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First-borns get intellectual advantage over younger siblings, study finds

TODAY | Feb 13, 2017

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TODAY Feb 13, 2017

A new study from the Journal of Human Resources shows that first-borns tend to be the smartest because of strong parenting styles that change once more children are involved. Firstborn children are said to be more academically successful because they receive the most mental stimulation and attention. Turns out that some of the stereotypes about birth order are accurate!

The findings are based on the Children of the National Longitudinal Survey of the Youth, which included information on thousands of Americans 14-21 years old, who were first interviewed in 1979 and regularly re-interviewed since then. The data provided information on employment, income, education and other background information. Some of the participants' children were regularly interviewed, revealing birth outcomes, early childhood health, test scores, home environment and other details.

Parents give the same amount of love and care to all their children, but firstborns get the most mental stimulation, with families unable to keep up that level for subsequent kids, the study found. Parents spend less time reading to their later-born children and teaching them basic concepts, like the alphabet. They’re also less likely to provide engaging toys or activities

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