Have you ever wondered which of your siblings, or those around you, is actually the smartest? We often assume that the eldest comes first. They receive more attention and praise from their parents than their younger siblings and even have more words in their vocabulary when they enter kindergarten.
But ultimately, intelligence isn’t always linear with age; there can be a host of other factors such as genetics, environment, opportunity – not to mention the many tricks to developing talent that could give an advantage over another sibling – that can affect the real intelligence of a person. So let’s dive into the details of these different variables to find out for ourselves who truly deserves the coveted title of “smartest sibling.”
Certainly, several factors can impact intelligence.
It’s commonly believed that the eldest in a family of multiple children is the smartest, but it may come as a surprise to know that this isn’t always the case. According to science, intelligence between siblings often depends on several different factors and can vary greatly from one family member to another.
One of the factors that may influence the intelligence of siblings is genetics, as close relatives have been found to share up to 50% of their DNA. This means that if a parent is genetically gifted, then that gene could be passed on to an older or younger child, making them smarter than their siblings.
Separately, a 2019 study by researchers at Michigan State University found that higher IQ scores were seen in parents with earlier birth order compared to those with younger birth orders. birth order was later. Furthermore, this study showed that younger siblings are likely to have better cognitive abilities due to being exposed to more complex language and cognitive activities that promote brain development.
The environment is another factor that influences the intelligence of siblings. It has been reported that the firstborn usually enjoys more attention from parents than subsequent children and therefore may receive more educational opportunities and guidance throughout their upbringing. This allows them to be more advanced academically than their younger counterparts, who do not receive as much guidance or resources from their parents during childhood.
Also, comparing two siblings of similar age whose parents give them the same education and resources. Researchers at Harvard Medical School have found that the youngest tend to perform better in school than the oldest because parental expectations are lower, allowing room for personal growth and exploration.
Parental investment also seems to be a big factor when it comes to predicting which sibling will be the smartest, according to science. The theory is that parents often provide more resources – material and emotional – to the eldest because of traditional gender roles in some societies; this could explain why older siblings often display higher intelligence scores than their younger sibling.
However, when parents treat each child equally and allocate resources accordingly, regardless of birth order, the youngest in the family tends to perform better on cognitive tests than their siblings. elders.
What effect, if any, does birth order have on a person’s life?
According to science, birth order can affect a person’s intelligence. Tiffany L. Frank, a doctoral student at Adelphi University on Long Island, New York, has conducted research that suggests children born first have an advantage in intellectual development. Specifically, his study found that firstborns tend to have higher educational attainment and cognitive abilities than their later-born siblings.
“While parents may want to treat every child the same, it’s nearly impossible,” Frank said at the American Psychological Association’s 118th annual convention.
Most previous studies on the influence of birth order have focused on children from different families. For example, some studies have looked at US presidents, Nobel laureates, or NASA astronauts to see if they are primarily first- or second-born children. It turns out that America’s presidents and Nobel science laureates were overwhelmingly first-born children, as were 21 of NASA’s first 23 astronauts. However, these studies cannot account for influences that arise from children being part of the same family, such as competition that may exist between siblings, Frank said.
Although the first born has more opportunities to excel, children born later have more potential to turn imagination into reality.
In the current study, Frank and his colleagues surveyed 90 pairs of high school siblings. Subjects were asked to report their grades and rank themselves against their siblings based on their intelligence, work ethic, and academic achievement.
Research has shown that children born later are more likely to be creative and excel in creative pursuits such as music or art. This could partly explain why second-born children often pursue careers outside of academia, such as in the arts or entertainment industry.
Furthermore, Ms. Frank’s findings also suggest that there may be a link between birth order and personality development. She found that firstborns were more likely to be high achievers and more motivated than their siblings born later in the family. On the other hand, children born later may exhibit characteristics such as laid-back and relaxed, which could explain why they are less motivated and do less well in school than their older siblings.