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Brain Cogn. 2006 Jul;61(2):211-8. Epub 2006 Feb 8.

Second to fourth digit ratio and numerical competence in children.

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Department for Sociobiology/Anthropology, University of Goettingen, Goettingen, Germany.


The ratio between the 2nd and 4th fingers (2D:4D)-a potential proxy for prenatal testosterone (T) exposure-shows a sex difference, with males usually having lower mean values; the latter potentially indicates higher prenatal T exposure. We studied relations between 2D:4D and competencies in the domains of counting, number knowledge, and visual-number representation in 73 children aged 6-11 years. Significant negative correlations between numerical performance in all of these areas and right and left hand 2D:4D ratios were found for boys but not girls. To the extent that 2D:4D ratios reflects prenatal exposure to T, the implications are (i) high prenatal T may be associated with better performance on some basic numerical measures for boys, and (ii) prenatal exposure to T may affect boys and girls differently with respect to some numerical competencies.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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