Fairfax Media

Firstborns both older and wiser because they don’t share mum and dad, study reveals

An assessment found that firstborns have higher IQs because they have had more attention from their parents in their early years

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 14 February, 2017, 2:43pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 14 February, 2017, 2:58pm

By Chloe Booker


Sorry younger siblings, firstborns have been picking on you your whole life and now they have scientific proof to one up you once again.

A study published in the Journal of Human Resources, suggests firstborn children have a “mental edge” on their younger brothers and sisters.

It found firstborns may have better thinking skills and higher IQs because their parents gave them more mental stimulation in their early years.

Researchers from the University of Sydney, University of Edinburgh and Analysis Group examined data from the US Children of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth that observed almost 5000 children from pre-birth to age 14.

The children were assessed every two years on tasks such as reading, vocabulary, comprehension and mathematics.

The study showed the advantages started early, with firstborns showing increased ability from just after birth to age three.

Firstborns scored higher than their siblings in IQ tests from as early as age one.

“Our results suggests that broad shifts in parental behaviour are a plausible explanation for the observed birth-order differences in education and labour market outcomes,” researcher Ana Nuevo-Chiquero said.

Although all children in the study received the same levels of emotional support, firstborn children had more help with tasks that developed thinking skills.

The parents spent more time with them reading, doing crafts and playing musical instruments than with younger children.

Mothers also took higher risks while pregnant with subsequent children, such as increased smoking.

Researchers say the findings could help to explain the so-called birth-order effect, where older children grow up to have better wages and higher levels of education.

Firstborns both older and wiser because, study says, they don’t share mum and dad