Laterality: Asymmetries of Body, Brain and Cognition

Παρασκευή, 21 Ιουλίου 2017 14:33

Digit ratio (2D:4D) in individuals with intellectual disability: Investigating the role of testosterone in the establishment of cerebral lateralisation

Antonia Ypsilanti, Maria Ganou, Irene Koidou, and George Grouios


Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece


It has been proposed that the ratio of the second to fourth digits (2D:4D) may be a proxy of prenatal androgen exposure, such that low 2D:4D ratio is associated with high prenatal androgen exposure. The aim of the present study was to measure the 2D:4D ratio in 100 right- and non-right-handed individuals with intellectual disability of unknown idiopathic origin and compare them to a control group of 85 typically developing individuals. We also sought to determine whether sexually dimorphic traits, such as 2D:4D ratio, tend to be more pronounced on the right hand of these groups than on the left. Our results indicated that males had lower 2D:4D ratios than females in both groups, and individuals with intellectual disability had higher ratios only in their right hand compared to typically developing individuals. Further, right-handed individuals had lower ratios in both hands compared to non-right-handed individuals. Our results are discussed in relation to the ‘‘Geschwind-Behan-Galaburda theory of cerebral lateralisation’’ and Witelson’s callosal hypothesis that differential levels of prenatal testosterone exposure will cause atypical cerebral laterality in individuals with intellectual disability, and the suggestion that this atypicality will become evident in the 2D:4D ratio (Manning, Scutt, Wilson, & Lewis-Jones, 1998).