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Am J Hum Biol. 2008 Jan-Feb;20(1):110-5.

A subordinate status position increases the present value of financial resources for low 2D:4D men.

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Department of Marketing and Organization Studies, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, 3000 Leuven, Belgium.


It has been suggested that the ratio of the length of the 2nd and 4th fingers (digit ratio or 2D:4D) is related to prenatal testosterone with lower ratios thought to be influenced by higher prenatal testosterone levels. Accordingly, low 2D:4D has been associated to a number of fitness-related factors, such as high status in competitive sports and in music. Recent evidence suggests that 2D:4D is also related to economic decision making. We combine both streams of research in the present paper. In two studies we manipulated status in two different ways. We found that a subordinate position raises discount rates, consistent with the reasoning that the present utility of money is higher for men in this position. Moreover, the effect was more pronounced for men with a low 2D:4D. There was a significant negative relationship between 2D:4D and level of discounting in a subordinate status position, but no significant relationship emerged in the dominant status position. Our studies add evidence to the recent line of research associating digit ratio and economic decision making. Moreover, our studies show that future 2D:4D research should focus on plausible interactions between 2D:4D and context cues rather than on linear relations.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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