Birth Order has a lot to do with who we are as a person. It can determine what type of personality we have and how much intellect we possess. It can also play a role in our athletic abilities, our interests, and our hobbies. This topic is important to me because all of the research I have done on birth order is very similar to me and my siblings.

Alfred Adler was one of the main researchers on birth order. He focused a lot on personality traits and believed where a child was born in a family played a significant role in who they are as a person. He said that the oldest and only children have similar traits and the youngest and middle children don't have similar personality traits. He also told us that the environment a child grows up in helps form them as a person.
Alfred Adler

Robert Zajonc believed that a person's intelligence depends on where they lie in the family birth order. He said that the oldest child will score the highest on intelligence tests and that the last born and only children will score lower on intelligence tests. He also says younger siblings and only children are slower to pick up on verbal skills because they are used to having older siblings speak for them and explain things to them. This is known as the "last born handicap."
Robert Zajonc

Birth Order can have an effect on relationships and what type of people you are interested in as well. Thus, men with only older sisters should be expected to marry women with only younger brothers, and such marriages should be more stable and successful than other birth order combinations. A large study of 1,000 engaged couples, found 14% more oldest-oldest, middle-middle, youngest-youngest and only-only pairings than would be expected by chance.

A Norwegian study showed that first born children are generally smarter than their younger siblings, and tend to have a three point higher IQ on average. The researchers hypothesized that first born children have a higher intellectual capacity because they learn from watching their younger siblings. A Philippines study showed that the oldest children tend to get better paying jobs and the youngest children tend to get more creative jobs, such as comedy and art (Kluger, 2). First born children are more likely to go to college and they are usually more responsible and used to being the center of attention. Younger children are also less likely to be vaccinated than the elder children. First born children tend to be more overachievers and they usually strive for perfection. Since older children are more responsible they tend to get jobs such as CEO's. The eldest children also tend to have better social skills than their younger siblings.

Middle children usually have the hardest time fitting in, or finding their place. The middle child tends to fall in the shadow of the eldest child, and if they aren't as good as their oldest brother they are usually left in the background. They are typically the complete opposite of the first born child, and usually even quite different than the youngest child. Whatever the first child is not good at, the middle child tends to excel in. The middle children usually don't get 100% of the parents money or time investment because they are overlooked and in the shadows. Sometimes the middle children act out for attention because they don't get as much attention as the oldest and the youngest children. Middle children develop what is called "middle child syndrome" which is why most middle children develop good verbal skills. Good verbal skills may also play a part in why many middle children are known as the "peacekeepers" of the family.

The youngest children are usually the comedians of the family. The youngest child can usually get his or her way just by being outrageously funny. Even today most comedians, such as Stephen Colbert, are the youngest child in their families. Later born children are usually better at what is called agreeableness, which is the ability to get along with the world. Very small children have a hard time distinguishing the things they know from the things they assume other people know. A toddler who watches an adult hide a toy will expect that anyone who walks into the room afterward will also know where to find it, reckoning that all knowledge is universal knowledge (Kluger, 3). Younger children also tend to be more rebellious and more likely to abuse alcohol than the other children (Duke). They also tend to be the most popular child. The youngest child is more out going and adventurous and more prone to play dangerous sports.

Only children are almost always the most spoiled of all children. Since they are only child's they usually get whatever they want. They tend to be very creative because they are used to spending time alone and entertaining themselves throughout their childhood. An only child tends to be extremely responsible. School can be a huge adjustment for an only child because they go from being the center of attention to having to share the limelight. Some children adjust to this very well, while for others it is a great struggle. Maturity and a large vocabulary are common in an only child.

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Here is a video that recaps most of the things I have just explained.

Here is a video about first born children.

This link will take you to a short quiz determining your birth order.


The reason I chose birth order was because I am the oldest of three siblings. I have two younger brothers and this research on birth order is pretty much identical to me and my brothers' personalities. The birth orders I have discussed are all for families with three children, but this can apply to any family. I believe it is relevant to most families with children as well. Birth order can be important to college students because it can determine what type of a person you are going to be. It can determine your personality and even your intellect.


Frank J. Sulloway
Science , New Series, Vol. 316, No. 5832 (Jun. 22, 2007), pp. 1711-1712Published by: American Association for the Advancement of ScienceArticle Stable URL:

Hartshorne, Joshua K. "Birth Order Effects in the Formation of Long-term Relationships." Journal of Individual Psychology, n.d. Web. 2 Dec. 2013. <>.

birth order. (2006). In Encyclopaedic Dictionary of Psychology. Retrieved from
The Power of Birth Order. (2007). Time Magazine. Retrieved from

Amy Duke. (2013).