Digit ratios (2D:4D), postnatal testosterone and eye contact in toddlers

Biol Psychol. 2013 Sep;94(1):106-8. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsycho.2013.05.010. Epub 2013 May 23.


Previous research has shown an association between eye contact and prenatal testosterone measured in amniocenteses samples. The purpose of this study was to test the association between eye contact and prenatal androgen action measured via second to fourth digit ratios (2D:4D ratios), and to explore the relationship between eye contact and postnatal testosterone levels. Participants included 72 children, between the ages of 18 and 24 months, and their parents. Salivary testosterone levels were obtained when children were 3-months old. At 18-months, 2D:4D ratios were measured and parent-child dyads participated in an 8-min play session that was recorded and later coded for duration and frequency of eye contact. Results indicated that larger 2D:4D ratios (indicative of lower androgen levels) significantly predicted longer duration and more frequency of eye contact, while postnatal testosterone levels were unrelated to eye contact. These novel findings suggest prenatal androgens may influence the emergence of social development.

Keywords: Digit ratio (2D:4D); Eye contact; Postnatal androgens; Testosterone.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Child, Preschool
  • Eye*
  • Female
  • Fingers / growth & development*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Interpersonal Relations*
  • Male
  • Ocular Physiological Phenomena*
  • Saliva / metabolism
  • Testosterone / metabolism*


  • Testosterone