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J Sports Sci. 2012;30(2):135-8. doi: 10.1080/02640414.2011.630744. Epub 2011 Dec 1.

Varsity athletes have lower 2D:4D ratios than other university students.

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Department of Biology, Saint Mary's University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.


The second to fourth digit ratio (2D:4D) is a sexually dimorphic trait with lower finger ratios considered more masculine. These digit ratios are believed to reflect the prenatal hormonal environment with higher exposure to androgens in utero leading to more masculine digit ratios. The 2D:4D ratio has been negatively correlated with many factors, including aggression, physical fitness, and athleticism. We compared 2D:4D finger ratios of (1) male and female varsity athletes (n = 99) versus male and female student non-athletes (n = 122), and (2) males (n = 104) versus females (n = 117). Our results confirmed that both male (mean ± s(x) : 0.97 ± 0.004) and female (0.98 ± 0.005) varsity athletes had significantly lower ratios than their non-varsity peers (males: 0.99 ± 0.004; females: 1.00 ± 0.006), and that male athletes had significantly lower 2D:4D ratios than female athletes. Overall, males had significantly lower 2D:4D ratios than females (0.98 ± 0.003 vs. 0.99 ± 0.004). A smaller 2D:4D ratio appears to be consistent with participation in varsity sports among both males and females.

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