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Many second-born children have long harboured suspicions that their elder sibling gets special treatment from their parents.
Now, researchers at Edinburgh University have found evidence that proves them right.
Not only that, but adding insult to injury, apparently that special treatment actually makes first-born brothers and sisters smarter than their younger counterparts.
Firstborns have been found to have greater cognitive reasoning and a ‘mental edge‘, according to Dr Ana Nuevo-Chiquero, of Edinburgh University’s School of Economics.
The study, which was conducted over fourteen years with nearly 5,000 children, found that older siblings score higher than their brothers and sisters in IQ tests – and the difference is noticeable as early as age one.
Researchers have dubbed it ‘The Birth Order Effect’.
While siblings were not given different levels of emotional support, ‘first-born children received more support with tasks that developed thinking skills’.
The tests involved mental reasoning, literacy development and vocabulary. They also accounted for family background and the families’ finances during the child’s development.
‘Child Number One’ came out on top in all cases.
Dr Nuevo-Chiquero explained:
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.
As Niles from Fraiser aptly put it, by the time the second-born gets round to anything, ‘It’s all chewed meat’.
The evidence, surely, will be stimulating sibling rivalries to new, unforeseen levels of competitiveness. My heart goes out to all my fellow second-siblings.
Stay strong – and remember you’re almost certainly cooler than that square anyway.
The University Edinburgh
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