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Differential Correlations of Digit Ratio (2D:4D) with Aggressive Dominance and Sociable Dominance Are Not Demonstrated: Commentary on van der Meij, Almela, Buunk, Dubbs, and Salvador (2012, Aggressive Behavior, 38(3), 208–212)


Correspondence to: Martin Voracek, Department of Basic Psychological Research and Research Methods, School of Psychology, University of Vienna, Liebiggasse 5, Room 03-46, A-1010 Vienna, Austria.



Van der Meij, Almela, Buunk, Dubbs, and Salvador reported that, among young men (N = 84), a putative biomarker for prenatal androgen exposure (second-to-fourth digit ratio; 2D:4D) correlated negatively to self-reported aggressive dominance, but not to sociable dominance. A critical examination of this allegedly differential effect shows it to be unsupported and unlikely to be replicable. Statistical power of the sample was so low that the nominally significant correlation coefficient with aggressive dominance and the nominally not significant one with sociable dominance actually did not differ significantly from each other. Apart from these data-analytic and statistical power issues, a number of further substantive comments are raised, including conceptual and study design issues, 2D:4D measurement and reliability issues, and biased presentation (i.e. selective citation) of prior related research evidence. More generally, it is suggested that 2D:4D research would benefit from adopting publishing standards requiring discovery and replication samples (i.e. successful replication of novel findings by the initial researchers themselves), as is now increasingly required for publishing in various fields of inconsistent, hard-to-replicate evidence. Aggr. Behav. 39:85–87, 2013. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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