Monday, December 13, 2010

Getting The Finger

Getting this kind of finger is a good thing.

The results of numeracy and literacy tests for seven-year-old children can be predicted by measuring the length of their fingers, shows new research.

In a study to be published in the British Journal of Psychology, scientists compared the finger lengths of 75 children with their Standardised Assessment Test (SAT) scores.

They found a clear link between a child's performance in numeracy and literacy tests and the relative lengths of their index (pointing) and ring fingers.

Scientists believe that the link is caused by different levels of the hormones testosterone and oestrogen in the womb and the effect they have on both brain development and finger length.

"Testosterone has been argued to promote development of the areas of the brain which are often associated with spatial and mathematical skills," said Dr Mark Brosnan, Head of the Department of Psychology at the University of Bath, who led the study.

"Oestrogen is thought to do the same in the areas of the brain which are often associated with verbal ability.

"Interestingly, these hormones are also thought have a say in the relative lengths of our index and ring fingers.

"We can use measurements of these fingers as a way of gauging the relative exposure to these two hormones in the womb and as we have shown through this study, we can also use them to predict ability in the key areas of numeracy and literacy."
I had first heard about this some years back and when I told my daughter about it she immediately checked out her fingers. She definitely had "math fingers". It made her happy to hear that. Currently she is a second year student in chemical engineering. So maybe there is something to the finger thing.

But fingers don't tell the whole story - just the relative strength of the influences. You can do well at language and math. It is how you get an 1600 on the SATs. Some people do it. Me? I have "math fingers" but did better on my verbal SAT than on the math/science part (not by much). I wound up being an engineer. I can assure you my reports are well written.

Cross Posted at Classical Values

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