Men, get ready to inspect the length of your index finger. Scientists have discovered that men whose index fingers are longer than their ring fingers are one-third less likely to develop prostate cancer. But "digit ratio" can tell you a lot more about a person, if scientists and researchers are to be believed. That's because finger length tends to be determined by the level of testerone someone was exposed to in the womb. Here are six things the length of your finger might say about you:
1. That you are a man, or a woman
The most obvious thing the length of your finger tells you is your sex. Men's ring fingers are normally longer than their index fingers, while womens' ring and index fingers tend to be the same length.
2. That you make a lot of money, or not
Researchers in Cambridge discovered that stock traders with long ring fingers made more money than colleagues with shorter ring fingers. Again, this can be chalked up to higher testosterone, which can make men more assertive and likely to take risks.
3. That you are a lesbian, or not
A study in California found that gay women tend to have shorter index fingers than ring fingers. The scientists at UC Berkeley theorized that exposure to androgens in the womb influence both finger length and sexual orientation, but the effect was not as pronounced among gay men.
4. How good you are at sports
Men and women whose ring fingers are longer than their index fingers are more likely to have an aptitude for sports. The correlation is particularly strong, says "finger expert" Dr. John Manning, in middle and long-distance runners.
5. That you are good at math
Children with "masculinized" ring fingers — that is, longer than their index fingers — do better in math tests than in literacy tests, found scientists at the University of Bath. Alternately, children whose second and fourth fingers are the same length perform better in literacy tests.
6. You are prone to arthritis
If your index finger is shorter than your ring finger, you may be more likely to develop arthritis, found researchers at the University of Nottingham. Those with "masculinized" finger lengths were more likely to develop osteoarthritis in the knees, and in the hips. The problem was most acute in women.
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Syrian women know how to defeat ISIS
- The U.S. Marines are developing laser weapons. Here's why.
- The one thing the New Atheists get right about religion
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- Will Kobani be ISIS's Waterloo?
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- 5 baffling foreign-language versions of the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air theme song
- How 1,000-year lifespans could remake the economy
- Bob Odenkirk's 6 favorite books
- 3 horrific inaccuracies in Homeland's depiction of Islamabad
Subscribe to the Week