Testosterone the Insensitive Hormone: Simple Finger Test to Determine Empathy Level

Testosterone therapy may help keep men looking younger, but could it also change their disposition? Perhaps. A finger study proves testosterone may be the culprit behind men’s insensitive ways. The length of a person’s index finger as opposed to their ring finger (the second and fourth digit) can be a telltale indicator of prenatal exposure to the male hormone testosterone. According to the BBC, “On average, women’s index and ring fingers are almost equal in length because they are exposed to less testosterone. In men, the ring finger tends to be longer because they have higher testosterone levels. In general, women exposed to more testosterone have more ‘masculine hands’ – i.e. longer ring.”

Testosterone levels appear to contribute to the inability to identify and read facial expressions. This inability to gauge the emotions of others is also a major symptom of autism.

This study examined whether young females who took oral doses of testosterone would be able to read facial expressions. The experiment involved giving female volunteers ages 20 to 25 testosterone in the first phase and a placebo in the second. The volunteers took a computerized test called “reading the mind in the eyes (RMET)” where they described the expression of pictures of people shown one at a time.

The women who were given testosterone instead of the placebo showed a decrease in their ability to identify expressions. More importantly, the inability to identify expressions was higher in women who had shorter index fingers than ring fingers — the signal of fetal exposure to testosterone and by extension an indicator of autism.

A similar study involving the female hormone oxytocin that was given to healthy young males and males with autism showed improvement among both groups in recognition of facial expressions. The authors conclude that further studies looking at the role of male and female hormones in the development of autism are needed.

The authors’ findings about testosterone also suggest an underlying reason why autism is primarily a disorder found among males.

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20 Comments

  • In the 50’s through the early 70’s millions of pregnant women in the UW were given a medication called DES to help them carry their babies to term (it had no effect actually) but it was a synthetic nonsteroidal estrogen. This had impacts on both their sons and daughters who were exposed to it in utereo.. What impact did this prenatal exposure have on their fingers/

  • My mother, who has always been a very insensitive woman. Cold enough to make fun of those (like ME) who

    are very sensitive and empathetic to others. She also has a very noticeably long ring finger compared to index

    finger. Mine? My index fingers are about one-third to one half a finger longer than my ring fingers. I gave up

    trying to have a mother/daughter relationship, or ANY kind, over a year ago.

  • @SeaSingleVoters Very tragically, those children are fortunate if they have hands. Finger length if the very least of their worries, so sadly.

  • As a student of astrology for some 40 years, I can tell you a long index finger is a sign of someone who can be bossy, or a natural born leader. It’s called the Napoleon finger as he was said to have it.

    A long ring finger is indicative of someone who is a risk-taker. Sometimes found in gamblers, often found in men who start their own businesses.

    Whether the hormones increase the finger length is debatable.

  • The obvious answer is to remove male foetus’ testicles in utero. If we did that for every male foetus for one generation we wouldn’t have to worry about empathy levels, overpopulation, or much of anything else. Will the last person living please turn out the lights before dying?

  • @Lane Don’t give relationships the finger, even if it is longer. Go to therapy if necessary to undo the toxic effects that your mother had on you. There are many sensitive and empathetic people who are also very supportive, warm, and loving. These folks can be found all over. You have an excellent chance of finding a good relationship with one of them.

  • @SeaSingleVoters There was little or no effect on the fingers, that was thalidamide given to pregnant women to help them sleep. DES increased the risk of vaginal (not cervical) and prostate cancers of the children who were exposed in utero.

  • @gaerbyl I solved my own problem by just cutting contact with both parents, as I should have long ago. My mother is the root of it, but dad was brainwashed over the years by her,,,I am happy at last. My advice is for people to realize, as I did so late in life, that you can’t fix mean.

  • @gaerbyl @SeaSingleVoters

    POSSIBLY to help them sleep…so they did not have to worry about carrying to full term.

    Never heard any ‘help them sleep’ connection, and I know children (and children OF children) who’s mothers TOOK DES. One friend’s was detected by an OBGYN at a PP Clinic when she was there for Birth Control Pills.

  • @gaerbyl @Lane If nothing else, you did humanity a good turn here. Thank you. And I always thought you were riot on the Muppets. Great show.

  • @TruLeigh Uh… forty years in pseudoscience, and then out comes ‘whether the hormones increase the finger length is debatable.” Maybe among other astrologers. Your conclusion, then, is that the position of stars and planets physiologically influences human development in a way that is also indicative of personality traits? Your astrological hypothesis makes no sense, and certainly only has merit against other ‘debatable’ ideas if you are irreversibly stupid.

  • I’m going to have to be the walking contradiction to this article. I’m female with a noticably longer ring finger. However, I’m highly empathic. If something bad happens to someone, I can pretty much feel what they’re feeling and same thing if something good happens. If someone starts crying, I have to fight back the tears. And if someone is overjoyed, I am flooded with emotions. I guess there are always exceptions to the rule.

  • I’m a female with a significantly longer ring finger. I have always thought that I was missing some critical female elements – I hate shopping and I don’t go all googly over babies. However, I am very empathetic. I think the research is flawed.

  • My index fingers are very noticeably longer compared to ring fingers..

    .but with my mother, father and (younger and only sibling)

    sister I will bet it is WAY the other case! Not an ounce of empathy

    for anyone or thing. Well, at least they have

    an excuse now…

  • WHAT IF A WOMEN HAS HAD NO OUTSIDE INFLUENCE AND SHE HAS A ENORMOUSLY ELEVATED TESTOSTERONE LEVEL? HOW DO YOU EXPLAIN THIS? MY INDEX FINGER AND RING FINGER ARE THE SAME SIZE. IS THIS THE ROOT OF MY ANGER AND UNCONTROLABLE DESIRE TO DOMINATE? AND NO I DONT LOOK LIKE BUELA THE BALL BREAKER. IM VERY FEMININE AND HAVE AN ENORMOUS AMOUNT OF SYMPATHY? SOMEONE EXPLAIN? THE ENDOCRINOLOGISTS IS PUZZLED AT THE LEVEL OF TESTERONE, ANYONE KNOW WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON? PLEASE HELP

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