Personality, Physique, Sex and Fingers

Want to know your prenatal androgen exposure level?

I mean: want to know how much of a testosterone-fuelled beast you are?

Well, do this then:

  1. Measure the length of your index finger (2nd finger) from the crease at the base to the tip. Not including nails. That’s cheating.
  2. Now measure the length of your ring finger (4th finger).
  3. Do it for both hands, just for interest.
  4. Now get a calculator (unless you are Rain Man).
  5. Divide the length of your index by the length of your ring (finger). You should end up with a number between about 0.90 and 1.10.
  6. Do it for both hands, just for interest. They should be similar, but your dominant hand is the more important number for this game.

The Results

NOTE: Ethnicity plays a big part here, so find someone else to compare with for real fun. The interpretations below are for white Caucasians. Other populations have relatively lower or higher ratios – doesn’t mean they are more or less mannish!

If you are a MAN:

  • 0.98 is the average.
  • 0.94 is macho.
  • 1.00 is more feminine.

If you are a WOMAN:

  • 1.00 is average.
  • 0.98 is more masculine.
  • 1.02 is girly.

This test for testosterone and oestrogen exposure has been demonstrated in humans since the 1930s. And, since 2006, in pheasants.

What does this mean?

IMPORTANT: Much of the evidence for the traits below is tentative or based on single trials. Don’t take anything too much to heart! These results show tendencies, not hard and fast rules. But it’s still interesting.

While the ratio interpretations above are for ethnic white Caucasians, the conclusions below hold true across ethnic boundaries.

Personality Traits

  • People with a low ratio tend to have low verbal intelligence, high numerical intelligence and low ‘agreeableness’.
  • Men with higher ratios tend to do better in exams.
  • Men with a low ratio are more likely to be aggressive. This doesn’t hold for women, though.
  • Male traders on the stock market are more likely to be profitable and stay in the business for longer if they have a low ratio. Biology and experience come out about equal as predictors of success. Which is incredible really. Men with lower ratios are better at ‘rapid visuomotor scanning,’ physical reflexes and are happier with exposure to risk.
  • Men with a low ratio are more likely to suffer from attention-deficit / hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
  • Men with a high ratio are more likely to be depressive.

Sexual Traits

  • Women with a higher ratio have a higher sexual success rate.
  • Women with a low ratio are more likely to report a ‘male sex-role’ in the bedroom.
  • Men with a low ratio tend to have a higher sperm count. Men with a high ratio are more likely to suffer germ cell failure, which sounds painful.
  • The ratio is not a good predictor of sexualilty, however – in either men or women.

Physical Traits

  • Women with lower ratios are more likely to play sports, and to play them at a high level.
  • Men with lower ratios are more physically competitive. Professional footballers have lower ratios than amateurs; footballers who played for the England national squad (i.e. ‘the best’) have lower ratios than those who haven’t.

FYI: I got all of these trials by following the footnotes in the Wikipedia article on Digit Ratio.

For what it’s worth, my ratio is 0.93. Man.

11 Tips on How to Eat and Drink Less, in 59 Seconds

This is taken from 59 Seconds by Richard Wiseman, a book that wants to make your life better – in 59 seconds or less. It is all based on scientific research. If you like that sort of thing.

  1. Start eating at normal speed, then slow down to enjoy each mouthful
  2. Drink from a tall thin glass.
  3. Place food out of sight to avoid temptation.
  4. Focus on your food – you eat more while distracted. Like popcorn at a film. Or, in my case, Marylands in front of the computer. I can inhale them now.
  5. Use smaller crockery.
  6. Keep a food diary.
  7. Use the power of regret to motivate you to get to the gym: you know you’ll feel bad if you don’t go so just do it. As someone once said. 
  8. Do not exercise in front of a mirror, you’ll get really self-conscious and do less!
  9. On the other hand, do put a mirror in your kitchen to make you aware of your body.
  10. Use more energy in your day-to-day activities.
  11. Diet packs of food just make you lose vigilance so you end up eating more.

    No Supermarket: Week 4 – The End!

    So it’s over: 31 days without spending money in a supermarket. Before the post-mortem, some details about this past week.

    Things I learnt this week:

    • Eggs are cheaper in my local shop: only £1.09 for 6, compared to £1.57 in Sainsbury’s.
    • Tesco Express (i.e. a small supermarket) stocks 26 different varieties of bottled water. You do know that you can get it out of the tap, don’t you? For free.
    • Sainsbury’s is very useful: for their extensive recycling facilities and the pharmacy where I get my (free) prescriptions. This month I have shamelessly used supermarket resources in exchange for nothing.
    • Expenditure at No Supermarkets: £17.00
    • Hypothetical expenditure at Sainsbury’s: £16.18.

    The Final Score

    • Over the course of one month shopping at No Supermarkets I spent £89.94 on food.
    • The same stuff at Sainsbury’s would have cost approximately £80.28.

    So what am I going to now it’s over?

    Will I go running back to the fluorescent-strip-light warmth of Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Lidl? Hell no.

    Was everything perfect about my month of No Supermarkets? Hell no (where the devil can I get decent, reasonably priced cheese?). Can I do it better? Hell yes. I promise myself every week that I’ll go to the local markets more often, rather than running out of food, panicking and buying soup and biscuits for dinner.

    I’ve enjoyed visiting all my local and not so local shops. I’ve built up quite a rapport with a shop around the corner from where I study. Cherry flapjack: £1.05, thank-you very much.

    But why do I like No Supermarkets so much?

    • I don’t have to queue, like I would in the Sainsbury’s just up the road. 
    • I don’t have to walk around six aisles just to find the flapjacks, like I would at the Sainsbury’s. 
    • I’m not paralysed by the choice of six thousand different oat-based snacks you can have from Sainsbury’s. Half the time my shop doesn’t even have any of the cherry ones left. So I have banana. Variety is the spice of life and all that.
    • I’m not advertised at.
    • I can have a little chat with the person who serves me and they say please and thank-you like they give a shit that I came into their shop. Because they own it.
    • It’s closer to the college where I study.
    • I like the fact that their prices are marginally cheaper than the other little shop just across the road. It reminds me that competition is alive and well. It hasn’t just been blown away by corporate supply chains.
    • I feel like the money I’m handing over for my flapjack is going to someone I know.
    • The lighting isn’t so bright. Not everything gleams. The floor might even be dirty. It’s human.

    Yeah. I like it. In fact, I like it so much that I’d feel a bit wrong going into a supermarket now. Perhaps I will for some things. Perhaps I won’t. I no longer feel restricted in my shopping habits. I no longer feel compelled towards those glowing orange lights.

    So here’s to much more No Supermarkets in 2011.


    Do you know what an arithmetic progression is? Of course you do. Our lives are a finite arithmetic progression with a common difference of one: we live one year at a time. One follows one follows one – and so on towards infinity, until, one quiet news day, a bus brings a bloody end to your smug-faced progression. Or maybe it’ll be Gog, Magog and the Lake of Fire, Sarah Palin or a CBRN incident. Oh come on: Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear.

    That’s an arithmetic progression. Fucking boring.

    Now think of a geometric progression. Are you an optimist? I’m not, I say things get worse. I say we live in a nightmarish geometric progression with a common ratio of a half. We live one life, bad enough, but then we’re back again with a life half as long. After that: another life, half as long again. Then another, again half as long – and so on into infinity until we’re dead before we have a chance to be born.

    Think of it like reincarnation. I’m going to live this life as a human, a squalid lump of rotting flesh with a heart that beats for a million ticks and then stops. One human life and then I’m dead and gone, cremated because I’m not worth the grave-space. Call it a hundred years before I’ve checked out – maybe I am an optimist; maybe I just want to make the maths easier for you. A hundred human years.

    But then I’m reincarnated. I’m not so lucky, though: I’m on a geometric progression with a common ratio of a half, remember. So this time, maybe I come back as a chimpanzee and only get fifty years before getting smeared.

    Then, before you can say “the transmigration of souls,” I’m back as a snake and only get twenty-five before kicking the calendar.

    Next, I might return as a camel for twelve and a half years before popping my clogs. I quite fancy being a chipmunk for six and a quarter years and a mouse for three and an eighth, before eating another dirt sandwich.

    I could add another eighteen months as an opossum, before rejoining our great majority. As a particularly resilient worker ant, I could manage nine months before being remaindered. I’d follow that up with a life as a worker bee, before turning up my toes to that too.

    Then I’ll race through lives as a housefly and a fruit fly until I’m back for just five minutes as a female mayfly of the species dolania americana – and thence to meet my godless maker.

    But even if I took all these reincarnated lives, from my fifty years as a chimpanzee to my five minutes as a mayfly of the species dolania americana, and added them together, I still wouldn’t get another hundred years in total.

    That’s the nature of this hellish geometric progression. Even if you kept coming back after the mayfly: for two minutes, one minute, thirty seconds, ten seconds, five seconds, two seconds, one second – you’d still never match your hundred hypothetical years as a human.

    Don’t waste it.

    How to Persuade, in 59 Seconds

    This is taken from 59 Seconds by Richard Wiseman, a book that wants to make your life better – in 59 seconds or less. It is all based on scientific research. If you like that sort of thing.

    Rewards Don’t Work!

    • Rewards don’t work. They sometimes show a short-term boost, but generally elicit the response:

    ‘I get paid for doing things I don’t like; therefore I must hate this.’

    • Occasional surprise rewards work for things that someone enjoys already. So does praise for their effort.
    • For something disliked, modest payment and feel-good comments about their behaviour works.

    Quick Tips for Persuasion

    • Sit in the middle of a group. Important people sit in the middle.
    • If you are trying to sell something, keep the name of the product simple, in other words: easy to remember and straightforward to pronounce.
    • Use simple language, not fancy words to make yourself appear intelligent.
    • Make appeals personal, story based, not based on general statistics.
    • To get more donations, use the slogan: ‘Every penny helps’ and paint your collection box red.
    • Do a favour for someone and they’ll reciprocate. Don’t put the pressure on by doing too much to begin with. Ask for the return favour soon after – otherwise the other person will forget they needed you.
    • Put a photo of a cute baby in your wallet. WTF.

    Getting Agreement

    • Getting someone to answer ‘yes’ to a series of minor questions will encourage them to say ‘yes’ when you ask the big one.
    • People like things that are introduced to them whilst they are eating a meal.
    • People are more likely to be swayed by controversial arguments if they have caffeine.
    • Save your time, persuade by rhyme.
    • Similarity works to persuade. People like people like themselves, even just sharing a first name is enough. Funny, eh? I can’t think of a Dave I didn’t get on with. And there are a lot of us around.
    • Use humour, lighten up the persuasion, get them in a good mood.

    How to Nail Your Job Interview

    Job interviews are all about persuasion and, unjustly, likeability is more important than qualifications or experience, so:

    • Find something you like about the organisation and let your opinion be known.
    • Give a genuine compliment to the interviewer.
    • Chat about a non-work-related topic that you and the interviewer find interesting.
    • Be interested – ask what type of person they’re looking for and how they’ll fit into the organisation.
    • Be enthusiastic about the position and the organisation.
    • Smile and maintain eye contact with the interviewers.
    • When you do have a weakness, announce it early to show your honesty
    • Leave something positive to the end to show your modesty.
    • If you make what feels like a major mistake, don’t panic. The chances are it is much more noticeable to you than them. An excessive response or apology will only draw attention to it.

    How to Be Likeable

    • People like you more when they do a small favour for you.
    • The occasional slip up can enhance your likeability. Warning: this only works if you risk looking too perfect, like JFK.
    • Gossip positively – the traits you gossip about will come to be associated with you!

    How to Persuade a Crowd

    • The more people who are around a person in distress, the less likely anyone is to do anything about it.
    • Break the crowd mentality by targeting one person and appeal directly with a specific request.
    • If you have a request of a group, ask each person individually, not all together.