Second-to-fourth digit ratio and impulsivity: a comparison between offenders and nonoffenders.
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Personality characteristics, particularly impulsive tendencies, have long been conceived as the primary culprit in delinquent behavior. One crucial question to emerge from this line of work is whether impulsivity has a biological basis. To test this possibility, 44 male offenders and 46 nonoffenders completed the Eysenck Impulsivity Questionnaire, and had their 2D∶4D ratio measured. Offenders exhibited smaller right hand digit ratio measurements compared to non-offenders, but higher impulsivity scores. Both impulsivity and 2D∶4D ratio measurements significantly predicted criminality (offenders vs. nonoffenders). Controlling for education level, the 2D∶4D ratio measurements had remained a significant predictor of criminality, while impulsivity scores no longer predicted criminality significantly. Our data, thus, indicates that impulsivity but not 2D∶4D ratio measurements relate to educational attainment. As offenders varied in their number of previous convictions and the nature of their individual crimes, we also tested for differences in 2D∶4D ratio and impulsivity among offenders. Number of previous convictions did not correlate significantly with the 2D∶4D ratio measurements or impulsivity scores. Our study established a link between a biological marker and impulsivity among offenders (and lack thereof among non-offenders), which emphasise the importance of studying the relationship between biological markers, impulsivity and criminal behavior.
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