Are you serious? Outgoing? It's not because of birth order

Are You Serious? Outgoing? It's Not Because of Birth Order

Does being an older brother or a younger sister make you smarter or more outgoing? A new study says the answer is no.

The idea that birth order affects intelligence and personality has been debated for roughly a century and gained steam in the '90s. The Family Niche Theory says older siblings are born physically superior and are more likely to become dominant. Later-born children supposedly have to find ways to distinguish themselves, and therefore become more extroverted.

But support for the theory has been mixed, so researchers at two German universities analyzed a massive database of more than 20,000 German, British and American adults to try to settle the debate.

They found that birth order has no effect on major personality traits like extroversion, emotional stability, agreeableness and conscientiousness.

And there was only a very small link between birth order and IQ. Older siblings showed slightly higher intelligence, although many of the numbers were self-reported.

Even that finding isn't necessarily biological, though.

One of the researchers told ABC Australia it could be that firstborns tutor younger siblings, and "teaching other people has high cognitive demands."

So don't worry: You and your siblings can all be extroverted, agreeable and conscientious.

Take a look at some notable people who are firstborns:
Notable, successful oldest children
See Gallery
Are you serious? Outgoing? It's not because of birth order
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 29: Former U.S. President Bill Clinton speaks at the Clinton Global Initiative's closing session on September 29, 2015 in New York City. The Clinton Global Initiative, happening simultaneously with the United Nation's General Assembly, invites leaders from politics, business and culture to discuss world issues. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
Hillary Clinton, former U.S. secretary of state and 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, speaks during a campaign rally in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S., on Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2015. Clinton and Bernie Sanders clashed sharply on Tuesday's first Democratic debate over which presidential candidate has the tougher plan to rein in the excesses of Wall Street, putting financial reform at the center of the lively debate. Photographer: Christopher Dilts/Bloomberg via Getty Images
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 09: J.K. Rowling illuminates the Empire State Building to mark the USA launch of her non-profit children's organization, Lumos, at The Empire State Building on April 9, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Nomi Ellenson/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 26: Beyonce performs onstage during 2015 Global Citizen Festival to end extreme poverty by 2030 in Central Park on September 26, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Global Citizen)
CONINGSBY, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 22: Prince William, Duke of Cambridge after a flight in a Chipmonk aircraft at the 100th Anniversary Parade of 29 (Reserve) Squadron at RAF Coningsby on September 22, 2015 in Coningsby, England. (Photo by Mark Cuthbert/UK Press via Getty Images)

More from
Hershey's dives into premium chocolate race with Deluxe Kiss
his controversial dessert has quite a disgusting reaction when you eat it
New study traces origins of dogs to Central Asia
Read Full Story

Sign up for the Best Bites by AOL newsletter to get the most delicious recipes and hottest food trends delivered straight to your inbox every day.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.