Which Sibling is the Best?

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Those of us who have siblings tend to have mostly friendly rivalries with them. Some, if not most, of us probably believe that we are more intelligent than all of our siblings; however, some research shows that the oldest sibling tends to have the highest aptitude. Now, for all of us who are not the oldest, we shouldn't worry too much. We tend to actually get better grades and be more extroverted. These results were found by surveying 90 pairs of high school siblings. The researchers believe that the oldest siblings tend to be the most intelligent because they received all of their parent's attention for a certain amount of time. They also believe that the younger siblings receive better grades because the older sibling could mentor them.
Some older studies about this particular debate found that the oldest sibling tends to be the most extroverted. This study had adults look back upon their childhood, and some of the people studied may have not remembered their childhood correctly. This study could not be replicated, so it violates the critical thinking principle of replicability.
Many of us may continue to ignore these studies and will still believe that we are the smartest sibling. It is still interesting that studies are able to show the general differences between many siblings.



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Being the younger child of two I found this very interesting. Although you said the second experiment could not be replicated I believe in both of the arguments. My older brother is smarter than me and I am more extroverted. I wish I was smarter of course but I think each one has their positives.

I have also experienced parts of this, I'm the youngest of three and my oldest brother while I may be wary to say he is "the smartest" he is definitely smart (though he doesn't like to show it often). I would say all of us are pretty extroverted so it's hard to say who might be the MOST. Funny thing with me and my siblings is: my oldest brother is one way, my middle brother is almost the opposite way, and I the youngest (and only girl), am right in the middle of them both. Though I do consider myself the most motivated of us all, which is why I may sometimes be considered the smartest, because I try at it more. Overall very interesting to look at. =)

My family can definitely help replicate this research. I am the youngest in the family, and I am by far the most outgoing and extroverted. My sister, the oldest of three, is the smartest in the family. I find sibling studies on different personalities very fascinating because me and my two siblings are so different that we usually fall into the correct categories.

I kind of disagree because there could be a correlation vs. causation problem in this theory.

This is actually really interesting. I never thought something like this could be possible. I am an only child so does that automatically put me under the older sibling category? This would be really cool to prove. I can see how this could be true in some ways looking at how my cousins are compared to each other.

I have an older sister and we argue about this pretty much daily as she got better grades, but I got the better scores on standardized tests such as the ACT. The difference in findings probably change due to the way the researchers decide to measure intelligence as we learned how it is so tough to distinctively measure intelligence.

I am also the youngest of two siblings and I do agree with the statement of getting better grades because I have always gotten better grades than my brother. Although he is only my half brother so it may not be the same with half siblings.

Yep, this study fits with my experience. I get the higher test grades, but my brothers earn higher GPAs (and generally are more socially well-adjusted). I guess each side has its pros and cons.

I think this is very interesting! One thing that jumped out in my mind regarding better grades, is that maybe by the time younger siblings are born parents have more knowledge about how to teach their children things such as study skills or homework responsibilities. Having four siblings, with two being older and two younger, I can see the relationship with this study and how extroverted or smart my siblings are.

I as well am the youngest of three and found this topic very interesting. The oldest of us is my sister who gets better grades than my brother and myself, although school is not the measure of ones intelligence. I am vastly superior at real life problem solving compared to my siblings.

Being an only-child, this article was very interesting to me. I was not aware that the data suggests that older siblings are smarter and I also find it intriguing that younger siblings get better grades. However, when I think about the reasons you mentioned in your blog those findings make sense.

i was thinking there might be some flaws to studying two siblings at the same time, instead of both siblings when they come to a certain age. I think for obvious reasons, matching two siblings (especially younger siblings) that are of different age, say 5 and 7, the 7 year old should have more knowledge and a better grasp on the world.

but i wouldn't find it super surprising, I am the youngest of 5, and i think that my older brother (2 of 5) is probably the smartest one in the family.

interesting topic, interesting debate.

This is an interesting study. I was examining my family by reading this, and I came to the conclusion that it's hard to measure who is smarter between me and my brother, because we are smart in different ways. I would consider myself pretty smart, and I also try very hard to get good grades, while my brother is smart but doesn't try as hard. So if an examiner were to look at us, I would be considered the smarter one because of my grades. I am the oldest as well, and I consider myself more of an extravert than he is. He enjoys hanging around the house a lot and not interacting with friends as much as I do. I wonder if these things have anything to do with how are parents raised us, and how parents baby the first child during there infantry because it is their first kid. Very interesting to find out.

When I read this section in the book, I though it was scarily accurate. My oldest sister is by far the smartest, I am by far the most extroverted, and my younger brother seems the least motivated. However, while it applies to my family and several others it seems, I don't put much faith in this study as it couldn't be replicated and the experiment itself had its flaws.

This is interesting to me because I have an older brother and a younger sister, and my sister is smarter than both me and my brother so I also wonder what effect gender has on attention from parents and mentoring from siblings.

This is very interesting because in my family, my older sister is definitely smarter than me and less extroverted. When i think of other families I know, it seems consistent with the research, but I'm not sure how accurate it is.

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This page contains a single entry by zind0018 published on April 22, 2012 2:48 PM.

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