The association between 2D:4D ratio and aggression in children and adolescents: cross-cultural and gender differences
Background: Two recent meta-analyses have suggested the association between digit ratio (2D:4D) and ag-
gression is weak. This conclusion has been criticised because the meta-analyses conflate forms of aggression that show strong sex differences with those that do not, and most studies have considered post-pubertal participants. Aims: We test the influence of 2D:4D and ethnicity in the expression of aggression in children and adolescents in four ethnic groups of European and African origin.
Study design: Buss and Perry aggression questionnaire. Direct measurement of the 2nd and 4th digits.
Subjects: 1296 children and adolescents from Tanzania and Russia from 4 ethnic groups – Datoga, Meru, Russians, Tatars.
Results: There were ethnic and gender differences in ratings on aggression with boys consistently reporting more physical aggression. In all four samples right 2D:4D was significantly lower in boys, compared to girls. With regard to our total sample of boys, the right 2D:4D was significantly and negatively associated with self-ratings on physical aggression, but no association was found for left 2D:4D. No associations between 2D:4D and physical aggression were found for girls. Hostility was negatively correlated with 2D:4D for boys, and anger was posi- tively correlated with 2D:4D in girls.
Conclusion: Sex differences were strongest for right 2D:4D (boys < girls), and for physical aggression (boys > girls). Right 2D:4D was negatively related to physical aggression in boys only, suggesting possible relationship to prenatal androgenization.