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Digit ratio (2D:4D) and social integration: An effect of prenatal sex hormones



The position people occupy in their social and professional networks is related to their social status and has strong effects on their access to social resources. While attainment of particular positions is driven by behavioral traits, many biological factors predispose individuals to certain behaviors and motivations. Prior work on exposure to fetal androgens (measured by second-to-fourth digit ratio, 2D:4D) shows that it correlates with behaviors and traits related to social status, which might make people more socially integrated. However, it also predicts certain anti-social behaviors and disorders associated with lower socialization. We explore whether 2D:4D correlates with network position later in life and find that individuals with low 2D:4D become more central in their social environment. Interestingly, low 2D:4D males are more likely to exhibit high betweenness centrality (they connect separated parts of the social structure), while low 2D:4D females are more likely to exhibit high in-degree centrality (more people name them as friends). These gender-specific differences are reinforced by transitivity (the likelihood that one's friends are also friends with one another): neighbors of low 2D:4D men tend not to know each other; the contrary is observed for low 2D:4D women. Our results suggest that biological predispositions influence the organization of human societies and that exposure to prenatal androgens influences different status seeking behaviors in men and women.



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Digit ratio (2D:4D) and social integration: An effect of prenatal sex hormones



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