sidd0091: November 2011 Archives

Birth order is something that hardly comes to mind when considering intelligence or personality, but with more studies being done on the subject, is there really a possibility that birth order influences such integral parts of our psychology? Many scientists pose the questions of, is there an impact on a person's IQ or personality by the number of siblings that precede them? In the past, data from such research had been inconclusive, but recent studies have found measurable effects of our position in the family on our IQ and personality. An article which delves deeper into these studies can be found here:

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=ruled-by-birth-order

It's natural to first respond to these studies with skepticism. There are so many variables, such as family size, social status, and environment, which could play a part in skewing such data. It's important to keep in mind though, that these results aren't concrete, they simply display what the data suggests based on its interpretation.

Birth order.jpg

The data only implies that there is only a small negative correlation between the birth order and IQ/Personality. This by no means destines a person to have low or high IQ or a particular sort of personality. A few questions that were inspired by these studies for me are: What are the rival hypotheses? Does the correlation carry throughout cultures? How much should birth order be weighed when evaluating an individual's IQ or personality? My personal conclusion is that the link between birth order and IQ/Personality isn't quite near worth weighing too heavily.

Many parents, especially in this day and age, are constantly fed statistics of how every aspect of the environment contributes to how their child will grow or behave in the future. An example of this that we discussed in the discussion sections of our course is the effect of violent video games on aggressive behavior. There have been numerous research projects done on this issue and the results seem to indicate that there is a slight effect of violent video games of aggressive behavior, but not as profound as headlines can sometimes imply. An article explaining some of these finding can be found here:

http://newmedia.cityu.edu.hk/COM5108/readings/Sherry%202001%20%28VG%20meta%29.pdf

The complexity of this issue isn't difficult to justify because of the cloud of variables that surround it. If there are immediate effects, does that indicate long term effects as well? Was it the games that caused the responses or could it have been a third variable? Could there have been a fault in the experiment? It's incredibly difficult to distinguish the correlation vs. causation of much of the statistics. Because of this, the question remains without a definite, concrete answer. After analyzing several research experiments which attempted to provide some insight to this topic, the conclusion I reached is that there is indeed an effect, but, as mentioned earlier, the effects aren't nearly as drastic as many may believe.

video-games-cartoon.jpg

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