Fingers May Forecast Kids' Test Scores
Researcher Points to Finger Length as Predictor of Math, Verbal Test Scores
WebMD News Archive
May 23, 2007 -- Students' fingertips may hold a clue to their academic test
scores, a British researcher suggests.
Mark Brosnan, PhD, of the psychology department at England's University of
Bath, studied 75 children aged 6-7 at a British elementary school.
One by one, the children had their hands photocopied at school. Brosnan then
measured the length of the children's fingers, down to 0.01 millimeters (about
Brosnan also checked the children's math and verbal scores on a standardized
British academic exam. Then he compared the test scores and finger length data,
especially the ratio of the length between the children's index and ring
At first glance, Brosnan found no clear patterns between the kids' test
scores and their finger length. But that changed when he separated data on boys
Among boys, a low ratio of index finger length to ring finger length was
associated with higher math scores. But that ratio wasn't associated for better
or worse with boys' verbal test scores.
The opposite was true for girls. Among girls, a low ratio of index finger
length to ring finger length was linked to better verbal test scores, but not
to any patterns in girls' math test scores.
What difference does finger length make to test scores? Brosnan argues that
finger length is linked to prenatal exposure to the hormone testosterone.
However, his study doesn't prove that, since it doesn't include the
children's current or prenatal testosterone levels.
The study will be published in the British Journal of Psychology,
states a news release from the University of Bath.