Lower Digit Ratio (2D:4D) Indicative of Excess Prenatal Androgen Is Associated With Increased Sociability and Greater Social Capital

Front Behav Neurosci. 2019 Dec 5;13:246. doi: 10.3389/fnbeh.2019.00246. eCollection 2019.

Abstract

Positive social interactions are crucial for human well-being. Elevated prenatal exposure to testosterone as indicated by a low second-to-fourth finger length ratio (2D:4D) relates to more aggressive/hostile behavior in men of low 2D:4D, especially in challenging situations. How much people enjoy interacting with others is determined by the personality trait sociability. Given its role in approach and avoidance behavior, sociability might also be influenced by prenatal sex hormones, but studies are inconclusive so far. Here, we investigated the association between 2D:4D and the personality trait sociability complemented by personal social capital and personal social network size, in a population-based cohort of 4998 men. Lower 2D:4D correlated significantly with higher trait sociability, bigger personal social capital, and larger personal social network size. These effects were consistent across both hands separately and their mean value. Furthermore, both factors of sociability (1) liking party and company of friends and (2) isolation intolerance, correlated significantly with the prenatal testosterone marker. The exploratory analysis revealed no link between 2D:4D and responses to the personality trait aggression items or items of anti-social-personality disorder. Our data suggest that prenatal androgen exposure organizes the brain with lasting effects on social behavior.

Keywords: 2D:4D; aggression; digit ratio; isolation intolerance; opioid receptor; sociability; social behavior.