For ages, parents and psychologists have sworn that birth order and personality is interlinked-- who came first, who is the baby of the family, and who is sandwiched in between -- influences the person we become. But is there any truth in this?
Let’s talk about your…Firstborn
A study conducted in Norway in 2007, found that firstborn children tend to have a slight boost in smarts compared to their younger siblings. The study of 250,000 siblings found that firstborns had a three-point IQ advantage over their closest brother or sister. The second born was one point ahead of the third and, after that, the effect faded.
Looking at parent evaluations of children from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth in 1979, researchers found that mothers are much more likely to regard their first born as high-achievers. They regard their subsequent children as considerably more average in their class.
Most explain the edge that firstborns have by saying that they have more one-on-one parent time because attention is divided between fewer kids. They also have the responsibility of teaching and taking care of their younger siblings. Building these teaching skills helps them build learning skills that makes them better in school.
A recent study estimated that firstborns get approximately 3,000 hours more time with their parents between the ages of four and 13 than their younger siblings when they pass through the same ages. Many think the attention makes them sharp and responsible, with a greater pressure to succeed and do things properly.
It’s hard to back that observation up with evidence but, for example, some note that firstborns on average earn more money and achieve higher education levels. Presidents and Nobel Prize winners throughout history have been disproportionately made up of firstborns.
Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Barrack Obama and even our very own PM Lee Hsein Loong have all been firstborns! So is there a link between birth order and personality?