read the article and look at your hand, please:)

May 23, 2007 at 04:59 PM · invariably i ask you violinists to look at your hand and report back to see if there is a trend of index vs ring finger length. haha. too funny.

Here's the article

Replies (27)

May 23, 2007 at 05:17 PM · Well, I'm an outlier: a woman with a significantly longer ring finger, who scored better on the verbal part of the SAT than the math.

But a longer ring finger seems like it's good for playing the violin and viola--it makes extensions easier.

May 23, 2007 at 05:28 PM · Who can find the mistake in the article???

Sixth paragraph...

May 23, 2007 at 05:28 PM · My ring finger is longer but my math skills are suspect.

May 23, 2007 at 05:36 PM · good call william. may be due to writer's short index finger?:)

do you violinists think that violin playing is more associated with verbal skills or math, if you have to choose one? (just know that some of you will say both:)

karen, with your background in higher education, if i had to place a bet on it, i would have picked longer ring finger anyway:)

May 23, 2007 at 05:45 PM · Well, whatever the length of one's finger, one's will and one's mind and one's spirit can overcome or even change the natural tendency one may have, even if it means swimming against a current.

May 23, 2007 at 05:47 PM · Hahaha...I just checked my hands and I must be some kind of a freak! My right index is definitely much longer than my right ring finger, but the difference in size is much less noticeable on my left hand. Al, what does this mean ;-)

May 23, 2007 at 05:51 PM · My index and ring are the same length, good for both math and verbal, but clearly bad for violin.

May 23, 2007 at 05:50 PM · bernado, funny you say that, cause there are apparently 2 freaks,,,so far.

my left hand: ring finger significantly longer than the index.

my right hand: index and ring even length.

disclosure: actually go a 800 on math, but low 600's in verbal (partially due to my ESL i guess)

May 23, 2007 at 06:57 PM · I just checked my hands and my index fingers are about .5 cm longer on both hands! ;) Now we'll just wait a year or two for those SAT scores...

May 23, 2007 at 09:25 PM · As a clinical psychologist, I need to say something reasonable here. This article raises so many logical, scientific, and statistical questions that I really don't know where to begin. But I would be highly skeptical of accepting any of these results and conclusions as stated.

Just off the top of my head, I have the following reactions:

1. How many children were involved in this study? How were they divided into what groups? What is the overall experimental design here? The article throws a lot of conclusions and results around with no specific data.

2. What were the exact ration lengths of the fingers involved and the exact SAT scores? It should be pointed out that even if the statistics indicate a trend or be in the predicted direction, that doesn't mean that they in fact have reached a level of statistical significance.

3. Were any subjects excluded from the results of the study because they did not fit the pattern? (You'd be amazed how often this happens)

4. Where is the evidence for the assertion that testosterone and estrogen in the womb have these specific effects on these fingers? Is this just a theory? And if there are studies supporting this conclusion, how well were THEY conducted? How were levels of testosterone and estrogen in the womb measured?

5. Therefore, it is quite a leap of faith to assume that the finger-length ratios are a "proxy" for the levels of testosterone and estrogen exposure. Where's the proof of THAT? So, you can't talk about hormone levels and finger-length ratios as if they are the same thing; it is a statistical and logical fallacy.

6. This reads like basically a correlational study. A statistical correlation is NOT a proof of cause and effect; that's stated in every elementary mathematical/statistical/scientific textbook.

7. Even if they can predict SAT performance by looking at finger length, the SAT itself is not a good predictor of college and university grades. In fact, it is a terrible predictor (having co-authored 2 books on academic achievement, I know something about this).

8. Even if everything they say is absolutely correct, what in the world does this have to do with playing the violin?

9. Overall, my reaction to this article is to extend and examine my own finger very very carefully (but it's not the index finger, ring finger, pinky, or thumb). Without any specifics, the article reads like junk science.

Cordially, Sandy

May 23, 2007 at 09:57 PM · Longer ring finger by far. Math rocks!

I think both math and verbal skills are equally important when playing music, as well as a few other skills.

May 24, 2007 at 12:08 AM · Hey, this saves state gov'ts tons of $$! We can skip all standardized tests and just track our students based on the length of their fingers. Does this include the length of those special fancy nails my middle school students like to wear? I checked mine, and they are the same length-what does that mean? I was valedictorian-I thought it was because I worked hard. To think it was all in the length of my fingers....

May 24, 2007 at 12:53 AM · Greetings,

mine are both the same lenght so I am good at talking about math...

Cheer,s

Buri

May 24, 2007 at 12:59 AM · Does that mean if your math skills are lousy stretching your ring finger will make you another Einstein? That might hurt, but be worth it. Ok, my wife is pulling my ring finger with plumber's pliers. Ouch! That smarts. What was that snap and crack? Wow, it's really longer. Let's check this out. Here goes...E=MC3, errr, um, Sander Marcus might be right, its' junk.

May 24, 2007 at 01:26 AM · Sandy, you made a lot of very good points. As a former practicing scientist, I agree with you heartily. I'll add a few comments:

1. How was finger length measured? This my sound silly, but look at you fingers with palms up and palms down. Consider how much flap or flab there is in the pocket between the fingers.

2. I think the weakest point is the measurement of estrogen and testosterone in the womb. I don't know what methodology they used and how valid it is, but I'm skeptical. I used to measure all kinds of things in body fluids for psychiatrists who were looking for biological correlates for mental illness. In all honesty, I can now say their research sucked.

3. The best test of this theory would be its predictive value. Measure estrogen and testosterone in the womb in a valid way. Wait for the kids to be born and grow to a certain age, and then measure their finger lengths. Keep measuring their finger lengths for years and see whether the ratio changes. Compare finger length ratio to SAT scores.

4. How relevant are SAT scores to anything? They're probably best correlated with how well the student studied and was taught for the SATs.

BTW, the ratio of the finger lengths for me is close to 1. I worked for years as a scientist. I love to read and write. I play and teach the violin. What, if anything, does all that mean?

May 24, 2007 at 08:47 AM · Freak 3. Non dominant L hand : ring finger longer. Dominant R hand, Index finger longer, but not by as much as the ring finger is longer than the index on Left (that's a clumsy sentence, I know).

I'm in Australia. I didn't sit a SAT. I have no idea what my verbal vs maths skills are.

Isn't this stuff all plastic anyway?

May 24, 2007 at 10:06 AM · You have plastic hands? Hmm.

May 24, 2007 at 11:27 AM · hey people, don't take this too seriously:), on methodology/design even validity, particularly since none of us actually read the study. i put it up there since some of you are obscessed with your hands.

sharelle, you are made to play the freaking violin! left longer ring finger and right longer index finger imo is the best combo out there:)

SATs fyi is basically a college entrance exam in other countries.

May 24, 2007 at 11:46 AM · Made for the violin....and golf. I hit a duck once in golf. Ahh, the memories.

May 24, 2007 at 03:17 PM · Thank-you Sandy, I agree.

For the record, on both hands my ring finger is significantly longer than my index finger. When I took the SAT (back in Canada) for entrance to schools in the US, I scored a near perfect in literacy on the SAT and bombed the math. But I always got very good grades in math when I worked hard. Why did I bomb it? I didn't study. I didn't even know what an SAT was when I went in the for exam.

How does the saying go? "Genius is 1% smarts, 99% hard work."

May 24, 2007 at 04:38 PM · Hi, all: Just for the record, my index and ring fingers are just about the same length, and it was so many years ago that I took the SAT that I don't even remember how I did. However, my middle finger is the longest of the bunch, the most prominent, and the one I am inclined to feature when I read an article like the one we're talking about.

However, I have just run across some similar studies in the literature that have some very interesting findings. If your left nostril is even slightly larger than your right nostril, you'll play the Paganini Caprices better than you'll play Twinkle. I have it on good authority.

Cheers to all.

:) Sandy

May 24, 2007 at 04:39 PM · My daughter also has a longer ring finger than index finger, and did perfectly average, i.e., pretty badly, on the math and did very well on the verbal and writing.

I'm seeing a trend here, a "violinist's aberration."

May 24, 2007 at 05:08 PM · Meaningless.

Whatever the effect--if true-- it's far, far overshadowed by parenting, culture and personality. I'm sure phrenologists had some pretty convincing "evidence" as well.

May 24, 2007 at 07:46 PM · ok.. on one hand they are even and the other the index finger is bigger.. I'm not that good in math but can count to 2, 4, 6, and the occasional 12.. which is good in music.

Never heard of looking at fingers for intellegence.. but have heard it for other things in men... : )

May 24, 2007 at 08:59 PM · I just read the first paragraph. My ring finger is longer than my index and I scored much better on literacy than math on the ACT which is similar to the SAT.

May 25, 2007 at 03:32 PM · Both my wife and I have noticed that our left ring fingers are longer than our right. We bagan to wonder of this is a symptom of violin playing?

My left ring finger is, at most, 1/8th of an inch shorter. The right is more than a 1/4 inch shorter. This probably explains why I am not a huge fan of math.

May 25, 2007 at 03:37 PM · All my LH fingers except the thumb are longer than the RH ones – violin playing lengthens fingers?

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