Researchers from the University of Illinois and Houston Universityhave proved that birth order does not influence the child’s IQ or personality significantly. The study was meant to check the theory according to which children who are born first are smarter and have a different personality than children who are born later.
For the study the investigators analyzed 337.000 high school students in term of their personality and levels of intelligence. The research team was led by Professor of psychology Rodica Damian from Houston University and Professor Brent Roberts from the University of Illinois and it is considered the largest study conducted on IQ levels on young people. The research team performed an accurate analysis and used a new research model in order to compare IQ and personality.
The findings of the study contradict the stereotype which says that the first-born is more special. The researchers found a small pattern of personality traits between older and younger siblings. Indeed the researchers discovered that the oldest siblings tend to be conscientious, easy-going and more extrovert when compared to the younger children in the family. But the difference is statistically too small.
The researchers also tested whether the sibling born first is a natural born-leader, the middle one more easy-going and laid-back than the first one and whether the last one is more rebel. The findings showed that this is nothing more than a common belief based on no evidence.
The researchers took into account confounding factors such as the age of the siblings when the research was conducted, the number of children and the economic status of the family.
The differences in IQ are also too little to be important and the ones in personality traits have a correlation of 0.2 which is also very little. Roberts explained that even though personality differences cannot be explained in terms of genetics they might still be cause by parenting strategies which could be different since parents themselves change over time. He also said that this study represents a breakthrough in the domain of psychology studies.
The conclusion of the study is that birth order should not have any influence on parenting since it is not meaningfully related to the child’s IQ or personality.
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