Are older children really the smartest?

Determining role of birth order is far from clear-cut

Birth order has been used to explain every personality trait under the sun, the New York Times reports, yet differences between oldest, middle and youngest children are far from straightforward. For example, research has shown that second-born kids tend to be exposed to less language than eldest children, which could help explain a 2007 study from Norway which found that oldest siblings’ I.Q.’s were about three points higher than younger brothers (it was based on Norwegian military records, so all the subjects were male). Even so, differences are modest. In fact, everything from family size to socioeconomic status influence a child’s development; as the saying says, no two children grow up in the same family, because each sibling’s experience is entirely different from the other. “Too many parents are haunted by experiences both good and bad that they identify with their birth order,” Dr. Peter A. Gorski, a professor at the University of South Florida, told the newspaper, adding that it can turn into “self-fulfilling prophecies.”

New York Times

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