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A woman's sense of direction


Researchers have now found a simple way to spot whether a woman can navigate or not.

It is a known stereotype that men cannot multi-task and women have no sense of direction - but a new study has shown that one can tell how good a woman's sense of direction is just by looking at her fingers.

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have found that women whose ring finger is shorter than their index finger are not good at spatial awareness - but those whose ring fingers are of similar height to their index finger are better at navigation.

They explain that finger length reflects exposure to different level of hormones in the womb - men tend to have long ring fingers because they were exposed to greater levels of testosterone. But women tend to have ring and index fingers of similar length. It is believed that testosterone plays an essential role in the way the brain develops in the early stages of life.

The MIT study was made up of 82 male and female students. After finger lengths were recorded, they had to undertake a series of computerised navigation tasks.

They watched a computer game clip that was set among fields and rivers and were asked to memorise the exact location of a tiny blue crystal. Then they were given 20 seconds to navigate their way back to where the crystal had been.

The findings showed that women performed significantly better and were more accurate in navigation tasks if their ring finger - like men - was longer than their index finger.

The study concludes 'These results demonstrate for the first time that a sex difference in the use of directional cues - ie the sense of direction - is associated with more male-like digit ratio.'

So, ladies, look at your hands.

Details from Medical Daily, and the full report at PloS One below.

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