New Scientist on palmistry

I once knew a rocket scientist (really) who read palms. He could tell a lot from your hand. It is easy to dismiss palm readers as flim-flam artists (which most are), but it also blinds you to the possibility that there is anything resembling a scientific basis for palmistry.

The New Scientist is reporting that men with ring and index fingers of equal lengths tend to have been exposed to more estrogen in the womb, and have more extensive development of the right side of the brain. Moreover, they found that male researchers in the sciences tend to have index and ring fingers of equal length, much more common among females.

On the other hand (so to speak) those who have index fingers slightly shorter than ring fingers, much more common for men (and what I have), tend to thrive in the social sciences. Females in the social sciences also have similar “man hands.”

Clearly, we need to throw out the GRE and do palm prints for our incoming students.

The interesting thing is that palmists have, for centuries, examined and compared the length of fingers for an indication of personality. I wonder how long it will take before we find evidence that other forms of determination (joss sticks, bones, tarot) actually have some predictive value.

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  1. Posted 10/27/2004 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

    So how do you measure your fingers anyway? Mine seem to take turns at being longer than each other. Very unruly behaviour. Perhaps that means I’m in the humanities?

  2. Posted 10/27/2004 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

    That’s a very science-oriented question! The better question is which of your fingers feels longer? Which fingers do your friends think are longer? What is “longness,” and how does one experience it?

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