First borns are smarter than their younger siblings, according to study

Everyone knows that first born children are the best. They're smarter, cooler, and more attractive. Okay, maybe I'm being slightly biased, since I'm the oldest child in my family. But now there's some actual science to back one of these claims: According to a new study, first born children are more intelligent than their younger siblings. So, to my younger sister: Ha-ha! I'm smarter than you!

The study was conducted by the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. In their report, they found that "First borns score higher than their siblings in IQ tests as early as age one. " It turns out there's some truth to the stereotype that first born children are totally spoiled. "Although all children received the same levels of emotional support, first-born children received more support with tasks that developed thinking skills." Parents give the oldest child maximum attention (and Christmas presents). Then for the other kids they start really phoning it in.

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"Parents changed their behavior as subsequent children were born," write the researchers. "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." So, if any of you younger siblings out there want to play the victim, and accuse your parents of playing favorites, now you've got some science to back it up. It's their fault you're not smart!

Actually, parents might not be consciously spoiling the first born. It all comes down to math. When there's just one child, that child gets all of the attention. But when there's multiple children, it's impossible to just focus on one of them, so the parents' attention is divided. "Additional siblings reduce the share of parental resources received by any one child," wrote researcher DB Downey in American Psychologist. (And then he said "Na-na-na-na-na!" to his younger siblings.)

Sisters Credit: Pixabay

First born kids really just luck out with their position. They tend to be closer companions to the parents, sitting at their table for dinner instead of that totally lame kids' table. As such, they're more frequently exposed to complex language and adult conversations. "Laterborns are exposed to the less mature speech of their siblings," wrote researchers, in a study conducted by the University of Stanford. "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." While first-born's discussing Plato, the other kids are discussing Playdough.

In addition, the oldest child frequently plays the role of a parent, watching over their siblings and helping them out with problems. This act of tutoring improves their cognitive capabilities. (Sorry if these words are too complicated for you second-born children to understand.) As a result of these critical thinking skills, first-born children may become more educated than their siblings, and land a job with a higher salary. (I told you - we're the best!)

However, maybe we shouldn't throw the "First Borns Are The Best" parade just yet. According to the website Intell Theory, the oldest child's IQ is only one percent higher than his or her siblings, which is hardly worth bragging about. Also, IQ is not the most essential trait. Researcher S.J. Sullaway writes that "Several studies have demonstrated that specific personality traits such as conscientiousness and openness to experience are up to 10 times more important than IQ."

But all you first borns don't need to tell your siblings about that last paragraph. Go ahead and tease them today! (They're probably not smart enough to read articles anyway.)