First-Borns Are The Smartest

The child raised as the eldest in a family is likely to have a higher IQ than his or her siblings, work reveals.

A Norwegian team found first born children and those who had lost elder siblings and had hence become the eldest, scored higher on intelligence.

The link, reported in Science, was found by looking at more than 250,000 male Norwegian conscripts.

Experts have disagreed for decades about how birth order might influence intellect and achievement.


Supporters of the theory argue the eldest child gets more undivided attention from their parents from an early age.

Others claim differences occur in the womb before birth because with each subsequent pregnancy the mother produces higher levels of antibodies that may attack the foetal brain.

While others claim the relationship between birth order and intelligence is false, being biased by family size – historically, couples with lower IQs have tended to have more children than couples with higher IQs.

We found that it is the son’s social position and not his biological position that counts

Researcher Professor Petter Kristensen

Professor Petter Kristensen, at the National Institute of Occupational Health in Oslo, and colleague Tor Bjerkedal, at the Norwegian Armed Forces Medical Service, said although the IQ difference they found in their study groups was small, it was significant.

The findings also suggested that the trend was down to social rather than biological differences, they said.

For example, men who were third born but who then lost an elder sibling in early childhood and so were raised as the second born had IQ scores close to those of “genuine” second-borns.

Professor Kristensen said: “We found that it is the son’s social position and not his biological position that counts.”

Frank Sulloway, of the Institute of Personality and Social Research at the University of California, has been studying how upbringing influences personality and intelligence.

He told the Daily Telegraph the higher IQ in the first-born could, in part, be gained by their tutoring of younger siblings.

“In addition, the tendency for first-borns to occupy the niche of a surrogate parent, and to take on the role of the conscientious, self-disciplined and mature sibling may also explain why first-borns have higher IQs,” he said.


Now, I’m not quite sure about the I.Q part.

However, being the oldest has probably made me better at reasoning, responsibility, and judgement. It’s probably comes naturally; due to the fact that the oldest is required to do so much. It’s as though we become the mini-moms or mini-dads of the family!

What do you all think? Let me know. I’d like some feedback.

For more info on Birth Order visit:



Filed under Culture, Current Events, Education, Life, Thoughts, World

2 responses to “First-Borns Are The Smartest

  1. In general, I tend to be terribly weary of anything IQ. Those tests persist with creepy stubbornness and continue to be hailed by academic types in ivory towers.

    Sure, having greater expectations of a child and communicating with them at a higher level expands a child’s vocabulary and reasoning skills. If every child is treated as such and some are not relegated to the insignificant and ‘younger’ status, I would think that these 1 or point differences in IQ scores would disappear. There are far greater determinants of intelligence (no matter how defined), achievement and success than these scores but psychologists have to pay the bills too.

  2. I agree, aside from the anecdotal evidence to the contrary, this seems to me to be based on very marginal differences between the subjects involved. To say that someone with a measured IQ roughly one point higher than another is “smarter” in any statistically significant way ignores how controversial the tests are, and how one can get rather widely varying results from test to test.

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