Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

Do you have younger sisters or brothers? Congratulations, you're probably cleverer than them

rexfeatures_5073872ce.jpg

Elder siblings, rejoice. You may have had it tough as the prototype child who endured a stricter upbringing than the squawking interloper who stole all the attention - and your toys - but science decrees you ARE cleverer than your little brother/sister.

As well as confirming that elder siblings are smarter in a 20,000-strong study, boffins at Germany's Leipzig University have good news for awkward middle kids: the IQ of each successive sibling drops by around 1.5 points per child.

So while the middle children may not be quite as intelligent as the sensible first-born, they can console themselves that they're more on the ball than the baby of the family.

Jennifer Lopez with sisters Leslie (l) and Lynda (r)

Middle child Jennifer Lopez with sisters Leslie (l) and Lynda (r)

Researchers who examined data from siblings in the UK, Germany, and the USA, believe that the difference may be down to older kids bossing teaching their younger brothers and sisters.

Lead researcher Julia Rohrer explains to Healthday: "Teaching other people has high cognitive demands - the children need to recall their own knowledge, structure it and think of a good way to explain it - which could be a boost to intelligence for some firstborns."

Younger children may also be disadvantaged by having to share their parents' attention, she said.

Venus Williams congratulates her sister Serena on the straight sets win in the fourth round, 2015 Wimbledon 6 Jul 2015

Venus Williams (l) and younger sis Serena have faced off 27 times on the tennis court

"A first-born will enjoy full parental resources, including attention, the second-born will have to share with the firstborn from the start, and it gets even worse for the third-born."

While the study backs up existing research that suggests older siblings are more intelligent, its findings contradict widely held beliefs that personality traits are also linked to birth order.

Characteristics such as extroversion, emotional stability, agreeableness, conscientiousness and openness to experience have been linked to elder, middle and younger siblings, but the Leipzig report found no evidence to back up the cliches.

Images: Rex Features

Related

rexfeatures_3384573a.jpg

It's official: eldest siblings are smarter, nicer and more outgoing

the sound of music von trapp family children.jpg

What your ranking in the family pecking order says about you

ThinkstockPhotos-494237549.jpg

“Stop asking me when I'm going to start a family”

Capture.JPG

Life before Google: the funniest questions people asked librarians

ThinkstockPhotos-532224191.jpg

The best new books of October

rexfeatures_4275474s.jpg

Angelina Jolie “can't wait to turn 50”

GettyImages-493227258.jpg

“This is not a story of misery. This is a story of strength”

1431041573742.jpg

See the first picture of Ab Fab the movie (sweetie darling)

facebookbus1.jpg

Woman finds Good Samaritan who challenged man harassing her

More

Thought-provoking illustrations reveal hidden secrets of strangers

The artist was met with “unexpected confessions”

by Sarah Biddlecombe
22 Aug 2017

The most annoying Tube habits, as ranked by irritated Londoners

“Could you move down, please?”

by Amy Swales
22 Aug 2017

These are the main reasons relationships end, according to a new study

...and the reasons couples stay together

by Megan Murray
22 Aug 2017

The new Great British Bake Off might be OK after all

The first episode has not bombed, we repeat: it has not bombed

by Amy Swales
22 Aug 2017

Woman claims she was fired for leaking during a heavy period at work

“Every woman dreads getting period symptoms when they're not expecting them, but I never thought I could be fired for it.”

by Sarah Biddlecombe
22 Aug 2017

Women football fans forced to show bras while being searched at match

Add this to your list of ‘things that are definitely not OK’

by Moya Crockett
22 Aug 2017

This prosecco advent calendar will have you waving goodbye to summer

We're suddenly very excited about Christmas

by Megan Murray
22 Aug 2017

Heartfelt letter on coping with an anxious partner goes viral

“Anxiety isn't a one size fits all, it isn't consistent and it isn't always easy to tell”

by Sarah Biddlecombe
22 Aug 2017

Why India banning instant divorce is a major victory for women

India’s Supreme Court has ruled against triple talaq, which allowed Muslim men to instantly divorce their wives.

by Moya Crockett
22 Aug 2017

Jennifer Aniston really isn’t happy about *that* Friends fan theory

She’s decided to put an end to the rumours, once and for all

by Kayleigh Dray
22 Aug 2017