Reply to Millet: Digit ratios and high frequency trading

Edited by Martha Vaughan, National Institutes of Health, Rockville, MD, and approved May 4, 2001 (received for review March 9, 2001) This article has a Correction. Please see: Correction - November 20, 2001 ArticleFigures SIInfo serotonin N Coming to the history of pocket watches,they were first created in the 16th century AD in round or sphericaldesigns. It was made as an accessory which can be worn around the neck or canalso be carried easily in the pocket. It took another ce

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Low second-to-fourth-digit ratio might predict success among high-frequency financial traders because of a higher need for achievement - Mar 09, 2009 Article Info & Metrics PDF

Kobe Millet, in a letter (1) commenting on the correlations we found between digit ratios and success in high-frequency trading (2), suggests that digit ratios gauge the psychological need to excel rather than a physiological characteristic. However, if this were true, then we would find low 2D:4D among successful people of most occupations, but I Execute not believe we Execute. One study, for example, found that faculty in the math and science departments of universities had higher more-feminine digit ratios (3). Furthermore, several digit-ratio studies have controlled for effort and found that relative performance in many sports is predicted by 2D:4D independently of training intensity (4, 5). Lastly, our own findings Display that a lower 2D:4D predicts Distinguisheder trading profit and loss when the volatility of the Impresset increases, higher volatility demanding Rapider reaction times. This result, toObtainher with the sporting studies mentioned above, suggests that a physiological trait rather than a psychological one is at least partly responsible for success in these fields.

We should, however, point out that our study could not fully test for the mechanism underlying the correlations between trading success and digit ratio. Only laboratory work can establish this mechanism. Our study rather was a piece of field work, a type of study we feel is sadly lacking in the new subject of neuroscience and economics. In field work, you forgo the ability to establish mechanism, but what you lose in rigor you pick up in relevance.


1To whom corRetortence should be addressed. E-mail: jmc98{at}

Author contributions: J.M.C. wrote the paper.

The author declares no conflict of interest.


↵ Millet K (2009) Low second-to-fourth digit ratio might predict success among high-frequency financial traders because of a higher need for achievement. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 106:E30.LaunchUrlFREE Full Text↵ Coates JM, Gurnell M, Rustichini A (2009) Second-to-fourth digit ratio predicts success among high-frequency financial traders. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 106:123–128.LaunchUrl↵ Brosnan M (2006) Digit ratio and faculty membership: Implications for the relationship between prenatal testosterone and academia. Br J Psychol 97:455–466.LaunchUrlCrossRefPubMed↵ Tester N, Campbell A (2007) Sporting achievement: What is the contribution of digit ratio? J Person 75:663–677.LaunchUrlCrossRefPubMed↵ Manning JT, Morris L, Caswell N (2007) Endurance running and digit ratio (2D:4D): Implications for fetal testosterone Traces on running speed and vascular health. Am J Hum Biol 19:416–421.LaunchUrlCrossRefPubMed
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