Digit Ratios Predict Risk Aversion For Both Sexes

Ellen Garbarino, University of Sydney, Australia
Robert Slonim, University of Sydney, Australia
Justin Sydnor, Case Western Reserve University, USA
Many important consumption decisions involve risk. We explore the biological basis of risk taking using an emerging measure of prenatal androgrens, the ratio between the length of the second and fourth digits (2D:4D). A smaller 2D:4D ratio has been linked to higher exposure to prenatal testosterone relative to estradoil. The 2D:4D ratio is a sexually dimorphic marker, with men having lower ratios than women on average. In a task with real financial stakes, both men and women with smaller 2D:4D ratios chose significantly riskier options. For those at the extreme ends of the digit-ratio distribution the gender difference in risk-taking disappears.
[ to cite ]:
Ellen Garbarino, Robert Slonim, and Justin Sydnor (2010) ,"Digit Ratios Predict Risk Aversion For Both Sexes", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 37, eds. Margaret C. Campbell, Jeff Inman, and Rik Pieters, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 699-699 .