLUSIONS:Our results suggest in utero exposure to TCDD is not associated with alteration in 2D:4D ratio.
Project description:The digit ratio (2D:4D) is said to be a potential marker of exposure to prenatal sex steroids. Some studies suggest that the 2D:4D is also linked with the testosterone response to challenging situations due to organizational effect of prenatal hormonal milieu on adult endocrine functioning. However, up to date, there were only four studies (conducted on small samples) that examined the 2D:4D and the testosterone response to a challenging situation (i.e. physical exertion or aggressive context). Here, we examined the relationship between the 2D:4D and the testosterone change under an acute exercise among 97 men. We found that the digit ratios (the right 2D:4D, the left 2D:4D, and the right minus left 2D:4D) were neither predictors of pre-exercise testosterone, nor the change in testosterone level after a cycling task. Our results add a contradictory to previous studies evidence in a discussion on the links of the 2D:4D and the testosterone change.
Project description:The early environment in which an organism grows can have long-lasting impacts on both its phenotype and fitness. However, assessing this environment comprehensively is a formidable task. The relative length of the second to the fourth digit (2D : 4D) is a broadly studied skeletal trait that is fixed for life during ontogeny. 2D : 4D has been shown to indicate various early effects including the perinatal steroid milieu in both humans and non-human animals. However, the fitness relevance of the early effects indicated by 2D : 4D remains unknown. Here, we investigated hindlimb 2D : 4D and measures of lifetime performance in wild collared flycatcher ( Ficedula albicollis) females. We found that females with higher 2D : 4D had a greater number of recruiting offspring to the breeding population. This was the case despite the fact that such females did not lay more eggs or breed more frequently during their reproductive life. Our results support the suggestion that 2D : 4D, known to be a retrospective marker of perinatal development, positively associates with female quality in the collared flycatcher.
Project description:The 2D:4D digit ratio reflects prenatal testosterone relative to estradiol exposure of a developing embryo. Higher levels of prenatal testosterone have been related to lower 2D:4D ratios. In addition, higher 2D:4D ratios have been associated with female gender, neuroticism, and depression severity. Therefore, the present study investigated whether 2D:4D ratios differ between inpatients with major depression and matched healthy controls and whether 2D:4D ratios correlate with depression severity. We examined 139 inpatients diagnosed with major depression according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) criteria and 137 healthy controls regarding 2D:4D ratios of both hands and BDI-II scores. While we observed significant sex differences in the 2D:4D ratio of the right hand in the healthy control group (women on average showed a significantly higher 2D:4D ratio), no such differences were found in the group of depressed patients. The 2D:4D digit ratios did not correlate with depression severity even when examined for group and sex separately. We conclude that major depression is associated with an absence of sex differences in the 2D:4D ratio.