What palm reading can tell us about fidelity

Put your hand at the center of your field of vision, fingers locked and together, and observe. Amongst the latest scientific findings, there are a large number of studies whose degree of relevance may be called into question. And you may wonder how this particular study could possibly represent a major advancement. As it turns out, this research is both surprising and perhaps disturbing. And it's for just this reason that we'd like you to take a moment to discover whether your morphology reveals a tendency for cheating...

Take a look at your hand. Do you see a significant difference between the length of your ring and index fingers? Why does it matter? Because this morphological detail has proven to be a reliable sign of loyalty according to a team of English researchers.

The psychology departments of two renowned English universities, Oxford and Northumbria, interviewed over 500 volunteers about their opinions and attitudes towards non-committed sex. Two major groups emerged from the survey. The first had a low desire to partake in this type of behavior and preferred to engage in long-term relationships with a strong emotional component. On the other hand, the second group had few restrictions, had less of a need for emotional commitment with sexual partners, and were more likely to have short-term relationships with multiple partners. Contrary to popular belief, the second group was not entirely male. Though men appear to be more inclined to seek out these types of relationships, with 57% of men falling into the second category, 47% of women also shared this profile.

More than a thousand right hands were photocopied and measured with special attention to the lengths of the index and ring fingers. As it turns out, the development of the ring finger is dependent on testosterone exposure in the womb. Produced by the adrenal glands, testosterone is primarily a male hormone, but is also present in women. In other words, the higher the level of testosterone, the longer the ring finger, and the lower the ratio between the index and ring finger.

Because this hormone is present in larger amounts in men, it's normal that men have, on average, longer ring fingers than index fingers. But this phenomenon is not restricted to men alone. Surprisingly, the ratio statistics are similar to the attitude to sex data presented earlier, with 62% of men and 50% of women exhibiting a low ring/index ratio, or long ring finger.

According to Professor John Manning at the University of Northumbria, the correlation between finger length ratio and the extent of emotional attachment is a reflection of two major reproduction strategies that exist both in men and women. For a stable relationship, it's best to find partners in the same group. Or maybe it's better not to know…
Source: Wlodarski R., Manning J., Dunbar R.I. Stay or stray? Evidence for alternative mating strategy phenotypes in both men and women. Biol Lett. 2015 Feb;11(2). pii: 20140977. doi: 10.1098/rsbl.2014.0977

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