Giving Science the Finger

Jody Kolodzey in In These Times:

In the August issue of British Journal of Psychology, a team of researchers led by psychologist Mark Brosnan of the University of Bath, England, have published findings that suggest women who are good at science and math have longer ring fingers than index fingers, which indicates a relatively high level of prenatal exposure to the male hormone testosterone. Conversely, longer index fingers indicate higher levels of the female hormone estrogen, according to the study, and a corresponding aptitude for verbal communication. The study used standardized test scores of 75 British seven-year-old boys and girls and compared them to photocopies of the youngsters’ hands.

The media had a field day: “Study Correlates Finger Length to Performance on SAT,” trumpeted FOX News. The widely-linked asserted: “A quick look at the lengths of children’s index and ring fingers can be used to predict how well students will perform on SATs, new research claims. Kids with longer ring fingers compared to index fingers are likely to have higher math scores than literacy or verbal scores on the college entrance exam, while children with the reverse finger-length ratio are likely to have higher reading and writing, or verbal, scores versus math scores.”