Birth Order May Not Affect Personality After All
It's time to stop playing the birth order card.
A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences says that the order in which you were born in your family really doesn't affect your personality nearly as much as most of us like to believe.
Psychologists from the Universities of Mainz and Leipzig in Germany analyzed the data of more than 20,000 adults from Germany, the U.S. and the U.K. and found that central personality traits such as extraversion, emotional stability, agreeableness and conscientiousness are not affected by birth-order position.
They did find some small effects regarding intellect, with firstborns more likely to self-report a rich vocabulary and less difficulty understanding abstract ideas, confirming results of previous studies.
These results contradict prominent psychological theories, the most notable dating back to the early 1900s by Sigmund Freud’s colleague, psychologist Alfred Adler. The two ended up parting ways over Adler’s belief in the impact of birth order on personality.
Some of the more popular beliefs about birth order are that firstborns tend to be perfectionists, while middle children develop a talent for diplomacy and those born last are expected to be rebellious.