The birth order in the family shapes the personality of an individual. Hundreds of scientific studies have been conducted on this subject matter since the 1970s, but the extent to how much do the birth order affects the child’s development is still unknown. However, some aspects of personality such as being relaxed, responsible, and organized remain consistent across studies.
Now, the most recent study of personality based on birth order finds that the youngest siblings are the funniest.
The Most Recent Findings
According to YouGov survey, a significant number of youngest siblings think that they are funnier compared to their older siblings. The study asked 1,783 British adults to rate the various aspects of their personality. Among the participants, 46 percent who are the youngest siblings in their family rated themselves as the funniest, as compared to the 36 percent older siblings.
The study also reveals some other factors in personality that supports the findings that youngest siblings are the funniest:
• Compared to the 10 percent of older siblings, 17 percent of the youngest siblings are more favoured by parents;
• 47 percent of youngest siblings are more easy-going compared to the 42 percent of older siblings; and
• 42 percent are more relaxed than the 39 percent of their older counterparts.
“Youngest children are manipulative, social, outgoing, and great at sales… They got away with murder as kids and know how to get around people,” psychologist and author Dr. Kevin Leman says.
Separate studies show the reason behind this. From the oldest to the younger child, the parents become more comfortable in their roles are parents. They have learned the things they should know as parents and have gone through the process of child-rearing. Hence, they become lenient and hands-off with the youngest child.
Comparison to Older Siblings
One possible reason for this is that the oldest siblings tend to feel the burden of responsibility more than their younger siblings. In fact, the study also shows that 54 percent of oldest siblings feel that they are more responsible than the 31 percent youngest siblings.
“First-borns tend to be more responsible, competitive and conventional, whereas laterborns have to ‘distinguish’ themselves and create a specific niche by being playful, cooperative, and especially, rebellious,” Belgian psychologists Vassilis Saroglou and Laure Fiasse wrote in the Personality and Individual Differences journal.
The YouGov study also finds that 54 percent of the oldest siblings tend to be more responsible than the 31 percent of the youngest siblings. Other factors of personality show that oldest siblings tend to be more organized, self-confident, successful, family-oriented, and prioritise their own life compared to their younger counterparts.
The researchers added, “To some extent age itself, rather than family dynamics, may be responsible for the differing characteristics.”