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Mediating variables in the relationship between 2D: 4D digit ratio and sports achievement rank

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Abstract

This study investigated the extent to which 2D: 4D digit ratio, mental rotation ability and the personality variables of social-potency, achievement, harm-avoidance and control are effective predictors of achievement rank in team sports and also whether the relationship between digit ratio and rank can be explained by the influence of these predictor variables. The extent to which these correlations are moderated by participant sex and sport contact intensity was also investigated. Basketball, football and rugby players (ranging in standard from 'social' to 'international' level) as well as non-sport participants were recruited from four universities in the north-east of England. Each participant completed an inventory of personal details (such as age, weight, height and ethnicity), a personality inventory and a mental rotation test. Right-hand photocopies were taken to allow calculations of the participants' digit ratios. Non-sports players' scores did not significantly differ from the sports participants, with the exception of digit ratio and weight. Digit ratio, social-potency, height and weight were found to be significant discriminators of the sports players' rank and sex. The influence of digit ratio upon athlete achievement rank was found to be highly independent of the other predictor variables. The 'years played' and 'hours spent training/playing per week' of the sports participants, were found to be the best predictors of athlete achievement rank as well as having the greatest mediating influence on digit ratios correlation with rank, of all the other variables (digit ratio was still significantly associated with rank after removing these effects).

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