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Birth Order Effects: Myths


- Alfred Adler found that ones actual position in birth order did not cause personality differences. What caused the differences was the different family and social environments that the child was placed in.


Baskett 's study involving 278 participants in 1985 concluded that society places stereotypes on the way they believe birth order affects an individual's personality.

Birth order effects may diminish over time and disappear by adulthood (Ernst & Angst, 1983).

Kimberly J. Saudino, PhD, a psychology professor at Boston University,
"It could be a response to a society that values individuality, or it emphasizes children's individual place in the family," says Saudino, who suspects these results might disappear if studying collectivist cultures.

Often Parental influences may shape the way a child will act, for example, first borns acting as leaders towards younger siblings.  But this doesn't necessarily connect to Birth order.

"There is no link between birth order and intelligence"
-American Psychologist

Dionne Quintuplets

- Ernst and Angst were firm believers in the theory that children are not only confined to the stereotypical roles that they possess within the family, but their roles and other environments such as sports and the playground outside of the family assist in the development of their personalities. 

This idea supports the fact that birth order is not the sole predictor of personality and development because children are often placed into various roles amongst their peers which require them to act opposed to their stereotypical behaviours.

For example, a first born child who is said to be a natural born leader, has made a school soccer team and is one of the youngest players on the team. The child has to learn new ways of interacting with others as compared to the way they would treat their siblings.

Big Brothers

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By: Holly Clarke and Ashley Muise