Prenatal testosterone, visual-spatial memory, and numerical skills in young children

Rebecca Bull*, Wendy Anne Davidson, Emily Nordmann

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


Lateralization of the brain is strongly influenced by prenatal androgens, with differential exposure thought to account for cognitive sex differences. This study investigated sex and individual differences and relationships between 2D:4D (the ratio of the 2nd to 4th digit [digit ratio] as a proxy indicator of prenatal testosterone exposure), visual-spatial memory, and numerical skills in 5-year-old children. No sex differences were found in any of the numerical or visual-spatial tasks. Visual-spatial memory was positively correlated with arithmetic score. Girls with a lower (more masculinised) 2D:4D had better number sense and visual-spatial skills, whilst boys with lower 2D:4D had better arithmetic skills. This suggests that prenatal testosterone exposure may have differential effects on the visual-spatial and numerical skills of girls and boys.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)246-250
Number of pages5
JournalLearning and Individual Differences
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • digit ratio
  • 2D:4D
  • visual-spatial
  • mathematics
  • number
  • testosterone


Dive into the research topics of 'Prenatal testosterone, visual-spatial memory, and numerical skills in young children'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this