Are you the brother or sister? Are you smarter than your little brother? Or are you perhaps the smallest and therefore the most rebellious?
We have always felt a certain fascination with how our position within the family in relation to the brothers affects our character, but a new study reveals that these stereotypes do not match reality.
However, there appears to be other reasons for jealousy that we feel for the position they occupy our brothers.
A team of researchers from the University of Leipzig in Germany, examined how neurotic, extroverted, open and friendly subjects were 20,000 United Kingdom, United States and Germany, and concluded that birth order does not affect the personality.
However, he added evidence that it can affect who you are, but in another way: on average, older siblings are smarter, while the youngest are healthier and more likely to homosexuality.
Question of status
Leipzig study found a slight difference in the level of intelligence: older tended to be a little more intelligent than their younger siblings, which in turn proved to be smarter than the smallest of the family.
The researchers also found that there were differences in the perception of their own intelligence: the elderly, for example, said they agreed with statements like “I’m quick to understand things” more so than younger siblings.
The firstborn also said they had greater ability to understand abstract ideas and dominating a richer vocabulary than their younger siblings.
Although it is not clear what these differences, previous research indicates that it may be for the status that older children are in the family and not by biological changes in the uterus are due.
Another linked to birth order trait is health: the younger brothers seem to be healthier.
A number of studies, including research from Queen’s University in Belfast, Northern Ireland has studied the relationship between birth order and the incidence of type 1 diabetes.
Individuals who were born after the firstborn have a lower risk of diabetes, says research.
According to experts, this may be due to changes in the uterus or lived after birth, such as exposure to infections experiences.
Younger siblings are more likely to be exposed to a variety of illnesses as their older brothers diseases are spread in the school and bring home.
Researchers speculate that this stimulates the immune system younger siblings and reduces the risk that it mistakenly attacks the body, which can result in autoimmune diseases such as type 1 diabetes.
Another feature that research shows that is related to birth order is sexual orientation in men.
Men with more older siblings are more likely to homosexuality.
This effect is known as “the phenomenon of big brother”: for every older brother a man has slightly increased its ability to be attracted to people of the same sex.
Tony Bogaert of Brock University in Canada, one of the scientists who first observed this phenomenon, explains that it is a biological effect.
“Every elder brother somehow changes the womb. And we think that the most likely explanation has to do with the maternal immune response.”
Male fetuses produce a particular type of protein in the uterus that helps form the genitals. But when it occurs, the mother’s body responds by producing other proteins, known as antibodies.
This is a natural process that is neither dangerous for the mother or the fetus. But to say that in subsequent pregnancies, the antibodies are generated faster if the next fetus is male.
As a result, having older siblings makes the male fetus exposed faster these antibodies from the mother.
Bogaert believed that this immune response explains the phenomenon of big brother.
But this answer is only one of many factors influencing male sexuality.
Traits such as intelligence and sexuality are determined by a series of interconnected factors such as family size, age of the mother at birth and genetics, which means finding a relationship with birth order is extremely difficult.
They need to conduct further studies to find these influences.
The study of Leipzig was the second largest investigating the effects of the order of children.