Research suggests older siblings are more intelligent

New studies suggest that a person’s position among siblings has a lasting impact on their life, Oxford University’s science magazine Bang! reports.

Older siblings are more likely to exhibit higher intelligence than younger ones. 

In 2015, over 20,000 British, American and German citizens conducted a battery of personality tests in an observational study led by Dr Schmuckle at the University of Leipzig. They concluded personality, including emotional stability, agreeableness and imagination, is not affected by the position we have in a sibling group, contrary to the long-standing stereotype. Despite this, they exhibited slight intelligence differences – older children tended to be smarter than their younger siblings. First-born children were more likely to agree they are “quicker to understand things” than younger siblings. They had richer vocabulary and outdid younger siblings on abstract understanding problems.

But no one is quite sure why this should be although there has been speculation that a higher social rank plays some role.

And as a consolation to younger siblings, a research team at Queen’s University Belfast, found that siblings born first exhibited a higher risk of developing Type 1 diabetes than those born second, third or later.

Bill Condie

Bill Condie

Bill Condie is a science journalist based in Adelaide, Australia.

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