Testosterone at your fingertips: Digit ratios (2D:4D and rel2) as predictors of courtship-related consumption intended to acquire and retain mates


Published: 23Mar2016

Authors: Nepomuceno, M.V., Saad, G., Stenstrom, E., Mendenhall, Z.Iglesias, F.

Publication: Journal of Consumer Psychology 


While hormones have been shown to impact a wide range of behaviors, little is known regarding their influence on consumer behavior. The current research examines the association between digit ratios and courtship-related consumption. Digit ratios (2D:4D and rel2) are indicators of prenatal testosterone exposure and are assessed by measuring finger length. In Study 1, masculinized digit ratios (low digit ratios, high prenatal testosterone) in men were associated with greater courtship-related consumption to acquire mates, and this association was stronger for men with high mating confidence. In women, feminized digit ratios (high digit ratios, low prenatal testosterone) were associated with greater courtship-related consumption to acquire mates. In Study 2, men with masculinized digit ratios engaged in greater courtship-related consumption by offering romantic gifts as a means of retaining mates. In women, feminized digit ratios were associated with greater romantic gift giving. Our findings suggest that high prenatal testosterone in men leads to greater courtship-related consumption, whereas low prenatal testosterone leads to greater courtship-related consumption in women.

Read full article: Journal of Consumer Psychology, April 1, 2016