Study Finds First Born Child 'More Intelligent' Than Their Siblings

If you're the first born child in your family, you may have some new bragging rights -- backed by science.

If you're the first born child in your family, you may have some new bragging rights -- backed by science. A study out of the German University of Leipzig has concluded that older children are often smarter than their younger siblings.  

Researchers believe that the higher social status given to the older child is what accounts for the higher IQ, in addition to the older child often having to break down experiences and information for their younger siblings.

It is also believed that because the older child is the sole focus of the parents’ attention for several months to several years, the older child gets a cognitive boost from all of the attention.

According to the study, each younger child has 1.5 point IQ drop from their older sibling.

But don't get up in arms just yet, younger siblings, because the research is very clear that there are certainly some additional constraints.

According to the research, the IQ difference doesn’t necessarily apply to families where there are only two children, as the older siblings in that case are only have a 60% chance of being more intelligent.

Dr. Julia Rohrer of the United Kingdom explained the phenomenon:

“While the firstborn gets full parental attention, at least for some months or years, late-borns will have to share from the beginning. Another possible factor is described by the tutoring hypothesis: A firstborn can “tutor” their younger siblings, explaining to them how the world works and so on.”

“Teaching other people has high cognitive demands – the children need to recall their own knowledge, structure it and think of a good way to explain it to younger siblings, which could provide a boost to intelligence for some firstborns.”

Study Also Finds Behavior Not Affected By Birth Order

While examining over 20,000 individuals from the United Kingdom, United States and Germany, the researchers found that birth order does little to affect personality as many believe, which brings up an interesting debate as it goes against the conclusioins of other repected studies.

Younger siblings, however, are more likely to be healthier than their older siblings and are less likely to develop autoimmune disorders. They believe this may have to do with changes in the womb or the fact that younger children are exposed to more diseases earlier due to their older sibling.

Additional Sources:

USA Today

Ars Technica


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