If you have siblings, at some point or another you’ve probably argued over who is the smartest or the best sibling.
A recent study has put an end to such arguments.
The winner… the oldest child. A study by the University of Edinburgh says that first-born children are the smartest.
Their research says that the oldest child has superior thinking skills because they received more mental stimulation from their parents.
In general, firstborns get more help with tasks that develop thinking skills, though all siblings receive the same amount of emotional support.
“Our results suggests that broad shifts in parental behaviour are a plausible explanation for the observed birth order differences in education and labour market outcomes,” Dr. Ana Nuevo-Chiquero of the School of Economics said.
The results were tallied after the University of Edinburgh, Analysis Group, and the University of Sydney who studied survey data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Their research, which was published in the Journal of Human Resources, observed about 5,000 children from pre-birth to age 14.
These children were assessed every two years. Tests included reading recognition, naming names, and things like picture vocabulary assessments. They also assessed a family’s environmental factors and economic conditions.
Their data showed that first-born children had higher IQs than their younger siblings.
Children born earlier in their family also tend to have better wages and higher levels of education later in their life.
The success of the firstborn was attributed to parental behavior
“Researchers found that parents changed their behavior as subsequent children were born. They offered less mental stimulation to younger siblings also took part in fewer activities such as such as reading with the child, crafts and playing musical instruments. Mothers also took higher risks during the pregnancy of latter-born children, such as increased smoking,” the study found.
A study from Stanford University said that first-borns are also exposed to more adult language sooner in life which helps them to understand words and concepts sooner than their siblings.
“Laterborns are exposed to the less mature speech of their siblings. This may affect their performance on the verbal scales of intelligence tests. Moreover, the linguistic environment becomes increasingly less mature as more children enter the family. This also gels with the finding that children in larger families have lower IQ scores,” according to Intell Theory.
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But being the first-born doesn’t come with all the advantages.
A 2015 study found that the elder sibling was 20 percent more likely to develop short-sightedness compared to their younger siblings.
So, that’s one comeback younger siblings can have to fuel their family arguments over who is the best sibling.
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