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Hands of a Risk-Taking Woman

Think you’ve got what it takes to be a derivatives trader? Check your hands

While more men than women opt for high-risk finance careers, a recent study from the University of Chicago and Northwestern University has found that this could be down to testosterone rather than social conditioning, anti-social hours, old boys’ networks or anything else.

One of the measures of the hormone used was the difference in length between participants’ ring finger and their index finger.
Paola Sapienza of Kellogg School of Management, Luigi Zingales and Robert McCormick at Chicago’s Booth School of Business and Dario Maestripieri, a professor in Comparative Human Development, asked 500 Booth MBA students to choose 15 times between a high-risk, high-return outcome and a steady return.
They found that men and women with similar levels of testosterone have the same level of financial risk aversion.
The link between risk aversion and testosterone also predicted career choices after graduation, with students who were high in testosterone choosing riskier careers in finance.
Although it’s known as the male hormone, some women have been shown to have more testosterone than the average male. 
As one indicator of testosterone, the authors looked at the ratio of the length of the ring finger to the index finger. The longer your ring finger, the more of the hormone you were exposed to in the womb.
The average woman’s ring finger is shorter than her index finger, while the opposite is true for men. If, as a female, you have a longer ring than index finger you can be pretty sure that risk-taking lies in your nature.
Does this mean you can read your financial future in your hands? Not necessarily.  The level of testosterone in participants’ saliva was found to have a much stronger correlation with risk-loving behavior than the finger ratio, so your current level of the hormone has more influence than your exposure to testosterone as your brain was developing.
But it’s still worth checking the ring fingers of your competitors, so you know how much gambling and drinking to expect.


Saturday 12th September 2009, 20.58 (UTC)


Newsflash: Caster Simonya, South African athlete, has decided to accept a position as a Senior Trader on the Inflation Swaps desk at Gildman Sochs Bank in New York. Announcing her retirement from athletics, the World Championship Women's 800m gold medal winner stated: " Yeah, I ran so much faster than all the other guys out there in the women's race that I did not think there was anything more to prove in running. And as my index finger is actually longer than my middle finger, I think I will be rather adept at the testosterone and hormone fuelled atmosphere at GS." Commenting on the appointment, Sooper Gaeke, Head of Derivatives trading at GS, said: "Caster is ideally suited to GS and we're happy to have it on board. And given the more liberal atmosphere and laws here in NYC, I am confident that Caster will have a ring on that short finger very soon." Reporting: FK

Monday 14th September 2009, 14.20 (UTC)


When I look at the palm of my hand I've a feminine level of testosterone, however when looking at the back view of my hand my ring finger stands taller than my index. What am I?

Monday 14th September 2009, 23.28 (UTC)


Dear Mr Confused-Hands-Sexuality - can you send us a photo of your hands? We might start a series on hand types...

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