ASSOCIATION BETWEEN LOW SECOND-TO-FOURTH DIGIT RATIO AND POLICE SERVICE
What is it about?
Males and females differ in their preference for occupations and sporting activities, and differ also in risk-taking attitudes. In addition to other explanations, prenatal hormone exposure has been implicated in these gender-associated differences. The ratio of the relative lengths of the second-to-fourth digits (2D:4D) is a proxy indicator of prenatal exposure to testosterone relative to oestrogen. The 2D:4D ratio has been found to be associated with choice of occupation, particularly among females. This study investigated whether 2D:4D differed between police officers and a control group of civilians in Wrocław, Poland. Participants were 147 male and 55 female police officers and 91 male and 75 female civilian controls. The police officers had to undergo rigorous physical ability tests during recruitment and their job bore relatively higher risk, whereas the controls had a normal civilian lifestyle. Height, weight, hand grip strength and lengths of the second and fourth digits were measured. Analyses of variance and covariance were employed to assess the significance of difference in digit ratio between groups (police officers and civilians) allowing for interaction with sex. The policewomen, compared with the female controls, were taller and had stronger hand grip strength, but had lower 2D:4D in the right hand and average 2D:4D of both hands. However, male and female police officers slightly differed only in the right hand digit ratio but not in the left hand ratio or the average for the two hands. However, the control group showed significant sex differences in all digit ratios with higher (feminine) mean values in females. The study provides further evidence that prenatal testosterone exposure, as reflected in the 2D:4D ratio, might have an association with choice of occupation, particularly among females.
Why is it important?
The study provided evidence that occupational choice could be linked with the testosterone exposure during prenatal growth period. And this association is more pronounces among the females than males. Psychological orientation in adult life may be linked with the biological development during fetal / intrauterine stage.
The following have contributed to this page: Dr Raja Chakraborty