Thus, it does not make a difference if you were the first one born or the last one. In spite of so many stereotypes, the elder sibling is not necessarily the smarter one and the youngest one is not the most difficult to control.
Researchers from the University of Illinois carried out a very extensive study, which involved 377,000 high school students.
The results of the research revealed that the younger siblings only had an IQ disadvantage, on average, of one point in favor of their older ones.
Moreover, even if there were some differences in personality – with the first-borns displaying more openness and being a bit more likeable and hard-working, the discrepancies were so small that they could be easily neglected, according to Professor Brent Roberts, the lead author of the study.
“In terms of personality traits and how you rate them, a 0.02 correlation doesn’t get you anything of note. You are not going to be able to see it with the naked eye. You’re not going to be able to sit two people down next to each other and see the differences between them. It’s not noticeable by anybody,” he explained.
However, the study also confirmed that there is some feeble truth regarding these theories. The stereotypes are not pure suppositions, but they are based on a study carried out in the 20th century by psychologist Alfred Adler.
According to Adler’s findings, the younger child tended to be more spoiled, thus, lazier, while the middle one was often ignored, which made him or her more easy-going. The first born was regarded as a natural leader and more conscientious.
This theory has been long debated throughout the years by many psychologists. While some of them, such as Cecile Ernst and Jules Angst have considered these findings largely exaggerated, others, like Frank Sulloway maintain Adler could not have been more correct in his conclusions.
Nevertheless, the large sample of people that were taken into account throughout this study proves that professor Roberts’ theory is right. Unlike previous studies, this research looked at people coming from different families.
According to psychology professor at the University of Houston, postdoctoral researcher Rodica Damian, the other studies might have been misled into concluding that the older sibling is the most responsible out of three children because he or she is, indeed, the oldest.
When a family is asked who is the one they can rely on the most, they will definitely answer that it is the first-born. But this might be because of the age difference between their children .
Therefore, it is only fair to conclude that the order in which children are born does not have an impact on their personality.
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