Can your fingers really show if you’re gay?
The relative lengths of your left hand’s index and ring finger may be able to show whether you’re gay or straight, according to new research.
The study, carried out by Essex University researchers and published in peer-reviewed The Archives of Sexual Behaviour, proposed that people who received higher levels of androgens—a sex hormone which is more present in males—in the womb were more likely to be attracted to women.
The scientists suggested that prenatal androgen levels could be analysed by looking at the fingers of 32 sets of adult twins who have different sexualities to each other.
They found that for women, if your ring and index fingers are a significantly different length to each other, you’re more likely to be gay, whereas if they’re similar lengths, you have a greater chance of being straight.
Researchers said that the distinction in finger length between the gay and straight male twins was less pronounced, stating in their results that “this difference was not significant.”
Dr Fran Amery, a lecturer at Bath University who supervises PhD students in gender and public policy and reproductive and sexual politics, told PinkNews that there was more to the story presented by research.
“The obvious point to make is that the study has a tiny sample size—only 18 female twin pairs and 14 male twin pairs,” she said. “So we should be wary of trying to generalise from these findings to the population as a whole.
“However, I’d be kind on the authors on this point. These small-n studies are often conducted as pilots to make the case for funding for a much larger study of the phenomenon, and aren’t intended to be definitive.
“It’s often unhelpful when they’re sensationalised in the press and presented as the ‘scientific’ truth. If you read the full paper, the authors are quite cautious in their interpretation of the findings.”
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Dr Tuesday Watts, who worked on the study, remarked on the press release accompanying the research that “looking at someone’s hands could provide a clue to their sexuality.”
Also, Dr Amery explained that though this area of research is worth exploring, the results are not yet conclusive.
“This isn’t the first study to find a correlation between finger length and sexual orientation—although, as far as I’m aware, it’s the first to compare identical twins,” said the professor.
“However, usually when such a correlation is found, it’s a very weak one,” she continued, adding: “Gay and bi people may have slightly different finger length ratios on average to straight people, but it absolutely doesn’t follow from this that it’s possible to predict someone’s sexuality just by looking at their hands.”