Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Give 'em the finger

Researchers at the University of Cambridge have compared the success of financial traders with the length of their ring finger compared with the index finger, with some surprising results.

The length of the ring finger is fixed during development in the womb and a ring finger longer than the index finger indicates prolonged exposure to the male hormone androgen.

Researches compared the results of 44 male stock traders involved in rapid decision-making and quck phsical reactions, over 20 months. They found that traders with longer ring fingers made 11 times more money that those with the shortest ring fingers. Of the experienced traders, those with a longer ring finger made 5 times more that those with short ring fingers.

Clearly, this comprehensive, well executed, and important research needs to be widely circulated.



Well, I hadn't checked. Just a minute . . .

Oh, look at that, I have a longer ring finger!

(Hmm, don't know how I'm going to break the news to my twin sister . . .)

John M. Coates, Mark Gurnellc, and Aldo Rustichinid, (2009) Second-to-fourth digit ratio predicts success among high-frequency financial traders. doi:10.1073/pnas.0810907106


  1. Did they use female traders as an outgroup?

  2. Hey, I have a longer ring finger! Which explains why I'm such a decisive, confident, leadership-material sort of guy, and why I've made such pile on the stock market.


  3. Recent financial events may shed light on this phenomenon. It appears that many financial traders, used a age old tried and true method to make their decisions... lick finger, stick in air to see which way wind blowing and then guess..

  4. Rob,

    I don't think they used a female outgroup. It doesn't mention it in the abstract and the full paper is behind a subscription wall.

  5. EK,

    Quite right! Pity the poor ring fingerly-challenged people, doomed to spend their lives in the shadow of our digit!

  6. Eric,

    So the larger surface area of a longer ring finger is better at detecting slight breezes? I think you've solved it!


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