The Relationship between the 2D:4D Ratio and Emotional Abilities in Adults with Attention/Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder
Tottenham, Laurie Sykes
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Emotional recognition is an essential component of interpersonal relationships. Recent research has suggested that high prenatal androgen exposure is later associated with impaired social and emotional skills in children and adults. Related to this, a separate area of research has found that individuals with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) demonstrate impaired processing of social and emotional information compared to matched samples of non-ADHD controls. Further, both attentional and emotional abilities have shared neural correlates. Of these shared regions some are known to be sexually dimorphic in adult men and women. In addition, research employing animal models has shown these regions to contain high densities of sex hormone receptors during early development. This study will examine whether emotional and social abilities are related to prenatal testosterone (T) exposure in a sample of adults diagnosed with ADHD. T exposure will be estimated using the 2D:4D ratio (ratio between the length of the index and ring fingers). This ratio is typically higher in females, suggesting a relatively low prenatal T exposure, and lower in males, suggesting a relatively high prenatal T exposure. Participants will be given numerous measures assessing social and emotional abilities, including a series of self-report questionnaires, a facial emotion recognition task, and an auditory emotion recognition task. It is predicted that individuals with ADHD will have lower 2D:4D ratios and lower scores on the social and emotional ability measures in comparison to our control sample of non-ADHD individuals. The examination of social and emotional abilities and its relation to high prenatal androgen exposure in a sample of adults diagnosed with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity-Disorder.