ELI5 Why is it that our ring finger doesn’t move freely compared to other fingers?

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Combination of tendon/muscle connectedness and your brain typically not needing to move the ring finger independently so it doesn’t know how to send the signal. But with some practice you can train yourself to move individual fingers without moving the others. There are a ton of musicians (piano, guitar, etc.) who can move their fingers freely. Probably true for surgeons too. I can hold my hand in front of my face and move each finger independently. An anecdote that may be a little dated by now: most kids cannot naturally do the Vulcan greeting because it’s unnatural for your hands to ever need to spread like that. But I remember a year around fourth grade where like only one kid could do it and we were all so impressed that by the end of the year all of us could do it.


Here’s a fun test of your fingers’ flexibility: lay your hand flat on a table, fingers loose and relaxed. Tuck just your middle finger under your palm, as far back as you comfortably can (like a reverse flipping-the-bird). Now try to lift each outstretched finger up from the table: thumb ok, index ok, pinky ok; ring finger wth? My piano teacher showed this to me as a kid, and she could lift both her ring fingers, but I couldn’t. There was a time toward the end of my piano practice when I could a little, but twenty years later I can’t again. If you repeat the tuck with different fingers you can see how fingers are often fairly immobilized when the neighboring connective tissue is engaged.


It can, it just needs to be trained in most people. Dexterity is a learned skill, I play the viola and my left hand is even a different type of dexterous than my right. Like how tennis players and habitual masturbators have strong dominant arms. My guess is you haven’t had to do separate motions with your pinky and ring finger very often while your thumb, index, and middle finger get a lot more use. Most people use those to grip things that require precise stable hands with that sort of claw grip, like screwing in a lightbulb or picking up a small morsel of food. The same three fingers are typically responsible for writing and traditional gaming (fight stick and hitbox users are blowimg those people out of the water on that account) use the same three. If you want you could try consciously working out your ring and pinky to get them to be more limber and independent.


Wait, is this a thing? My ring finger moves independent of the other fingers….


Just tried, I can move my ring finger and keep the rest still. Took a second to focus is all, otherwise my pinky will move