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February 19, 2019 Tuesday 02:25:49 PM IST

Order of Birth in Family Has Influence on Intelligence

Parent Interventions

A first-born child in a family is likely to be more intelligent at both cognitive and emotional levels compared to siblings, according to a new research report by a group of economists.

The report is based on a study of 5000 children sourced from US Bureau of Labour Statistics data. It was done by experts from University of Sydney, Analysis Group and University of Edinburgh. It was found that the first- born child was likely to get more parental attention, more mental stimulation than younger ones. This was visible from improved performance of first-born children in math, verbal skills, reading and comprehension.

Most often mothers face increased health risks by the time the younger siblings were born and consequently not able to give more care to them. They were attributed to increased smoking and drinking in the pre-birth period in the case of younger siblings. Children upto the age of 14 were observed for various changes in cognitive development. The tests covered reading, vocabulary, verbal skills (reading aloud), matching letters and names. Simultaneously, the economic and social background of the families were also assessed.


This has implications for parents who have a tendency to compare performances of sibling with the elder child. There may be a more valid reason why the first-born child performs better as it observes the arrival of newer ones and feels the need to take up initiative and leadership roles within the family at a young age.


Source: https://www.ed.ac.uk/news/2017/first-borns-have-mental-edge-study-shows

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