The Sun (Malaysia)
Birth order doesn’t matter
A RECENTLY-PUBLISHED study by researchers from the psychology departments of the Mainz and Leipzig universities in Germany have concluded that birth order within a family among siblings has a very marginal impact on personality.
For the study, the researchers analysed data from over 20,000 adults living in the United Kingdom, Germany and the United States by using a number of pre-existing longitudinal studies.
They found that personality traits of extraversion and those linked with emotional stability, agreeableness and conscientiousness were not affected by birth-order position.
Small effects were however, found in regards to self-reported intelligence.
Firstborns were more likely to see themselves as having an extensive vocabulary and were more comfortable with understanding abstract ideas.
The researchers noted that such self-reports did have some realistic basis as the study confirmed a previously-observed minor decline in objectively measured intelligence from the eldest child to the baby of the tribe.
However, Prof Stefan Schmukle, co-author of the study, added that the difference is not very significant and that four times out of 10, “the later-born is still smarter than his or her older sibling”.
“This effect on intelligence replicates very well in large samples, but it is barely meaningful on the individual level, because it is extremely small,” explained Schmukle.
“The real news of our study is that we found no substantial effects of birth order on any of the personality dimensions we examined.
“This does not only contradict prominent psychological theories, but also goes against the intuition of many people.” – AFP-Relaxnews