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Does birth order affect personality & Intelligence? What place are you?

Birth order within families has long sparked sibling rivalry, but it might also impact the child's personality and intelligence, a new study suggests. First-borns are typically smarter, while younger siblings get better grades and are more outgoing, the researchers say.

The findings weigh in on a long-standing debate: What effect if any does birth order have on a person's life? While numerous studies have been conducted, researchers have yet to draw any definitive conclusions.

The results lend support to some previous hypotheses - for instance, that the eldest sibling tends to have higher aptitude. But the study also contradicts other proposed ideas, for example, that first-borns tend to be more extroverted.

The findings shed light on the influence of sibling relationships, which often receives less attention compared with that of the mother-child or father-child relationship,


Asked by sweet-a-kins at 2:23 PM on Aug. 13, 2010 in Politics & Current Events

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Answers (22)
  • I've been the only, the oldest, the middle and the youngest (stepparents/siblings) Biologically I'm the oldest, was an only the first five years.
    I don't take much stock in that though. there might be some true generalities and tendencies, but I believe there are a greater number of mitigating factors.

    Answer by autodidact at 2:47 PM on Aug. 13, 2010

  • Just in my own experience between my brother and myself, I think genetics has more to do with personality, inteliligence, everything. We were raised exactly the same way. There was no favortism, or he is a boy so he does these jobs and you are a girl so you do these. When it was time to do any kind of chore we both were expected to do them at the same time. We ended up totally opposite. He is just like all my uncles and I am like my mom and some of her relatives. Even down to how social we are and how we interact with people. And my brother and I are a year and 6 days apart too, so there were no big age gaps either.

    Answer by 2BlondeBabies at 2:28 PM on Aug. 13, 2010

  • I am the oldest. I think we are all pretty much the same!

    Answer by lovinangels at 2:31 PM on Aug. 13, 2010

  • I am the brother is 21 months younger. He has been totally uninterested in school and having a career and quit jobs constantly throughout his adult lfe. I was the opposite. I got good grades and worked hard at all jobs....and I have too much ambition and pride to be as lazy and uninvolved as he was and is. My Mom spoiled him. He could do no wrong. LOL. But she was rather controlling with me and didn't seem to care if I went to college....she was a bit "sexist".LOL. I guess the oldest/first born being more responsible and ambitious seems to be the truth,ehhh?

    Answer by gertie41 at 2:33 PM on Aug. 13, 2010

  • I am the oldest of 3. I disagree with the study. My sisters and I are all smart, outgoing and made good grades. I think there are too many other factors that mold people.

    Answer by yourspecialkid at 4:16 PM on Aug. 13, 2010

  • I'm in the middle and we are as opposite as night and day. My older sister is book smart and my younger sister is a diva. Growing up, the focus was on my older sister's academic achievements and my younger sister's being the youngest. My older sister got pregnant early and left her husband for a guy she met on Everquest years ago. My younger sister is heavily into drugs and at the age of 32, still will not grow up and be responsible. I tried to find my place by not making the same mistakes either of them did. I made okay grades, got a degree, joined the military, etc. My younger sister ran away when she was 15 and lived with a drug dealer for six months. Yet, I am still a failure in my father's eyes. I can never please him and I eventually stopped trying.

    Answer by Izsarejman at 2:36 PM on Aug. 13, 2010

  • I am the oldest- I do not buy in to the theory at all. Most neurotic- probably. Parents can be unrealistic with firstborns. My oldest is driven and bright. My youngest is very easy going and brighter.


    Answer by Sisteract at 2:52 PM on Aug. 13, 2010

  • I think it's difficult to find the causation even if there is a correlation. A family changes as more kids are born.

    I'm the oldest. My parents had a lot more TIME to spend with me when I was young--reading, activities, etc. Plus, I had more structure. As additional kids were added (3 years apart, 2 younger bros) there was less time, divorce, lax rules.

    I was an overachiever, very driven, successful academically and very outgoing. Rule follower.

    Middle brother had trouble reading, but eventually was successful in school. Quiet. Rule follower.

    Youngest brother..parents divorced when he was 7. Very little structure, babied as far as responsibilities. Was a mediocre student. Did not attend college. Is now (at 25) a hard worker, very quiet, etc.

    I attribute most of these differences to the changes with my parents/our households.

    Answer by BuddyRoo at 3:20 PM on Aug. 13, 2010

  • In my personal experience it fits. I'm an only child to one set of parents and the oldest to another set of parents. I have equal attributes of being the only and oldest (not all of them are positive), and my siblings' attributes mostly fit with being the middle child and youngest child.

    Answer by KelleyP77 at 3:21 PM on Aug. 13, 2010

  • I'm the second youngest out of 4 and I'm the smartest one out all of them. I'm nothing like my family, if I didn't look like my mom I would swear I was adopted. It says first born in the smartest? HELL NO My oldest sibling is actually the dumbest out all of us. My youngest sibling did get better grades but he was in a special class, he was smart but it took him a long time to retain information.

    Answer by mommy_of_two388 at 3:45 PM on Aug. 13, 2010