Whether you know it or not, birth order can play a part in how smart you are. Various studies have shown that the eldest sibling tends to have the most power when it comes to their brains. And while this might not always be the case, the trend does seem to hold up over time.
One thing scientist do agree on is that the love of parents pretty much is the same for all of their children, from the youngest to the oldest. It is other factors that come into play which that impact a child’s development and play an important part in how smart they are and the way they act.
Here is more on the interesting reasons why first-born children tend to be the smartest kids in the class.
The 2015 Study
A 2015 study published in the Journal of Human Resources found that firstborn children tended to score higher on their IQ tests over their younger siblings. Researchers from the University of Edinburgh and the University of Sydney analyzed data on a group of 5,000 children in the U.S. followed from pre-birth to 14 years old.
The findings showed that firstborn children had a higher tendency to perform better on cognitive assessments form a young age in comparison to their younger siblings. In fact, the gap between the eldest and younger siblings only seemed to widen as they got older, becoming relatively constant upon reaching school age.
Birth Order and IQ
When doing the study, researchers also looked at the reasons behind such a big gap in intelligence, and their findings were relatively interesting. It seems that parents seem to try harder when they have their first child. Firstborn children seem to receive more mental stimulation and physical stimulation, in the form of breastfeeding.
In addition, first-time mothers are less likely to smoke or drink, not wanting to do any harm to their baby. On the other hand, as parents have more and more children, they seem to relax some of these restraints on their behavior or not pay as much attention to children past the first.
It’s not that they love these younger children any less, it is just that they’ve been there and done that with the first child and so feel that they can relax the rules a little with subsequent children. This is also not the case with all parents, as some might be inclined to follow the same “rules” with all of their children.
Other Effects of Birth Order
In addition to intelligence, birth order can also affect a child’s personality. This usually materializes in the form of increased leadership skills, ambition, and a sense of responsibility than your younger siblings. Middle siblings tend to have better negotiating skills and are great compromisers. The youngest siblings tend to exhibit such traits as being more charming, creative, and manipulative.
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The 2015 study, published in the Journal of Human Resources, is not the first to come to such conclusions. The 2014 National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, Children, and Young Adults followed thousands of 14 to 21 year old teens and young adults to keep up with their employment history, income, and level of education to determine any correlations, as they got older, between birth order and success.
The gist of both of these studies is that the eldest child tends to be smarter and more successful than their younger siblings, making more money and obtaining positions of leadership more often. This does not mean that middle and youngest siblings cannot attain such lofty heights, only that the trends seem to support this finding. Ultimately, where you end up in life is up to you.