London: A woman's finger length tells you all you need to know about her sense of direction, a new study has revealed. Researchers have discovered that women who have a short ring finger compared to the length of the index finger are likelier to rely on satellite navigation technology to find their way round.

But women whose ring fingers are a similar length or longer than their index finger have a greater sense of direction.

The reason behind this is thought to be that finger length reflects exposure to different levels of hormones in the womb.

Men tend to have longer ring finger as a result of greater exposure to testosterone during the developmental stage. Women, on the other hand, generally tend to have ring and index fingers that are similar in length.

The same hormone exposure is also believed to play a crucial role in the way the brain develops in the early stages of life.

Experts at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the US found that women with more male-like finger ratios performed much better at navigational tasks.

The researchers recruited 82 male and female students and measured the length of their fingers before putting them through a series of computerised navigational challenges.

The students had to watch a computer game clip, set among fields and rivers, and try and memorise the exact location of a tiny blue crystal that appeared on the screen.

The results showed that men had a better sense of direction than the women and were better able to find their way back to the precise location.

But the women whose ring finger was longer than their index finger performed much better or similar to men.
"These results demonstrate for the first time that a difference in the sense of direction is associated with a more male-like digit ratio," a daily quoted the researchers as saying in the report.

The length of the ring finger is determined by exposure to testosterone, usually by the 14th week of gestation.
Higher levels of testosterone in the womb make it more likely, for example, that a baby boy will grow up with a slightly longer ring finger on each hand. But babies exposed to more of the female hormone oestrogen tend to have shorter ring fingers. The result was recently published recently in the science journal Plos One.


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