DMIT: truth or pseudoscience?
You might have heard these days that you can discover your child's 'innate' (in-born) characteristics by using a software test called DMIT (Dermatoglyphics Multiple Intelligence Test). This has become increasingly popular in the East Asian countries like Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Taiwan, India, Nepal, etc.
WHAT IS DERMATOGLYPHICS?
Dermatoglyphics is the scientific analysis or study of finger carvings or prints (from Latin derma: skin and glyph: carving. It is associated with the branches of science like embryology, genetics, forensics, neurology etc. It has its extensive use to distinguish between normal brain functioning and disorders like schizophrenia, Down’s syndrome, etc. Originally, fingerprint was firstly worked upon by Sir Francis Galton. But ‘Dr. Harold Cummins coined the word and introduced scientific fingerprint analysis in America. Fingerprint starts to form as early as 10th week of gestation when we're inside the mother's womb. But their proper development occurs from 13th to 19th week. The neocortex of our brain which is responsible for higher functions like intelligence starts developing at the same stage too.
WHAT IS MULTIPLE INTELLIGENCE?
According to Prof. Dr. Howard Gardner, of Harvard University, the intellectual abilities of a person or a child can be distinguished into nine types namely: linguistic, mathematical/logical, visual, kinesthetic, musical, interpersonal, intrapersonal, naturalistic and existential. This is in contrast with the old idea that a person has just 3 abilities of learning: visual, auditory and kinesthetic. The presence of multiple personalities, according to him, is in all human being but in different proportions. In daily life, if is reflected as hobby, aim, satisfaction, etc. for ex. a child having musical intelligence tends to love music at an early age.
WHAT IS 'DMIT'?
DMIT is the commercial spin-off word for 'test of multiple intelligence by studying fingerprints'. Actually, it is the combined form of fingerprint analysis and intelligence of a person. It is based on the theory of Prof. Dr. Howard Gardner. It was first started in Singapore by a couple and their Chinese counterpart in the early 90s. They combined Howard's theory to generate a pattern and then incorporated into software to be used commercially. Till date, the name DMIT has spread to Asian countries like Malaysia, Taiwan, Singapore, Thailand, India, Nepal etc. but somewhat less heard of in UK, Australia, USA, etc. It claims to discover the following in a human at an accuracy of 99.5%:
- Innate or in-born characteristics
- Proportion of multiple intelligence inside them
- learning styles
- Pursuit of career
- Employee recruitment
- Brain function etc.
It is done by using a fingerprint scanner connected to a computer with the software. The fingerprints of all ten fingers and/or palm (depending on the software) are taken. Then, as said, the data is sent to Singapore based company. Within a couple of days, a 25-30 pages final report is generated. Some even claim to disclose the result in few minutes time which is absolutely fraud. The further process is the counseling of parents and their children about what the report means. It also claims to come in use in employee recruitment by knowing which employee excels in which department.
DMIT IN NEPAL:
We have been hearing news about its popularity in Nepal too. This product, technique or software is currently marketed by Thumb rule Nepal Pvt. Ltd, a joint venture of Thumbrule Dermatoglyphics Pvt. Ltd, India or as they claim a joint venture of Singapore based company. Another company called BCL Nepal Pvt. Ltd. also claims, through its website, to have solely registered its patent in the US patent office. The test/training centres are in various parts of Kathmandu and Nepal like Maharajgunj, Teku, Dharan, Nepalgunj etc.
DOES DMIT REALLY WORK? :
On one hand, dermatoglyphics is the real science which has its application in various fields of neurology, embryology, psychology, etc. It explains the normal and abnormal function of brain by studying the fingerprints parameters like patterns, angles, formations etc. DMIT, on the other hand, is the combination of dermatoglyphics and multiple intelligence theory into software, which of course, is just of mere commercial value. It has never been proved scientifically. You can test whether your brain functions well or not through the study of fingers but not what kinds of intelligence a person has or in what field he/she is likely to excel. There is no scientific research by any universities or scientists to prove that DMIT works and is a real science. It is almost like palmistry developed into software with a little science on it! Dermatoglyphics doesn't study about the presence of multiple intelligence in human. If, at all, this thing is true, still there are no scientific evidences for it. With a quick search for words like “dermatoglyphics”, “DMIT”, only commercial websites of companies in Asia are seen. The gullible West, US, Europe etc. have paid no or very little attention to this. This is because there are no scientific back up for this method and their law might deem it as ‘fraud’ or false propaganda.
SCIENCE OR PSEUDOSCIENCE?
. The parameters of fingerprints like AtD angle (angle between forefinger and pinky finger), whorls, arches, loops etc. show abstract characteristics of human rather than materialistic. For ex. those who have whorls are cognitive learners, AtD angles indicate effective or affective learners and so on. These are all abstract ideas which have just linguistic values. So, the test of ‘multiple intelligence in human’ is a function of brain electrophysiology rather than just fingerprints. Most of the marketing companies and their websites’ claims are abstract ideas (like shaping the child’s future, knowing the inner abilities, pursuing a dream etc.) rather than scientific. There are several stories of people all over the internet which claim its truth, but they are just testimonials and not evidence. It is same as to say that the person who has seen a murder happen is an eye witness not the evidence. This is thus a pseudoscience: part science and part non-science. Unless it is scientifically proved, it can be considered just as a belief like palmistry.
DMIT should rather be a matter of scientific research to prove the point. There should be extensive investigation to show, if at all, the relationship between fingerprints and intelligence of a person. To the truth, intelligence is shaped by nurture, balanced diet, socio economic, environmental factors rather than the studying of fingerprints. It has its own advantages. DMIT should be used by people to learn that every child is special in its own way but it should not be taken as a sole reference to choose a child’s career and interest. Intelligence itself comes out in the form of hobby, interests and performance. Since, till now, there is no proof of whether it is true or not, one should not force their children to do what it says. Try it at your own risk!