The boy who knew too much: a child prodigy

This is the true story of scientific child prodigy, and former baby genius, Ainan Celeste Cawley, written by his father. It is the true story, too, of his gifted brothers and of all the Cawley family. I write also of child prodigy and genius in general: what it is, and how it is so often neglected in the modern world. As a society, we so often fail those we should most hope to see succeed: our gifted children and the gifted adults they become. Site Copyright: Valentine Cawley, 2006 +

Friday, June 01, 2007

Giftedness and "palm-reading"

There is a tradition in Europe of palm reading, whereby by a woman (usually) gazes into one's hand and tells of one's life, past, present and future.

Personally, I have never had any doubt that it was doubtful, however, a recent piece of research has thrown up an interesting correlation between the form of the hand and the form of the brain, above it.

It has been observed that there is a strong inverse correlation between the ratio of the index finger to the ring finger and a talent for maths. By this I mean that a SHORT index finger in relation to the ring finger, indicates a brain well-equipped for maths. On the other hand, a hand in which the ratio of index finger to ring finger is about one (they are of similar length) indicates more of a verbally inclined brain.

What is the cause of this relationship? Testosterone. Lots of it, in the womb, makes your index finger short and your brain biased towards visuo-spatial/mathematical tasks. Little of it, and relatively more estrogen, allows the brain to progress towards a verbal type brain.

Usually, this means that a boy will have the maths bias and a girl the verbal bias - but this is by no means universal. There are maths woman and verbal men - as shown by their hands.

So, is your child a maths child or a verbal child? To find out how their brain is actually biased all you have to do is look at their hands and see how long or short the index and ring fingers are. It is that simple.

(If you would like to read about Ainan Celeste Cawley, a scientific child prodigy, aged seven years and six months, or his gifted brothers, Fintan, three, and Tiarnan, sixteen months, please go to: I also write of gifted education, IQ, intelligence, child prodigy, child genius, baby genius, adult genius, savant, the creatively gifted, gifted adults and gifted children in general. Thanks.)

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posted by Valentine Cawley @ 10:20 AM 


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ooh, that bit might be useful for figuring out testosterone / estrogen levels, also. Hmm...

- Kathy

5:17 AM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Well, Kathy, it is a permanent record of the hormone history of the individual as it applied to their early days. It gives you a pretty good handle on their womb environment, for instance - and a good insight into their minds, too.

A helpful piece of research, I think.

Kind regards

3:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello again,

Have you also read about hair whorls and handedness? I did some research about left-handedness because my son will suck only his left thumb and has done so since the womb (photos to prove it!). So far, my son is ambidextrous, but I read some research that indicated a counter-clockwise hair whorl is rare, but predominant in left-handed kids. I don't remember exactly, but it was something like if you have a clockwise hair whorl, you're 90% likely to be right-handed and if you've a counter-clockwise whorl, there is a 50/50 chance you're left-handed, and then almost ALL left-handed kids have a counterclockwise whorl. Sorry I don't know exact numbers, but it's online.

My son has a counterclockwise whorl. I looked at my son's hands and he has longer ring fingers than index fingers,and it is especially longer on his left hand. I wonder if boys automatically have this trait as opposed to girls? I think I read somewhere that they found women who were criminals had longer index fingers, therefore more testosterone, but it sounds like a study that could be easily gender-biased--making women who have non-traditional traits fearsome.

10:27 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...


No I haven't read anything about whorls - I will have to check it out.

I can comment though on your son's long ring finger. This is a sign of a high testosterone exposure in the womb. He is likely therefore to be good at mathematical and visuo-spatial tasks, but less so at verbal ones.

Furthermore it is NOT an automatic characteristic of males that they should show this long ring finger and short index finger. I have seen males with a "female" pattern - with almost the same length of index and ring finger. This indicates a reduced testosterone exposure in the womb and a relatively increased estrogen exposure. Such males will have good verbal skills - but are likely to be less good at maths. Their brains, therefore, are more "female" in type - but that does not have any bearing on sexual orientation as far as I am aware.

Good luck on raising your ambidextrous son.

11:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the comments and wishes. I found one of several links that describes the hair whorls and the link to handedness.

I thought it was interesting in that lefties and righties have been found to have different characteristics/strengths. Wonder if there's a gene linking handedness to right or left brain dominance. From what I've read, most children are ambidextrous until about age 3.

I appreciate reading your blog.

1:46 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Generally speaking, a left hander will be RIGHT BRAIN DOMINANT - and vice versa. So there is a direct link between handedness and brain dominance.

Thanks for the link. I will check it out.

I am glad to hear you enjoy my blog.

5:02 PM  
Blogger Martijn said...

Hello there! Other aspects of the human hand have been co-related with certain aspects of the human brain. Some result are described at: Palm Reading Research

7:01 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Thanks for the link Martijn...I will take a look.

Best wishes

10:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

people with short left index fingers date women and people with short right index fingers date men.

6:05 AM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Thank you for the comment. I am unaware of any such correlation...I will find out more.

Kind regards

8:35 AM  
Anonymous Jenny said...

People with short left index fingers date women.and people with short right index fingers date men.

6:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

when are you going to get back to what I said before about people with short left index fingers being attracted to women,and people with short right index fingers being attracted to men?

8:51 AM  

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