Finger length ratio (2D:4D) correlates with physical aggression in men but not in women

Biol Psychol. 2005 Mar;68(3):215-22. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsycho.2004.05.001.


Finger length ratio (2D:4D) is a sexually dimorphic trait. Men have relatively shorter second digits (index fingers) than fourth digits (ring fingers). Smaller, more masculine, digit ratios are thought to be associated with either higher prenatal testosterone levels or greater sensitivity to androgens, or both. Men with more masculine finger ratios are perceived as being more masculine and dominant by female observers, and tend to perform better in a number of physical sports. We hypothesized that digit ratio would correlate with propensity to engage in aggressive behavior. We examined the relationship between trait aggression, assayed using a questionnaire, and finger length ratio in both men and women. Men with lower, more masculine, finger length ratios had higher trait physical aggression scores (r(partial) = -0.21, N = 134, P = 0.028). We found no correlation between finger length ratio and any form of aggression in females. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that testosterone has an organizational effect on adult physical aggression in men.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aggression*
  • Anthropometry
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Fingers / anatomy & histology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Sex Characteristics
  • Sex Factors
  • Testosterone / pharmacology


  • Testosterone