Based on a recent study conducted by the University of Illinois, birth order does not influence children’s personality or intellect. The study included the observation of 377,000 American participants and took into consideration many other factors that have not been studied before.
Many personality studies have stated before that older children tend to be more intelligent, more ambitious and have a better personality, in general. However, Brent Roberts, psychology Professor at the University of Illinois and leader of the current study, thinks there is no actual link between the said traits of personality and the birth order of the children.
The study was conducted on 377,000 teenagers, whose conduct and behavior was analyzed based on a series of criteria, such as, family size, socioeconomic status of the parents, family structure, as well as the gender and the age of the participants.
This was the first study that actually considered all the aforementioned factors; therefore, researchers think it is the most comprehensive study it has ever been accomplished in the area. They have found out that there is a very small difference in point of intelligence and other character traits between siblings.
According to Roberts, the difference between brothers usually accounts for an IQ level of 0.02 – an incredibly small difference that would never be noticed by people interacting with them. He further stated that, unlike previous studies, which have compared the siblings between them, the current research is much more accurate because it compared all participants to a universally acknowledged standard.
Rodica Damian, the co-author of the research, concluded, based on these recent findings that parents need not change or adapt their behavior from one child to another. Their children have very similar personalities and the parenting style is not meaningful for this particular purpose. She further added that the older child could be more responsible due to his age and not as a result of the age difference.
Roberts and Damian inspired themselves for the recent research from the work of Alfred W. Adler. According to Freud’s contemporary, the birth order has great influence on the development of a child’s personality.
The discussion has led to many disagreements between the two psychologists and theorists, but Alder’s theory has nevertheless been acknowledged. He founded the branch of individual psychology and his findings were preserved until now. Roberts and Damian hope that their new study will at least complement Adler’s theory if not completely revolutionize it.
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