Eldest Siblings More Intelligent

Sorry, middle and youngest-borns– a new study says the eldest sibling is likely more intelligent than you. Researchers from the Universities of Houston, New South Wales and Sheffield looked at data on 5,000 children, whose reading and picture vocabularies were assessed every two years until they reached the age of 14. They found the affects on birth order on cognitive test scores are larger when math is excluded. This is likely because reading is often encouraged by parents at home, while mathematics skills are generally only learned in the classroom. Still, researchers note, “Latter-born children perform worse on cognitive assessments from a very early age, well before they enter school.” So what causes this? It’s all about how much time and attention parents are able to give to their child. Furthering this theory–the data shows the more siblings you have, the less attention you get, and the less well you’re likely to perform on academic tests as a result. Researchers also think differences in maternal behavior during pregnancy and in the first year of a child’s life with regard to alcohol and tobacco consumption and the decision to breastfeed could play a role as well, as parents usually start “choosing to relax what they might deem as non-essential rearing practices for their latter-born children.”