A new study is getting fans of Freakonomics in a tizzy. In looking at the performance of 44 London traders, a researcher concluded that those individuals with longer ring fingers performed better than peers whose hands were more evenly proportioned.
The logic: Longer ring fingers are a sign of higher testosterone levels, and higher testosterone levels correlates with one’s appetite for risk. Ergo, a trader with longer fingers will take more risk.
Of course, more risk does not necessarily equal better performance. Sure, if the data was collected in 2007 then yes, more risk probably equals more return. But somehow we’re guessing that if they repeated this study, looking over just the past year, those same long ring-fingered traders would have been the first to have blown up. Just a guess.
What’s more, we already know that higher testosterone increases one’s appetite for risk, so what good does it do to show that people with a physical feature associated with higher testosterone take on more risk. Would there be any value in showing that men with broader shoulders, higher cheekbones and a squarer jawline also took on more risk? No, it’d just show the same thing we already know.