Lawrence published a scientific paper in the peer-reviewed journal The European Journal of Psychiatry which can be viewed on Science Direct or the PDF below.
The paper is a systematic review of the published literature on biological markers “biomarkers” on the hand, namely; palmar creases (hand lines), dermatoglyphics (fingerprints) and the digit ratio (finger lengths of the index and right finger). A systematic review is at the apex of the research evidence hierarchy and “uses explicit, systematic methods to collate and synthesise findings of studies that address a clearly formulated question”. In this review Lawrence address whether biomarkers on the hands (palm lines, dermatoglyphics and finger lengths) can indicate mental illness – which they can!
The article presents the scientific evidence for the utility of hand biomarkers in the indication of mental illness. It gives a scientific foundation for analysing hands in relation to mental disorders and provides a robust platform for future research exploring hands in relation to other areas of psychology, personality, health and therapy.
• Diagnosing mental health conditions mainly relies on subjective clinical evaluation and identifying
biomarkers for mental health conditions could be valuable for predicting, diagnosis and
• Three primary subfields of hand biomarkers have been examined for their biometric relationship
to mental illness: dermatoglyphics, digit ratio and palmar creases
• A systematic literature search was conducted through Web of Science, Scopus and MEDLINE for
the three fields of biomarkers in conjunction with mental illnesses in accordance with PRISMA
• 29 relevant papers were selected for the review (dermatoglyphics = 6, digit ratio = 12, palmar
crease = 11) comprising a total of 13,030 participants.
• Palmar crease research most consistently showed a correlation to mental illness, with all studies
producing significant and corresponding findings.
• Dermatoglyphics presented significant findings, although there were specific biometric
inconsistencies in some results.
• Digit ratio produced the least consistent results, with some non-significant and contrasting
• The evidence of this review suggests that all three fields can indicate mental disorders.