First Born Children Are Cleverer Than Their Younger Siblings, Finds Study


Good news if you’re the oldest child, science says you’re more intelligent than your siblings!

Obviously, as the youngest of three, I wholeheartedly disagree with these findings but will cary on nonetheless.

Instead of relaying the time I once defeated a series of Russian chess veterans in Central Park, blindfolded, using only my left foot (not the one I use to kick). I’ll hand over to the research itself. See what you think.


According to the University of Edinburgh:

Researchers say the findings could help to explain the so-called birth order effect when children born earlier in a family enjoy better wages and more education in later life.

Economists at the University of Edinburgh, Analysis Group and the University of Sydney examined data from the US Children of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, a dataset collected by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Nearly 5,000 children were observed from pre-birth to age 14 for the study, with every child assessed every two years.

The tests included reading recognition, such as matching letters, naming names and reading single words aloud, as well as picture vocabulary assessments.


The findings continued:

Researchers applied statistical methods to economic data to analyse how the parental behaviour of the child was related to their test scores.

The researchers then used an assessment tool, the Home Observation Measurement of the Environment, to observe parental behaviour, including pre-birth behaviour, such as, smoking and drinking activity during pregnancy and post-birth behaviour, such as, mental stimulation and emotional support.

The findings showed that advantages enjoyed by first born siblings start very early in life – from just after birth to three years of age. The differences increased slightly with age, and showed up in test scores that measured verbal, reading, math and comprehension abilities.


The research concluded:

Researchers found parents changed their behaviour as subsequent children were born.

They offered less mental stimulation to younger siblings and also took part in fewer activities 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.