Scientists find connection between pre-natal hormones and attitude to tech

Technophobia ‘begins in the womb’

An aversion to modern technology can be detected before we are even born, scientists claim.

According to researchers at the University of Bath, levels of pre-natal testosterone exposure, thought to affect the way the brain develops and understands technology, can be detected in the womb.

Pre-natal testosterone exposure was found to be higher in computer science students who achieved better scores in computer programming assessments.

The level of exposure can be measured by analysing the ratio of the length of the index finger compared to the ring finger. Those with a relatively longer ring finger, which indicates higher pre-natal testosterone, scored higher on their university course.

150 computer science students were tested over a number of years, and the researchers also looked at 119 social science students and found that those with a shorter ring finger tended to feel more anxious about using technology.

Dr Mark Brosnan, who led the study, said: “Lower levels of pre-natal testosterone exposure were related to anxieties concerning the use of new technologies, such as computers. We have come across many technophobes during our research and this will help us better address their computer-related anxieties.”

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