September 6, 2011
Wearing your heart on your sleeve is merely an adage, but most people do display their emotions – even if unintentionally – on their faces. Women tend to be better than men at reading other people’s subtle facial cues, especially cues from the eyes. Because of the gender difference in cognitive empathy – the ability to notice and correctly interpret body language – psychobiologistsscientists that study psychology from a biological perspective, or vice versa have hypothesized that testosterone – a sex hormone present in much higher levels in males versus females levels – could play a role in “mind reading” ability, or lack thereof.
A new study in PNASProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences validates this hypothesis by demonstrating that a dose of testosterone can make women lose some of their cognitive empathy. Researchers recruited 16 young women (age 20-25) to participate in their study. The women were given either a testosterone pill or a placebo, and then tested on their ability to assess emotions based on photographs of eyes. The test the women took is called the Adult Eyes Test, and is available for free from the Autism Research Center at the University of Cambridge. Here’s a sample question (formatting is slightly modified):
For the correct answer, click here.
Each woman was tested twice – once with placebo and once with real testosterone (in random order; they didn’t have any idea which was which). 75% of the women performed worse on the “mind reading” test after taking testosterone than after taking a placebo. So to a first approximation, an artificial increase in testosterone levels impaired women’s abilities to interpret facial expressions.
But the results aren’t quite that simple. Some women were less affected by the extra testosterone than others, and the researchers had a hunch that this could relate to their exposure to testosterone in the womb. All fetuses are exposed to testosterone while developing, but to different extents. There is a simple way to qualitatively measure fetal testosterone exposure – this parameter is believed to be correlated to the adult ratio of ring finger length to index finger length (see picture at the top of this post).
Larger ratios of ring finger to index finger lengths correspond to higher fetal testosterone levels. This study showed no difference between the inherent expression-reading ability of women exposed to higher vs. lower doses of testosterone in the womb. However, the women with longer ring fingers (higher fetal testosterone) seemed to be more easily impaired when given a dose of testosterone in pill form.
Thus, this study demonstrated that (1) testosterone administered to women can impair their ability to read facial expressions, and (2) women who experienced more testosterone in the womb are more sensitive to the effects of testosterone administered as adults. Nothing further can be definitively gathered from these results, but they seem to suggest that men’s testosterone levels could be to blame for their increased confusion about what others (especially women!) are thinking/feeling.
PS. A brand new study reported by researchers from Florida has recently (sep 2011) presented proof that fingers have hormonal receptors!
The following finger length study presents a likewise effect:
How lingerie can sharpen the financial mind!
September 26, 2010
9 LINES & 9 DISORDERS:
CAN YOU FIND THE CONNECTIONS?
Just to avoid misunderstandings, I will briefly describe each of the hand lines in the picture above:
Line 1 = extra crease on the 1st phalange (beyond the distal interphalangeal crease)
Line 2 = extra crease on the 2nd phalange (in 1 or more fingers)
Line 3 = single crease on the pinky finger
Line 4 = extra crease on the thumb
Line 5 = ‘hockey-stick crease’
Line 6 = simian crease
Line 7 = Sydney crease
Line 8 = transverse hypothenar crease
Line 9 = secondary creases: unusually high density
The names of the 9 disorders are:
A = Alagille syndrome (= genetic disorder related to e.g. the liver, heart & kidney)
B = Coffin-Lowry syndrome (= genetic disorder: e.g. mental problems, health)
C = Down’s syndrome (= genetic disorder: trisomy 21, e.g. mental handicap, health)
F = Edward’s syndrome (= genetic disorder: trisomy 18, e.g. low rate of survival)
D = Fetal alcohol syndrome (= caused by alcohol abuse during pregnancy)
E = Fragile X syndrome (= genetic disorder: Xq27, e.g. mental handicap, autism)
G = Pit-Rogers-Dank syndrome (= e.g. growth disorder, mental retardation)
H = Schizophrenia (= psychiatric disorder)
I = Sickle Cell Diseases (= blood disorder)
The QUIZ-task is very simple:
‘Which line (in the picture above) belongs to which disorder?’
(You can submit your answers as a response to this blog post, but you can also discuss the details at the Modern Hand Reading Forum, at: The ‘Weird-Hand-Lines QUIZ’ – part 2)
Some ‘clues’ for finding the right connections are provided by MEDICAL HAND ANALYSIS.
February 22, 2010
In 1986 A. Rodewald et al. presented the first ‘phantom picture’ describing the typical hand characteristics in Fragile X syndrome (e.g. hand calluses & flexible finger phalange joints). But more detailed ‘phantom pictures’ were never presented since then. This month (february 2010) a more detailed updated version of the visualisation became available – featuring 28 characteristics of the hand in Fragile’s syndrome!
What are the most common hand characteristics in Fragile X syndrome?
NOTICE: The author of the new ‘phantom picture’ for Fragilex syndrome described a specific guideline which states that in most cases of Fragile X syndrome certain combinations of the 28 characteristics are found in both the fingers AND the palm of the hand!
More details available at:
Photo: example of a baby hand with hyperextensible finger joints – a common feature in Fragile X syndrome.
October 12, 2009
In 1892, Sir Francis Galton published his highly influential book, ‘Finger Prints’ in which he described his classification system based on the number of triradii. On of the 3 most well-known fingerprint types is the ‘whorl’ (next to the ‘loop’ and ‘arch’), which is often found on the fingertips – but rarely found on the hypothenar (in palistry: ‘mount of Moon’)!
What was already known about the ‘hypothenar whorl’?
Quote from the article:
“While the classic palmistry literature describes that the ‘hypothenar whorl’ (a.k.a. ‘whorl on mount of Moon’) can be recognized as a sign for finding a ‘highly imaginative person’, various scientific studies have indicated that dermatoglyphic whorls on the mount of moon are linked with Down’s syndrome + a few other medical problems.”
NEW RESEARCH FINDING ON AUTISM!
Another quote from the article:
“A study on the hands of 30 people with autism (25 men, 5 women) revealed a surprizing high percentage of a specific (very rare) variant of the ‘hypothenar whorl’ – the ‘hypothenar composite whorl’.”
Some examples of the ‘hypothenar composite whorl’ are presented below.
In the perspective of the fact that in the science of fingerprints the ‘composite whorl’ is related to the ‘double loop’, it is interesting to notice here that the new finding relates to an earlier reported finding which pointed out that the hands of people with autism are often featured with a ‘double loop’ in the fingerprint of the pinky finger and the presence of 2 palmar loops below that 5th finger.
In cases you’re interested to learn more about the basics of fingerprint classification – the illustration below describes the 8 most common types of fingerprints (including: 2 ‘arch’ variants, 2 ‘loop’ variants, and 4 ‘whorl’ variants).
NOTICE: The ‘composite whorl’ whorl does not belong to the 8 basic fingerprint types (the name ‘double loop whorl’ in the picture below is traditionally described as a ‘double loop’).
SUGGESTION FOR FURTHER READING:
Tall, short, or got a small head?
Recently Roger Dobson – author at MailOnline.co.uk presented an interesting article titled: ‘Tall, short – or got a small head? Here’s what your physique reveals about your health’. In his article he described how various body dimensions – varying from your height to your foot size – can indicate a wealth of information about your risk of conditions, from cancer through to dementia and heart disease. You can read below what Roger Dobson wrote about the 2D:4D finger length ratio – a hand characterstic that has become very well-known in the past few years through the work and the two books of ‘the finger’ Professor John T. Manning
Roger Dobson wrote in his article about the hand:
“IF YOU HAVE LONG FINGERS
Autism and ADHD, mental illness/depression
A range of disorders has been linked to the length of fingers, and in particular the ratio between index and ring fingers. The ratio is thought to be a marker of what was happening hormonally in the womb when the foetus developed.
It’s thought a relatively long ring finger is a sign that the foetus was exposed to higher levels of the male hormone testosterone, while a relatively long index finger is a marker of the female hormone, oestrogen.
Conditions associated with a long ring finger compared to the index include autism and ADHD. Those associated with a longer index include depression.
Males, who are more likely to develop autism and ADHD, tend to have a longer ring finger relative to their index finger.
Exposure to certain hormones might increase or reduce the risk of certain conditions and traits.
‘It has been suggested that autism may arise as the result of exposure to high concentrations of prenatal testosterone,’ say researchers at Liverpool University.”
Researchers at the universities of Cambridge and Oxford believe that Albert Einstein showed signs of Asperger’s Syndrome.
Marianne Raschig was able to make a handprint of Albert Einstein’s hands in 1930. Does Einstein have the typical hand features that researchers have observed in autism?
|Albert Einstein’s handprints are presented at the bottom of this post (the high quality versions are available at: THE HANDS OF ALBERT EINSTEIN). Let’s take a look at the hand characteristics that have been associated with autism in varioius scientific studies:
2D:4D Finger ratio
Professor John T. Manning described in 2002 in his first book titled: ‘Digit Ratio‘ that the hand in autism is often characterised by a by a ‘2D:4D finger ratio’ of 0.94 of lower. Interestingly Albert Einstein’s digit ratio appeared to be close to 0.93!
Some Romanian researchers described in 2003 some significant results related to fingerprint asymmetries between the the right hand and the left hand. They described that they found that the hands of persons who have autism are often featured with more ‘arch’ fingerprints in the left hand and/or more ‘loop’ fingerprints in the right hand. Interestingly, Albert Einstein has 2 ‘loops’ (middle finger + pinky) in his right hand and only one ‘loop’ in his left hand (pinky)!
Unusual hand lines
In time various scientific studies have reported that the hand in autism is frequently featured with unsual palmar lines. The most important unusual palmar lines are: ‘the simian crease‘ & ‘the Sydney line‘. Interestingly, Albert Einstein has an (incomplete) Sydney line in his left hand!