[2D:4D finger ratio and language development]

Rev Neurol. 2009 Jun;48(11):577-81.
[Article in Spanish]


Introduction: A possible hormonal influence in language development has been suggested in the recent years. The 2D:4D finger ratio is an indirect measure for prenatal androgen exposure. It is negatively related to prenatal testosterone and positively related to prenatal estrogen, resulting in a lower ratio for men and a larger ratio for women. It can be explored in children as young as 2 years old.

Aim: To study if an association exists between the 2D:4D finger ratio and language development (vocabulary) and/or language problems.

Subjects and methods: The lengths of the second digit (index finger) (2D) and the fourth digit (ring finger) (4D) were measured in 97 preschoolers and the Language Development Survey was administered to the parents.

Results: A weak negative correlation between language development (vocabulary) and right 2D:4D ratio was found in both sexes for children aged 4 or less years, significant only in boys. A strong negative correlation between language articulation problems and right 2D:4D ratio in both sexes for children aged 3 or less years, and a lower negative correlation between articulation problems and right 2D:4D ratio were found for boys aged 4 or less years.

Conclusion: Findings suggest an important role for testosterone in language development (vocabulary) and a possible influence on articulation problems, probably through higher testosterone levels.

Publication types

  • English Abstract

MeSH terms

  • Child, Preschool
  • Estrogens / metabolism
  • Female
  • Fingers / anatomy & histology*
  • Fingers / embryology
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Language Development*
  • Male
  • Testosterone / metabolism


  • Estrogens
  • Testosterone