Family | Science

First-Borns Are Smarter Than Their Siblings, Says New Study

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If you've got a rivalry going on with your siblings, the results of a new study will give you a bit of an edge.

We're all familiar with the stereotype that older siblings are more responsible and obedient, while the younger ones are often seen as boisterous. Well, this may actually be more than a stereotype.

For decades, researchers have been studying the birth order phenomenon to better explain why siblings raised in the same environment don't always turn out the same. Obviously, personality is a factor, but it turns out, parents are unknowingly raising their children differently.


Last year, researchers from MIT, Northwestern University and the University of Florida discovered that second-borns are more likely to become criminals. The reason is that parents of two or more, pay less attention to their younger children because they're too busy trying to focus on one child at a time.

“Despite large differences in environments across the two areas, we find remarkably consistent results: In families with two or more children, second-born boys are on the order of 20 to 40 percent more likely to be disciplined in school and enter the criminal justice system compared to first-born boys even when we compare siblings,” the study's authors explained.

Now, a new study from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland has found that older siblings, specifically first-borns, tend to be smarter than their younger siblings.

"First borns score higher than their siblings in IQ tests as early as age one, the study has found," the researchers reported.

Why? Again, it all comes down to parenting.

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