It’s an age-old debate, but science has now proven that birth order matters when it comes to intelligence, and the differences are apparent even in toddlerhood.
According to a 2017 study, first-born children’s thinking skills outperform their younger siblings because they get more ‘mental stimulation’ from their mum and dad while they’re still young. In fact, first-borns score higher than their siblings on IQ tests from as early as one-year-old.
First-borns are officially smarter
The researchers say that while all kids studied received the same level of emotional support, first-borns had more support with tasks that developed thinking skills.
They say it may just explain why children born earlier in the birth order grow up to earn better wages and education. “Our results suggest that broad shifts in parental behaviour are a plausible explanation for the observed birth order differences in education and labour market outcomes,” said economist Dr Ana Nuevo-Chiquero.
Parents have less time for siblings
Almost 5000 children were studied from pre-birth to age 14, and assessed every two years for things like reading recognition and picture vocabulary. Their environment, including family background and economic conditions, were also taken into account.
What the researchers found was that first-borns enjoy advantages in life from their very first years – in fact from birth. They discovered that parents changed their behaviour with each child born, offering less mental stimulation and fewer activities like reading and crafts with younger siblings.
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