Science Now reported that a study completed at the University of Bath concluded that boys whose ring fingers are longer than their index fingers have an affinity for math. Girls, on the other hand, display better verbal skills if their ring fingers are shorter than their index fingers. Girls showed no difference in math skills regardless of finger length. The study revealed that testosterone levels during fetus development correlated with brain development and the length of the fingers.
The University of Bath study included 74 children between the ages of six and seven. The second and fourth fingers of each child were measured and the children took a standardized test, evaluating math and verbal skills. The boys with the longest ring fingers scored better in math than in verbal. Girls with the highest verbal scores had long ring fingers.
Psychologist, Mark Brosnan, who led the study, reported his findings in the British Journal of Psychology, concluding that measuring the fingers of boys and girls not only indicates testosterone levels in the womb but also gauges their cognitive skills.
Although this study indicates that finger length affects cognitive abilities, there is no replacement for parents’ involvement and encouragement with their children’s’ math and literacy skills. Involve kids in hands-on activities that reinforce math and verbal skills in the home, at the park, in restaurants, cooking with kids, or just walking around the neighborhood. Everyday experiences are full of learning material for math and literacy.
Ideas for Increasing Kids’ Math and Literacy Skills in Everyday Life
Cooking – Have your kids help with the cooking. Explain how measurements, fractions, and percentages are used in a recipe. Let your son or daughter read the recipe to you as you cook together.
Grocery Shopping – As you shop with your kids, read the price labels for the different products, explaining unit pricing, weight calculations, rounding off prices, and calculating the price for multiple products.
Reading – Finger length will never replace the time parents spend reading with their children. If your children already know how to read, take turns reading to each other.
Writing – Encourage kids to write thank-you letters for gifts they receive, keep a journal, and write letters or emails to friends and relatives.
Science Now: See Those Fingers? Do the Math
University of Bath, Dept. of Psychology: Study Results on Digit Ratios