Personality Typing By Giving A High-Five

[adsense float=’left’]Giving a person a high-five seems like a strange way to gander the personality traits of a person. But there is apparently some scientific backing for this if you have a calibrated eyeball and are quick enough to determine the difference in length of the other person’s fingers. Specifically, you want to look at the difference between the second and fourth digits (the pointer finger and the ring finger).

Long ring finger versus index finger

The 2D:4D ratio is obtained by dividing the length of the forefinger by the length of the ring finger.

I didn’t know this until this I stumbled upon it this past weekend, but apparently, there is a lot of university research that looks into the traits of a person based on the hand’s second-to-fourth digit ratio (called the 2D:4D ratio). This ratio is obtained by dividing the length of the forefinger by the length of the ring finger of the same hand as shown in the image to the right.

The latest study comes from Antoni Bosch-Dome`nech, Pablo Bra ̃nas-Garza, and Antonio M. Esp ́ın who are researchers from the University of Granada, the Barcelona Pompeu Fabra University and the Middlesex University of London. Their study published in the journal Psychoneuroendocrinology (http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0306453014000493) makes a connection between the amount of testosterone a fetus is exposed to in the womb, to the 2D:4D finger ratio. The higher the testosterone, the longer the 4D (ring finger) is compared to the 2D (pointer finger). Therefore the 2D:4D ratio will be less than 1.0.

“The lower the ratio, the greater the prenatal testosterone received and, therefore, the more “masculine” the cerebral disposition, regardless of the person’s gender” said one of the study’s authors: Antonio Manuel Espin, lecturer at the Dept. of Economic Theory and History (University of Granada, Spain).

Here is the big take away from a typing perspective: masculinity is strongly linked to the “Thinking” trait in the Myers-Briggs personality system. People with low 2D:4D finger ratios do better on logic tests (called a Cognitive Reflection Test) as shown in the illustration below.

Test Results of a simple logic test.

The number of correct answers on a logic test versus the 2D-4D finger length ratio. The ratio is particularly apparent in females.

It should be noted that low 2D:4D finger ratios are also associated with higher risk taking. This I learned from reading the citations listed in their paper.

How do you use this information?

If you go to shake your client’s hand, or give them a high five, you can take a quick look at their fingers and try to determine if that ring finger is longer than their pointer finger. If it is, then they most likely have the thinking trait.

I have to admit, this is a little strange. But it creates an opening to make small talk with your prospect. You can point out that a long ring finger is an indication that they are a logic person, and that you admire that.

And I’d also like to point out that it adds to the mounting evidence that you are born with your personality, and it is not created by environmental conditions such as how your parents raised you.

Additional references used for this article:

Female intuition could be linked to lower exposure to testosterone in women while in womb

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One Response to Personality Typing By Giving A High-Five

  1. David says:

    Tim,

    Well done on putting together such a brilliant website. It’s one of the most informative I’ve ever visited and frankly some of the stuff on here is bordering on genius.

    I came across this post over the weekend and found it very interesting, particularly as I have been aware of the digit ratio research for a while. I’m an ENTJ, but my index fingers are longer than my ring fingers on both hands. I’ve measured the digit ratio of my right hand and it is 1.037, which you can see from the graphs provided at Fig. 1 of the study is extremely high for a man. The digit ratio of my left hand is only marginally lower. I did just creep into the “Thinking” category when I sat the Myers-Briggs test, but do strongly identify as a Strategist. I actually completed the CRT logic test referred to in the study and answered all three questions correctly, which indicates my “Thinking” tendencies.

    That said, I do think that digit ratio can ultimately be a useful tool in helping to predict an individual’s traits, particularly where a person has either a strongly masculinised ratio or strongly feminised ratio. The particular correlation identified in the study you refer to above clearly doesn’t apply in my case, but a lot of the other reported correlations do. For example, if someone used my digit ratio to predict that I have poor athletic ability, terrible spatial awareness and low handgrip strength then they’d be spot on. They could also use it to correctly predict that I am empathetic, risk averse and not very impulsive – all helpful information if they wanted to push my buttons!

    I’m pretty confident that I can actually work backwards and deduce your digit ratio simply from the content of this website and that of your business. There are a couple of big clues. The first is that you are a rocket scientist and have a degree in aeronautical engineering. Good spatial awareness and ability in math are very important in engineering and typically occur in those with strongly masculinised brains. The second big clue is, put simply, your face. You have a strong brow, deep-set eyes, prominent cheekbones, a broad nose, a thin upper lip, a large, prominent jaw and a square chin. Each and every one of those characteristics is associated with high testosterone exposure. Your brow area in particular is incredibly masculinised – I’m guessing that your eyes have attracted a lot of positive comments from women over the years as a result! Taking the clues of your aptitude for engineering and your facial characteristics together, I’d conclude that you have a very low, masculinised digit ratio. Am I right?

    I think some of the strongest links in terms of digit ratio and the roles in the human army would be that, based on their usual characteristics, Warriors would typically have low digit ratios and Care Givers would typically have high digit ratios.

    Like you noted in your excellent earlier post on reading faces, this sort of predictor, which is based on a physical characteristic, is of course never going to be 100% accurate. There will always be plenty of exceptions. Furthermore, a lot of people will have a relatively standard digit ratio that doesn’t give much away. However, when combined with other clues about their personality, I’d posit that digit ratio can definitely be a powerful weapon in helping to determine a person’s type.

    David

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