Finger Play: Ratios and Math Skill

by Ann Douglas

Finger Ratios and Math SkillYour five year old's LEGO creations are eye-catching and intricate. He also budgets his allowance to the penny.

It's no wonder the relatives are already placing bets about the math future he's bound to have ahead of him. Naturally, he's offered to keep track of the bets.

So just what are the odds that you're raising a future mathematical genius?

Finger Length Difference and Math Skills

According to researchers at the University of Bath, you can add another rumor to the math genius rumor mill by examining your child's fingers.

As crazy as this may sound, the ratio between the length of your son's index and fourth (ring) fingers may give you a clue as to whether he has is likely to have the mathematical edge.

Typically, the ring finger is longer than the index finger in males -- the result of the ratio and timing of sex hormone exposures prior to birth.

In the study at the University of Bath, researchers found that students who scored higher in math were most likely to be the students with the male-pattern finger ratios. The researchers photocopied the hands of 74 boys and girls and then linked the handprints to the test scores.

What About Girls?

Just in case you're wondering, this pattern doesn't show up in girls. To start with, girls tend to have index and fourth fingers that are roughly the same length. And when these two fingers are different lengths, the discrepancy tends to be linked with increased verbal ability.

Do you have a mathematical genius waiting in the wings? Tell us what you think in the comments!

Ann Douglas is the author of numerous books about pregnancy and parenting including the bestselling "The Mother of All Pregnancy Books." She regularly contributes to a number of print and online publications, is frequently quoted in the media on a range of parenting-related topics, and has appeared as a guest on a number of television and radio shows. Ann and her husband Neil live in Peterborough, Ontario. with the youngest of their four children. Learn more at her site,

Copyright © Ann Douglas. Permission to publish granted to