It's a known stereotype that men cannot multi-task and women have no sense of direction, but scientists have now found a simple way to spot whether a woman can navigate or not.
A new study revealed that just people can tell how good a woman's sense of direction is just by looking at her fingers.
Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge found that women whose ring finger is shorter than their index finger are much more likely to rely on satellite navigation technology to find their way round, whereas women whose ring fingers are of similar height to their index finger are better at navigation.
Researchers explain that finger length reflects exposure to different level of hormones in the womb, explaining why men tend to have long ring fingers because they were exposed greater levels of testosterone in the developmental stage and women tend to have ring and index fingers that are similar in length.
Scientists also believe that testosterone plays an essential role in the way the brain develops in the early stages of life.
The study was made up of 82 male and female students. After researchers measured the length of the student's fingers, they had the students play a series of computerized navigational tasks.
Participants were asked to watch a computer game clip that was set among fields and rivers. Researchers asked students to memorize the exact location of a tiny blue crystal that appeared on the screen, and participants were given 20 seconds to try to navigate their way back to where the crystal had been.
At the end of the task the crystal reappears briefly to show participants how close they came to determining the exact location of the blue crystal.
The findings, published in Plos One, showed that women performed significantly better and were more accurate in the navigation tasks if their ring finger, like men, was longer than their index finger.
"These results demonstrate for the first time that a sex difference in the use of directional cues, i.e., the sense of direction, is associated with more male-like digit ratio," researchers wrote in the study.
Researchers said a person's ring finger length is usually determined by the 14th week of gestation, depending on the level testosterone exposure.
Higher levels of testosterone exposure in the womb increases the chances that a baby boy will grow up with a slightly longer ring finger on each hand, and higher levels of estrogen exposure will result in shorter ring fingers.
Previous studies have also linked finger length to prostate cancer risk, athletic ability in men and arthritis and sexuality in women.
Published by Medicaldaily.com