Your siblings might not agree with you on this one, but it’s backed up by a legit study.
Unless you’re an only child, you must have wondered if you’re smarter than your siblings at least once before. After all, it’s an age-old debate, and no matter where you stand in the equation, it’s natural to get a little competitive.
And if you’re the firstborn, you’ll probably be delighted to know (or to confirm your suspicions) that according to research by the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, the oldest child usually has a mental edge over their siblings.
The researchers worked with a team from the University of Sydney to examine data collected from 5,000 children who were given reading and picture vocabulary tests every two years. They found that the firstborn kids score higher than their siblings in IQ tests as early as age one.
According to the study, which was published in the Journal of Human Resources, this is because the parents changed their behaviour as subsequent children were born. They offered less mental stimulation to the younger children and also took part in fewer activities with them, such as reading, crafts and music.
Plus, the mothers took higher risks during the pregnancy of latter-born children, such as smoking more regularly.
Although all children received the same levels of emotional support, the firstborn kids received more support with tasks and developed more superior thinking skills.
“Our results suggest that broad shifts in parental behaviour are a plausible explanation for the observed birth order differences in education and labour market outcomes,” said Dr Ana Nuevo-Chiquero, who is from the University of Edinburgh’s School of Economics.
Basically, the result could also help explain why children born earlier seem to more education and higher wages later on in life.
However, as noted by The Independent, experts have warned that the results are generalised and may or may not translate to individual families. So if your folks always tried their best to give every child an equal amount of attention, this finding may not apply to you in any way.
A version of this story first appeared in CLEO. Offering an insider perspective on everything a twenty-something woman in Singapore wants or needs to know, CLEO Magazine is now available in both print and digital formats. Visit www.CLEO.com.sg to subscribe.