Science Confirms Your Older Sibling Is Probably Smarter Than You
Ever feel like your parents always favored your older brother? He might have benefited from that more than you realize: First-born children are smarter than their siblings, according to a new University of Edinburgh study.
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To further explain the “birth order effect”—a phenomenon that seeks to understand why some children born earlier in a family grow up to receive a higher-level of education and better-paying jobs—researchers followed 5,000 children from pre-birth to the age of 14. The kids were assessed every two years with reading, letter-matching, and picture vocabulary tests. They found that first-born children exhibited higher IQ scores than their younger siblings by the age of one.
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Blame it on your mom and dad: While parents with multiple children gave all their kids the same amount of emotional support, first-borns received more intellectual support with tasks that improved their thinking skills. What’s more, parents took part in fewer brain-boosting activities with their younger kids, like reading with them, playing instruments, and doing crafts. To make it even worse, mothers were more likely to take health risks after having their first kid, like smoking while pregnant.
So yeah, your older brother might have had better grades than you, but he also had unique learning advantages as a kid—up until the age of three, if you want to get specific. Next time he brags about his fancy job during a holiday dinner, feel free to call your parents out for never reading to you at bedtime.
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