Finger length of London stock traders relates to financial success.

The finger length of London stock traders relates to financial success.

Low index finger vs. ring finger ratio relates to financial success

Researchers at the University of Cambridge found that stock traders with a lower digit ratio of 0.93, on average, earned 10 times more than those with an average ratio of 0.988.

Traders with a lower digit ratio made an average of 679,680 pounds (or about $1 million U.S.), compared with 61,320 pounds ($90,956 U.S.) by those with a higher ratio, the report said.

The research, published today in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), found that individuals who were exposed to high levels of prenatal testosterone tended to be more profitable traders.

The British researchers provide the following explanation for their finger length research results:

Testosterone, a steroid hormone, surges between the 9th and 18th week of gestation, exerting powerful organizing effects on the developing body and brain. According to both animal and human studies, these effects may include increased confidence, risk-preferences and search persistence, as well as heightened vigilance and quickened reaction times.

The amount of testosterone one was exposed to in the womb can be measured because it leaves traces throughout the adult body. Measures of prenatal androgens are increasingly used by paediatricians to gauge whether a newborn has been exposed to abnormal levels of steroid. The most common measure for behavioural studies is the ratio of the index to ring finger (2D:4D) on the right hand, a relatively longer ring finger – lower 2D:4D – indicating higher prenatal testosterone levels. Males typically have ratios below 1, women above 1.

As digit ratios have been found to predict performance in competitive sports such as tennis, football, and skiing, the scientists hypothesised that 2D:4D may also influence the risk preferences and physical speed required for what is variously called noise or high-frequency. Traders engaged in high frequency trading look for fleeting price anomalies and hold their trades for minutes, sometimes mere seconds.

Finger length in London stock traders.

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Barack Obama: another left-handed US president

Next january elected president Barack Obama will likely become the 7th ‘left-handed’ US president in American history. Over the years there has been a discussion about high number of ‘left-handed’ presidents in American history. Actually, including Ronald Reagan, Barack Obama will become the 4th (out of five) left-handed president in less than 20 years. For, the current president, George W. Bush has been the only right-handed US president in the past two decades – his father and Bill Clinton are ‘lefties’ as well! Oh, and by the way, the other presidential candidate in 2008, senator John McCain, is also left-handed!

How come that so many US presidents are left-handed? Partly it’s a big mystery, but a quick hand reading of Obama’s hand might provide us a clue!

Barack Obama's left hand.

An interesting characteristic in Obama’s hand is ratio between his index finger (2th digit) and ring finger (4th digit). Professor John T. Manning named this specific finger ratio the ‘digit ratio’ (2D:4D). One of the interesting findings regarding this ‘digit ratio’ is Manning’s theory that a LOW DIGIT RATIO is likely to the result of an overabundance of testosterone in the mother’s womb during pregnancy. Not long ago another research program was published at the University of Melbourne, which reported that left-handednes can also be linked to a ‘LOW DIGIT RATIO’. And therefore there appears to be spectacular ‘triple-link’ between: (1) left-handedness, (2) ‘LOW DIGIT RATIO’, and (3) the fact that so many US presidents are left-handed!!!

Ronald Reagan's right hand.

How to measure the ‘digit ratio’ of a hand?

The picture on right describes the key-elements: first you’ll need to identify the onset of both the index- and ring finger. Then you’ll have to measure the absolute length of these finger – the length from the onset to the tip of the finger. And finally you’ll need to do a calculation: the ratio between the length of both fingers!

How to measure digit ratio!

Barack Obama is the 7th left-handed US president!
Digit ratio (2D:4D) linked with handedness.
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