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PLoS One. 2012;7(10):e47140. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0047140. Epub 2012 Oct 17.

Second-to-fourth digit ratio and impulsivity: a comparison between offenders and nonoffenders.

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  • 1School of Psychology, Cognition Institute, University of Plymouth, Plymouth, United Kingdom. yaniv.hanoch@plymouth.ac.uk

Abstract

Personality characteristics, particularly impulsive tendencies, have long been conceived as the primary culprit in delinquent behavior. One crucial question to emerge from this line of work is whether impulsivity has a biological basis. To test this possibility, 44 male offenders and 46 nonoffenders completed the Eysenck Impulsivity Questionnaire, and had their 2D∶4D ratio measured. Offenders exhibited smaller right hand digit ratio measurements compared to non-offenders, but higher impulsivity scores. Both impulsivity and 2D∶4D ratio measurements significantly predicted criminality (offenders vs. nonoffenders). Controlling for education level, the 2D∶4D ratio measurements had remained a significant predictor of criminality, while impulsivity scores no longer predicted criminality significantly. Our data, thus, indicates that impulsivity but not 2D∶4D ratio measurements relate to educational attainment. As offenders varied in their number of previous convictions and the nature of their individual crimes, we also tested for differences in 2D∶4D ratio and impulsivity among offenders. Number of previous convictions did not correlate significantly with the 2D∶4D ratio measurements or impulsivity scores. Our study established a link between a biological marker and impulsivity among offenders (and lack thereof among non-offenders), which emphasise the importance of studying the relationship between biological markers, impulsivity and criminal behavior.

PMID:
23082144
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3474803
Free PMC Article
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