Ever wondered why that older sibling of yours is heralded as the brains of the family? Well, it’s probably because he (or she) is brainier and smarter than you!
First born children tend to eat their cake and have it too!
Don’t take our word for it, though. According to a study of over 20,000 people of UK, US & German descent done by the University of Leipzig; first born children tend to have a higher IQ than their younger siblings. This may be due to the older child receiving undivided attention from the parents, or also from having to teach the younger ones in turn. Being a first born child means that your parents have all the time in the world for you, whereas late-borns have to share and scrabble for parental attention from the very start. Firstborns also often tutor their younger siblings and this leads to an intelligence boost for the former.
And as if being more intelligent wasn’t enough, the first-born siblings also showed a heightened perception of their brain power – meaning they were smarter and they knew it!
There’s hope for the younger ones too…
However, younger siblings can take heart, for the drop in IQ is just 1.5. Also, in families with just two siblings, the chances of the older child being more intelligent are 60% – meaning there’s a good chance they are of equal or even lesser intelligence than that of the younger sibling.
The birth order also doesn’t affect any personality traits – so being nicer, more popular or better looking does not depend on being the first born child, second or even last… And in another piece of good news for the younger siblings, younger ones are often healthier than their first-born brothers or sisters. This is in part attributed to womb experience as well as the fact that younger siblings are often exposed to a multitude of infections via their older counterparts, which gives their immunity a boost.
All in all, none of us can control the birth order we were born into. So the best bet here is to grin, bear it and remember that blood is always thicker than water.
|||^||PNAS: Examining the effects of birth order on personality|
|||^||BBC: Why your older sibling is smarter than you|