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Science Says First-born Children Are Smarter

Update Date: Feb 10, 2017 08:17 PM EST

A team of economists have validated and confirmed that first born children have the advantage when it comes to intelligence. Researchers at the University of Edinburgh found evidence that first born children have higher IQ scores than they younger siblings as early as their first birthday. The study was published in the Journal of Human Resources.

Researchers believe parents were able to give more mental stimulation and support in developing thinking skills. Parents took part in more activities, such as reading and crafts that helped stimulate the mental growth of the child.

By the time the next child came along, parents had already changed their behavior. Mothers took more risks during later pregnancies such as smoking. First born children have the advantage which they say leads to better wages and higher levels of education.

According to Huffington Post, Edinburgh and her team of experts observed almost 5,000 children from pre-birth to 14-years-old. They have been assessed every two years on reading, vocabulary and other skills.

Parental behavior was also observed and linked to the children's test scores according to CBS Philly. After controlling socio-economic factors and family background the study found that first-born children were better in reading, math, verbal communication and general awareness than younger siblings.

The National Bureau of Economic Research used data from Denmark and Florida. They used data from the US children of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth. The survey is a dataset collected by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

"For most, it is probably not difficult to understand how and why one's parenting focus and abilities may change with his or her latter children," said Dr. Ana Nuevo-Chiquero of the University of Edinburgh's School of Economics.

She added "These broad shifts in parental behavior appear to set their latter-born children on a lower path for cognitive development and academic achievement with lasting impact on adult outcomes."

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