Meta-analysis of digit ratio 2D:4D shows greater sex difference in the right hand

Johannes Honekopp, Steven Watson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

341 Citations (Scopus)


Males tend to be more aggressive than females and the organizational effects of prenatal testosterone (T) appear to contribute to this sex difference. Low second-to-fourth digit ratio (2D:4D) is thought to be a marker of high prenatal testosterone. For this reason, a number of studies have used 2D:4D to investigate a potential effect of prenatal T upon aggression in later life. Here we meta-analyse these studies to determine the true size of the relationship between 2D:4D and aggression. We find no evidence of 2D:4D better predicting aggression at different levels of risk nor do we find evidence for a relationship between 2D:4D and aggression in females. Regarding males we find some evidence of a small, negative relationship between 2D:4D and aggression (r ≈ −.06) and no indication that either hand would predict aggression better than the other. We contrast these findings with results regarding levels of aggression in females with elevated prenatal T levels due to Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia and we discuss implications for 2D:4D research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)619-630
JournalAmerican Journal of Human Biology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2010


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