Digit ratio (2D:4D), academic performance in computer science and computer-related anxiety


Brosnan, M., Gallop, V., Iftikhar, N. and Keogh, E., 2011. Digit ratio (2D:4D), academic performance in computer science and computer-related anxiety. Personality and Individual Differences, 51 (4), pp. 371-375.

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Being able to use information communication technology (ICT) effectively has become an essential element of participation within an increasingly digital culture. However, there are differences in participation within this digital culture. Prenatal testosterone exposure is thought to influence the development of numeric capabilities and relate to levels of anxiety, both of which contribute towards engagement with ICT. This study examined whether an index of prenatal exposure to testosterone, digit ratio (2D:4D), is related to successful involvement within a computer-technology context – performance in a Java programming course. Three studies (N = 73,75,65) identified a consistent negative correlation between 2D:4D digit ratio and attainment (r ≈ −0.2). A fourth study (N = 119) found that 2D:4D digit ratio positively correlated with two indices of computer-related anxieties, as well as anxiety sensitivity (r = 0.32/0.51). These results suggest that males and females who have been exposed to higher levels of testosterone within the womb perform better upon academic assessments of Java-related programming ability within computer science education, and have lower levels of computer-related anxieties outside computer science education. Thus, the 2D:4D index of prenatal testosterone exposure correlated with the two factors that directly impact upon ICT engagement, which is increasingly essential to effectively participate within educational and occupational environments.


Item Type Articles
CreatorsBrosnan, M., Gallop, V., Iftikhar, N. and Keogh, E.
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DepartmentsFaculty of Humanities & Social Sciences > Psychology
Research CentresCentre for Applied Autism Research
ID Code21479


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