Psychology ETDs

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Like faces, hands and forearms may provide cues to quality and sex-typical hormone exposure used in mate choice. To date second-to-fourth digit ratio is the only measure that has been used to evaluate hand attractiveness. Two sexually dimorphic components were extracted from measurements taken on 62 male and 68 female hands and forearms. These components were combined to create an objective hand masculinity index. Sex-typical scores on this objective measure were associated with sexually dimorphic facial features, greater symmetry, sex typical 2D:4D (low for men and high for women) in Anglo participants and low finger ridge counts in both sexes. Attractiveness ratings and attribute judgments were made on photographs of the dorsal view of target hands and arms. Additional ratings of hands only and arms only were obtained for comparison. Subjectively rated and objectively measured masculine hands and arms were judged most attractive in men, while feminine hands and arms were preferred in women. Within men, an analysis of separate hand and arm ratings indicated that a combination of masculine hands with less masculine forearms was most attractive, possibly indicating a trade-off between quality and parental investment by the opposite sex. Men with male typical hand index scores, low 2D:4D and high ridge counts were rated as more masculine, dominant, intelligent, healthy and as good parents. Women with feminine hands, high 2D:4D and high ridge counts were rated as more feminine. Results were mostly consistent with similar research on faces. Interesting findings regarding female dermatoglyphics are discussed along with limitations and future directions.

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First Committee Member (Chair)

Thornhill, Randy

Second Committee Member

Dougher, Mike




Hand--Sex differences, Forearm--Sex differences, Sexual attraction.

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