As the oldest sibling, have you been recognized as being smarter than your younger brother(s) and sister(s)? Well, it’s no longer an enigma why that might be so — new research has found that the eldest child is usually the most intelligent, and it’s all because of something mommy and daddy did.
That’s right, researchers from the University of Edinburgh might have solved the age-old question of why first-borns have a higher IQ, and the answer likely won’t surprise you.
The reason is apparently that parents are more likely to go the extra mile with raising their first-born, lavishing on them more attention and mental-stimulation than they do on their subsequent children.
Published in the Journal of Human Resources, the study looked at almost 5,000 kids from pre-birth to 14 years of age, testing their skills such as vocabulary and reading every two years to determine a pattern. The results could go a long way explaining the ‘birth effect order’ that shows the oldest child often having better education and, therefore, a higher paying job.
Dr. Ana Nuevo-Chiquero of the University of Edinburgh’s School of Economics, said:
“Our results suggest that broad shifts in parental behaviour are a plausible explanation for the observed birth order differences in education and labour market outcomes.”
The eldest sibling is also more likely to feel more responsible, with 54 percent saying they were responsible compared to just 31 percent of younger siblings.
According to an earlier YouGov study, Age is also a factor in why older children are usually smarter and more responsible:
“To some extent age itself, rather than family dynamics, may be responsible for the differing characteristics. Older children, having had more time to get on in life, are more likely to say they are more successful than their siblings.
“But undoubtedly there are family forces at work – parental attention soon shifts onto new arrivals, and first borns may have to learn the ropes themselves. As evidence, elder siblings are more likely to feel more organised and able to prioritise their own lives.”
The same YouGov study throws the youngest-sibling a bone, finding that they are funnier on average. 46 percent believed they were funny compared to only 36 percent of elder siblings.
Younger siblings are also more likely to feel favoured by their parents and more ‘easy going’ and ‘relaxed’.
As for the middle child, let’s not speak of them. They simply don’t exist in the grand scheme of things.
As the oldest child in my family, I am living proof of the birth effect order. However, not only am I smarter than my younger brother, I could also be funnier and more easy going. Does that count?
Do you agree with these recent findings?