Opinions

Giving the finger to dating statistics

(800)infidelity_colourThere are many good reasons to avoid dating someone, but science continues to find new ways for us to be far too picky about our dating prospects.

A new study claims that the length of your ring finger could indicate the likelihood that you will cheat on your partner.

The study demonstrated a correlation between the length of the ring finger relative to the index finger, or the 2D:4D ratio, and the probability of cheating.

The ratio is index finger to ring finger, so if the two fingers are close in length, the ratio will be near one. If the index finger is longer than the ring finger, the ratio will rise above one, while if the ring finger is longer, the ratio will drop below one.

A ratio below one was correlated with a higher probability to cheat.

The study’s creators argue that their results might demonstrate that there are two distinct types of individuals in each gender: those seeking long term relationships and those more likely to stray.

People with a lower digit ratio were likely exposed to more testosterone in the womb, which the study claims may be part of the effect.

And those results do not just follow gender lines.

Men and women with ring fingers significantly longer than their index fingers were more likely to cheat, while men and women with fingers closer in length were more likely to stay faithful.

But this doesn’t mean we should start every first date studying hands.

Robin Dunbar, one of the professors who led the study, was quick to point out that the differences are “subtle” and “only visible when we look at large groups of people.”

The notion that we should use statistics—based on a correlation found among a large group of people—as a dating strategy is absurd.

Imagine a woman with a long ring finger looking to put a ring on it, but being rejected by every potential long-term mate because her digit ratios are all wrong.

Even Seinfeld’s characters were less picky.

In addition, it isn’t as simple as that. For women seeking a good looking man to spend their lives with, a man with a low ratio might be the best choice, as attractiveness in men has been correlated with digit ratios.

Men looking for an assertive woman to take home to their parents may also find themselves on a date with a woman whose ring finger is long.

The point is, determining that one digit ratio is bad while the other is good is impossible. But people have spent decades trying to do just that. In fact, there are a number of side effects of finger length, according to countless studies.

The list of correlations is vast and far from one-sided: men with higher ratios may be less likely to cheat, but they have a higher risk of heart disease and lower average sperm counts, while those more likely to cheat may have better musical ability and longer penises.

None of these statistics hold that every woman with a low ratio will cheat, and you have no real way of knowing who you’re dating until you take the chance and actually date them.

Science can give us fun statistics with strange associations between finger lengths and sexual behaviours, but as the researchers themselves say, these are analyses of large groups of people.

When you’re on a first date, keep your eyes on their face, not their hands. The person you’re with isn’t summed up by loose correlations associated with their fingers, and if you want to know whether your potential mate is looking for something long-term, consider asking them.

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