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10 Ways That Birth Order Affects Your Life

Tyler Durden's picture


Where you exist in your family’s birth order can profoundly inform your path in life, whether because of genetics or simply the way that family members tend to treat firstborns vs. middle children vs. youngest children.  Psychologists have been debating the “Why?” since the 1800s, but, as ConvergEx's Nick Colas notes, the outcome is certain regardless of the cause – the effects of birth order last for a lifetime...


Via ConvergEx's Nick Colas,

For example, firstborn kids are often rules-following and do better in society, while younger children tend to be revolutionaries, artists and so forth.  Only children generally act like firstborns.  Today’s Note from ConvergEx explains how birth order matters through the lens of a top 10 list of things you should know about birth order psychology.  After all, much of business and investing depends on your ability to evaluate people, and this is another useful tool.
Note From Nick: If you had to size up a stranger and you could only ask them one question, what would it be?  For me, the answer is simple: “Where are you in the birth order of your siblings?”  Are you a first/only child, or a later born?  As Beth outlines today, the answer is quite telling.  By virtue of genetics or childrearing (the debate rages there), birth order matters a lot to the person you become.  
Question: What do Hillary Clinton, Marissa Mayer, Oprah Winfrey and Beyoncé have in common?  Answer: They are all firstborn girls.  Who all happen to be on the Forbes list of most powerful women in the world.  And if you consult findings from the vast field of birth order psychology, you’ll see that there is probably more than coincidence at play here.  A study released just last month found that firstborn girls are statistically the most likely to succeed among any combination of birth order and gender, for the simple explanation that parents devote more time and energy to them.  It could be that they are more intelligent too, but evidence points to the role of parental investment as the leading cause.
Well what about Jeff Bezos, Steve Jobs and Aristotle?  They were all adopted.  And according to Adam Pertman, author of a book on the subject titled Adoption Nation, adopted people “feel more compelled to show that they can do it” due to a sense of loss of their original family.  A feeling of rejection often pushes adopted children to wonder if they are good enough and whether they are the reason their original family is no longer intact.  As a result, they’re predisposed to prove their worthiness and avoid another tragedy.
While birth order is not the end all be all – for example Ted Bundy was also adopted – it certainly impacts our personality and therefore the course of our lives.  Success in the business world is partly dependent on your ability to read people and understand their emotional intelligence, of which birth order plays a key role.  Thus we’ve compiled a top 10 list of things you should keep in mind about birth order psychology and how it factors into our lives.  Read on for the details…

1) More than half of Nobel prizewinners and U.S. presidents are firstborn children, as were 21 of the first 23 astronauts into space.  Again, there is more than coincidence at play here because the general psychological consensus is that firstborns are natural leaders and perfectionists who tend to be ambitious and possess strong drive and determination.  As a result, they gravitate toward professions requiring precision such as careers in science, medicine, law, engineering, computer science and accounting, according to research published in Science Daily.


2) Secondborns and middle children are the most likely to become professional athletes.  They often feel inferior to their older siblings and thus are fiercely competitive, leading them to excel at team sports.  This competition also pushes them to be innovative in coming up with ways to stand out from other siblings, and they also learn to become good negotiators and compromisers, which causes may to possess superior social skills later in life.  Popular career choices include trial lawyers or social activists, who may be attempting to capitalize on a sense of injustice from being overlooked by the demands of their oldest and youngest sibling (also according to research published in Science Daily).


3) Lastborns are the most self-confident and socially successful.  As the “baby” of the family, lastborns develop strong social and coping skills as a result of being nurtured by older family members.  They learn from older siblings and therefore tend to reach some milestones earlier in life.  They also tend to be affectionate, creative and spontaneous and thrive on being center of attention while blaming others for their mistakes.


4) Only children get the highest grades, but they struggle in kindergarten – socially.  Ohio State researchers studying how kindergarteners make friends found that those without siblings have poorer social skills vs. their peers, but by the 5th grade those social skills normalize and as adults there is no lingering effect.  Additionally, a study published in the American Sociological Review found that siblings hurt a child academically, as the greater the family size the less time parents spend talking to each child about school and the less they save for college.  Parents of larger families also have lower educational expectations for each child and fewer available educational materials.


5) Each additional sibling you have reduces that likelihood that you will divorce by as much as 2%.  The same Ohio State researchers as in #4 elaborated that more siblings translates to more experience in dealing with others, which seems to lead to additional assistance in dealing with marriage relationships later on in life.  More siblings also means more opportunities to practice negotiating and understanding opposing points of view.  Interestingly enough, though, the divorce benefits stop after the 7th sibling.  The 8th doesn’t hurt, rather just stops having an effect on communication skills, etc.


6) The greater the age gap between siblings, the better chance the children have to succeed.  A study conducted by the Institute for Social and Economic Research at the University of Essex concluded that children are most likely to achieve higher levels of educational attainment if the distance between their siblings is four years or more.


7) Firstborn girls are 13% more ambitious than firstborn boys.  According to the same University of Essex study, firstborn girls are statistically the most likely to succeed for this reason, as the extra dose of ambition means that they are more likely to further their education than their male counterparts.  Firstborns overall, regardless of gender, are 7% more likely to continue their education than are their brother and sisters.


8) There is a negative correlation between birth order and IQ.  Psychologists have been debating this statement for decades, but a recent study by Norwegian epidemiologists Petter Kristensen and Tor Bjerkedal received major respect from the psychological community.  Praised for its sheer size (some 250,000 Norwegian constituents) and strict controls for family size, the study deemed that the greater the number of older siblings one has the lower the IQ – albeit not by much.


9) Birth rank among twins, triplets, etc. – though it may be determined by only a matter of minutes – still matters.  The firstborn takes on a leadership role for a twin pair, while the secondborn is more compliant and willing to follow, according to multiple studies by the pioneer in the field of birth order psychology, Alfred Adler.


10) Adopted children over the age of five bring their birth order with them.  Before the age of five, regardless of whether they are adopted within the family’s birth order, adopted children naturally take on the characteristics as would any child.  However, an 8-year-old firstborn adopted child would still have the personality traits of a firstborn even if he/she were adopted into a family with a 12-year old.  You can see how conflict might arise…

To sum it up, birth order – and to a broader extent, family life – matters, even though we don’t yet know why it does.  There are no hard and fast rules, as in the Steve Jobs/Ted Bundy comparison, but birth order psychology indeed provides a set of loose guidelines that, in conjunction with other analytical tools, can contribute to your understanding of another person – what motivate them, what causes them to succeed and under which circumstances they are likely to fail.


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Fri, 05/09/2014 - 15:24 | 4744506 TrumpXVI
TrumpXVI's picture

Hmmmm, in my family almost the direct OPPOSITE of those so called tendencies are what have developed!

Fri, 05/09/2014 - 15:30 | 4744529 max2205
max2205's picture

Ben and Janet were hatched.....what does that make them

Fri, 05/09/2014 - 15:34 | 4744551 knukles
knukles's picture

Repeatedly dropping children on their heads after hatching works wonders.
And if it don't work out, the aliens will always take them as protoplasm for the stem cell production program.
See, mommy really didn't give a shit about you.
She was just a good liar.

Fri, 05/09/2014 - 15:38 | 4744559 Anusocracy
Anusocracy's picture

Which one hatched first?

Fri, 05/09/2014 - 15:55 | 4744625 duo
duo's picture

O was born in 1961 but hatched in 2006.....

Fri, 05/09/2014 - 18:55 | 4745064 I am more equal...
I am more equal than others's picture



Ben and Janet were hatched.....what does that make them

Come on...

Satan spawns his evil minions. 

Fri, 05/09/2014 - 19:00 | 4745080 fightthepower
fightthepower's picture

You make your own destiny!

Fri, 05/09/2014 - 19:53 | 4745191 cifo
cifo's picture

"What do Hillary Clinton, Marissa Mayer, Oprah Winfrey and Beyoncé have in common?  Answer: They are all firstborn girls."

Who TF wants to have children like Hillary Clinton or Marissa Mayer anyway?


Fri, 05/09/2014 - 22:32 | 4745488 SmackDaddy
SmackDaddy's picture

had to yahoo search mayer.  damn id fuck the shit out of her....

Fri, 05/09/2014 - 23:47 | 4745592 cifo
cifo's picture

there is more than looks...

Sat, 05/10/2014 - 03:00 | 4745721 atomp
atomp's picture

not really

Sat, 05/10/2014 - 09:17 | 4745876 Oh regional Indian
Oh regional Indian's picture

I think Dubya's coming into office threw a lot of people's sense of what it "takes" to succeed in life, and putting him there was probably for that very reason.

Destroy the accepted path. Understand where "member" "Ships" can take you. To ports that are closed to most.

But interestsingly, this line "while younger children tend to be revolutionaries, artists and so forth." matches my life so completely! :-) 

Rebel without a pause....


Meanwhile, the older sibling is a breat cancer surgeon in the US with a pe-degree list as long as it is deep. 

Sat, 05/10/2014 - 09:35 | 4745894 nmewn
nmewn's picture

Many feel the same way about the Clinton''s a good one:

"Sneed hears rumbles former President Bill Clinton, who lied about his affair with White House intern Monica “That Woman” Lewinsky, may opt to publicly apologize for the abuse Lewinsky claims she’s endured since the sex scandal broke more than 15 years ago.

The rationale? To fend off critics of his wife Hillary who blame her for protecting a powerful husband who is a sexual predator. Hillary Clinton is eyeing a 2016 presidential bid."

No word yet on whether this rumored apology tour will include a stop at Lady Justice's home (to atone for committing perjury) or our house (for wagging his finger in our faces and lying into the camera).

But what difference does it make now! ;-)

Sat, 05/10/2014 - 09:51 | 4745906 Oh regional Indian
Oh regional Indian's picture

And from what one learns of Mena, Cocaine, Bush, CIA, Evergreen, boys by railroad tracks.....

It is a mind-duck so far out that it becomes impossible to rationalize.

And so we have the family....whew....Foster, Whitewater, Rose LAw firm, web hubble....

Arkansas State Prison Blood HIV scandal for France, Japan and India especially....but world over....

And this is a candidate.... and an ossified penis to whom th eworld still doles out loads of disaster relief monies........


By the way Nm, what is the residual impact of Deepwater Horizon on life in your area? Business as usual again?



Sat, 05/10/2014 - 10:06 | 4745915 nmewn
nmewn's picture

Yes, this is an entirely new level of cynical behavior on the Clinton's part (if true). Never before has a president abused his position on a subordinate and then his wife comes along & abuses the subordinate yet again in order to attain the presidency.

Its really quite

Yeah, everythings fine here, my part of Fla didn't get any of the spill and from what I can tell everything is back to normal. The seafood is fine, I eat it. It sucked for the people who depend on the gulf (fishermen-tourism) but its over.

Sat, 05/10/2014 - 10:47 | 4745963 Oh regional Indian
Oh regional Indian's picture

Oh cool, good to know. I thought you were in Bobby Jindal country :-) 

As for the rest....these are those times, that they spoke of, high wierdness abounds.


Sat, 05/10/2014 - 08:01 | 4745823 Tall Tom
Tall Tom's picture

You make your own destiny!


And you can become President of the United Flakes...


Circumstances and environment have nothing to do with it whatsoever.


That comment was as lame, superficial and as shallow as this entire article.


Wow. I am so impressed.


What a waste of fucking time.

Sat, 05/10/2014 - 09:18 | 4745880 Oh regional Indian
Oh regional Indian's picture

United Flakes..... Classic Tall Tom, original?

Consider it now a part of the vengeful lexicon...

These United Flakes.....never crumble!

Sat, 05/10/2014 - 06:52 | 4745787 lakecity55
lakecity55's picture

This proves he came from a test tube of common household chemicals.

Fri, 05/09/2014 - 15:57 | 4744631 ParkAveFlasher
ParkAveFlasher's picture

Fredo was the oldest Corleone.  What about him?

Fri, 05/09/2014 - 16:45 | 4744781 CheapBastard
CheapBastard's picture

mmmm....Trust Fund babies seem to be successful no matter when they were born.

I respect research, but some of it simply does not make sense and is very biased. Like the artile yesterday blaming poverty for obesity. [Hint: It's caused by eating too much].

People try to blame any and every thing for their failures or weaknesses...but seldom say, "It's my Fault." That accountability has disappeared from the top down. You don't see it on Wall Street, in CEO offices, Congress and now seldom see it on Main Street.

Fri, 05/09/2014 - 19:50 | 4745184 Bastiat
Bastiat's picture

Define "successful" -- most of the trust fund babies I've known were losers on a personal level.  I honesty feel sorry for most of them.

Fri, 05/09/2014 - 20:11 | 4745229 cynicalskeptic
cynicalskeptic's picture

If they sit on their ass while the hired help manages their money, then they they are 'successful'.  

Most trust fund types that manage their own money manage to go broke fast.

Fri, 05/09/2014 - 19:56 | 4745195 SAT 800
SAT 800's picture

You don't see it on Zero Hedge either; where people post comments with "artile" in them. Spell Check exists, and it works fairly well; all you need is enough self-respect to make sure you write up to your actual literacy standard. In other words; be responsible.

Sat, 05/10/2014 - 19:51 | 4746973 Terminus C
Terminus C's picture

Fcuk ovf.

Fri, 05/09/2014 - 22:23 | 4745466 toady
toady's picture

Sonny was first. Fredo was second

Plus they're fictional.

Fri, 05/09/2014 - 23:27 | 4745567 Jerk_Store
Jerk_Store's picture

Fredo was the middle child. Sonny was the first.

Sat, 05/10/2014 - 00:03 | 4745610 disabledvet
disabledvet's picture

Exactly. "Psychologically speaking anything is true." You just have to look at the results and make it conform to your theories.

It's all good.

In the meantime...

Sat, 05/10/2014 - 09:08 | 4745867 sleigher
sleigher's picture

Kinda like that global warming/climate change debate everyone is so fond of.  We have known the answer for some time now.

Fri, 05/09/2014 - 15:39 | 4744563 Gringo Viejo
Gringo Viejo's picture

"my mother has a mustache, my father wears a dress, 

geez look Krumpke, no wonder I'm a mess,

Hey Officer Krumpke, the kid is a slob,

all he really needs is a good honest job,

Hey Officer Krumpke, you did it again,

can't ya see the kid needs a year in the pen."


"Officer Krumpke" from West Side Story













Fri, 05/09/2014 - 16:06 | 4744666 Colonel Klink
Colonel Klink's picture

Reptillian like they are.

Fri, 05/09/2014 - 15:31 | 4744536 NotApplicable
NotApplicable's picture

I also wonder what the social effects are upon kids being in age-sequestered herds in school, rather than the ole one-room schoolhouse where older children tutored/mentored younger children?

Fri, 05/09/2014 - 15:36 | 4744554 knukles
knukles's picture

Much better for the progressive programming machine.
Factory smooth production

Fri, 05/09/2014 - 15:45 | 4744589 Anusocracy
Anusocracy's picture

Did they control for cuckolding?

Fri, 05/09/2014 - 15:55 | 4744623 Matt
Matt's picture

How does that impact birth order?

Fri, 05/09/2014 - 19:19 | 4745124 Anusocracy
Anusocracy's picture

Different fathers, different behaviors.

Fri, 05/09/2014 - 23:10 | 4745533 TruthInSunshine
TruthInSunshine's picture

"COPS: Baby mamas teamed up to ambush, assault father of their

"Baby Mamas In Tag-Team Taser Assault Of Daddy
Victim said women were angry he had new girlfriend"

--"A South Carolina man was pummeled and tased yesterday afternoon by his “baby’s mama” and his “other baby’s mama,” who teamed up to ambush and assault the father of their children since he “has a new girlfriend,” cops report.

According to a Spartanburg Police Department report, Rodrick Tucker, 21, told officers that Tabitha Martin, 23, invited him to her apartment Tuesday. Tucker, who described Martin as his “baby’s mama,” added that when he arrived at the residence, Martin invited him into the bedroom.

Tucker told police that “once he was lying on the bed” in Martin’s apartment, Courtney Littlejohn--his “other baby’s mama”--entered the bedroom. Tucker, who was likely expecting an afternoon delight, quickly became the target of a tag-team attack.

The women, Tucker told police, yanked him off the bed and began “repeatedly punching him in the face and head.” After escaping the bedroom, Tucker said he was “again knocked to the floor.” He added that Littlejohn, 23, “sat on top of him, not allowing him to get up.”

Martin (left) and Littlejohn are pictured above.

Tucker said that “both females began to tase him several times with a stun-gun.” After again freeing himself from the pair’s clutches, Tucker said that he “picked up his baby, thinking the ladies would stop attacking him” while he was holding the small human shield.

That was a miscalculation on Tucker’s part.

The women, he said, “continued to swing at him until he finally gave the baby to Ms. Martin,” police reported. Tucker, who fled the home after handing over the baby, told cops that he believed Martin and Littlejohn “were mad at him because he has a new girlfriend.”

A check of Tucker’s Facebook page reveals a May 1 update indicating that he is now in a new romantic relationship. Tucker (seen at left) lists his occupation as “Certified Sex Specialist” in the “About” section of his Facebook page.

Along with taking Tucker’s statement, police photographed his “injuries and torn clothing.” Cops, who unsuccessfully attempted to contact Martin and Littlejohn in connection with the assault case, noted that the police report and evidence will be presented to a judge."

5/7 UPDATE: Littlejohn was arrested today at 11 AM on a domestic violence charge and booked into the county jail, where bond has not been set. Click here for her mug shot.

5/7 UPDATE II: Martin was booked into jail just before 6 PM today on a domestic violence charge (for which bond has not been set). Click here to view her mug shot.

Sat, 05/10/2014 - 00:53 | 4745656 disabledvet
disabledvet's picture

Wow. South Carolina.

Who knew?

Sat, 05/10/2014 - 04:44 | 4745747 UselessEater
UselessEater's picture

Damn I avoid teevee & gossip but read the whole post by TIS.

Need a shower and a good book.

Sat, 05/10/2014 - 09:25 | 4745886 Oh regional Indian
Oh regional Indian's picture

Seriously, I know that dirty feeling.

10+ years of no TV will do that to you....

It brings back flashes of my watching Jerry Springer, Open mouthed, when I first came to America in 1995....

You simply cannot un-see some things....

Or take back that lost time...



Fri, 05/09/2014 - 15:57 | 4744617 daveO
daveO's picture

I think most kids want to be around older kids, so they can learn more. They are 'dumb-downed' in the current system. When I was a kid, I constantly hung around older kids when I could. Sometimes they'd bully me, but it was still better. When the bullying's not hateful, it's not a problem. The whole class structure was created to give more teachers jobs, like middle schools where adminstrators get in on the gravy train, too. When I was in 7&8th grades, they moved those two grades from the Elementary to the High School building. We went from being 'top of the totem' to being 'bottom of the totem'. That was more educational than the whole 8th grade academic year.

Fri, 05/09/2014 - 16:02 | 4744653 shovelhead
shovelhead's picture

We did it for the cigarettes and beer.

Might even get in a titty squeeze or two if the gals got drunk enough.

Sat, 05/10/2014 - 09:12 | 4745872 sleigher
sleigher's picture

These days the middle schools went from having music, arts, and sports programs to having 6 vice principals.  2 for each of 6th, 7th, and 8th grade.  We had 1 VP in middle and high school.  I wonder how many assistant to the VP's there are?  Certainly that is a $60k+ a year job...

Fri, 05/09/2014 - 19:00 | 4745078 Brutlstrudl
Brutlstrudl's picture

My family moved a lot. I went to 6 different schools in 12 years. After  a few of them I started noticing I ran into the same people and the same problems . I learned early on which problems were mine and which needed a punch in the face.

Fri, 05/09/2014 - 21:21 | 4745387 HardAssets
HardAssets's picture

@Brutlstrudl - military family ?

I went through the same thing. Army brat.

No problems with military post schools, since all the kids went through the same thing. It could be challenging when going to a civilian school though.

Sat, 05/10/2014 - 04:56 | 4745750 UselessEater
UselessEater's picture

I wasn't an army brat but went through quite a few schools in different countries; some local some international schools depending on our luck (hardship years).

Its odd running into the "same" people... like typecasts. Worst a teacher who teaches from an accepted PR text book.

I was kicked out of class for correcting a Aussie teacher that we did not have slaves or apartheid in Rhodesia but paid servants like Tembo who was kinda awesome, just wanted his extra sixpence for the clap med.

Most teachers can't find their way out of a paper bag without govt guidance.

Fri, 05/09/2014 - 21:52 | 4745409 HardAssets
HardAssets's picture

One of the best ways to learn something well is having to teach it to others.

That was one of the many benefits of the old one room school house. Older kids helped the younger ones with their lessons.

When you look at old lessons and tests from a prior age , they make the people of today look like morons by comparison.

A century of private foundation transformation of 'education' has done its job well.

Sat, 05/10/2014 - 02:46 | 4745716 Tompooz
Tompooz's picture

NA, I logged in to upvote you for that.  It might also be very enlightening to see the social and academic effects of keeping your children out of pre-school and giving them more time with their parents at that age.     

Fri, 05/09/2014 - 21:15 | 4745376 HardAssets
HardAssets's picture

The article is right on the money when it comes to our family.

Fri, 05/09/2014 - 21:50 | 4745429 logicalman
logicalman's picture

Not sure about opposite, but my two go against this.

First born is the rebel artist.

Second is the coldly logical one.

I'm an only - product of an anarchist artist and a socialist mathematician.


Sat, 05/10/2014 - 00:36 | 4745642 Oldwood
Oldwood's picture

Statistics can be a pretty accurade means of describing things and possibly illuminating solutions. Unfortunately most of us always see ourselves as the exception to every rule.

Fri, 05/09/2014 - 15:25 | 4744509 McMolotov
McMolotov's picture

Translation: BTFD.

Fri, 05/09/2014 - 15:31 | 4744535 aVileRat
aVileRat's picture

99% of all statistics are made up, given normal assumptions skewed for irrational kurtosis.


Fun article.


Fri, 05/09/2014 - 19:12 | 4745111 JLee2027
JLee2027's picture

And statistics can support any argument you wish.  Just depends on how and what is presented.

Fri, 05/09/2014 - 23:13 | 4745545 KickIce
KickIce's picture

5 out of 4 people use statistics incorrectly.

Sat, 05/10/2014 - 02:20 | 4745703 Kirk2NCC1701
Kirk2NCC1701's picture

BTF Diapers?

Fri, 05/09/2014 - 15:27 | 4744515 aqualech
aqualech's picture

As a last-born who was picked-on and tormented by older sisters, I call BULLSHIT on this whole fluff piece.

Fri, 05/09/2014 - 15:34 | 4744550 NotApplicable
NotApplicable's picture

If you understood outliers you wouldn't need to.

Fri, 05/09/2014 - 16:14 | 4744697 Ariadne
Ariadne's picture

Outliers are the apparent evidence that a hypothesis is not accurate. But in a chaotic world where guessing the tune from the first 4 notes passes for genius, its usually prudent to stfu and emulate your surroundings.

Fri, 05/09/2014 - 21:17 | 4745381 HardAssets
HardAssets's picture

Last borns don't 'get' outliers.

Actually its a wonder they can get through the day at all  ;)




(No . . . I'm just kidding guys.)

Sat, 05/10/2014 - 05:06 | 4745753 UselessEater
UselessEater's picture

come on, aqualech needs a hug

Fri, 05/09/2014 - 15:39 | 4744562 msmith9962
msmith9962's picture

Last of 5.  My brother would hold me down with his hand over my mouth hitting me while he yelled upstairs to mom that I was hitting him.  She would turn the page in her book and tell me to stop hitting my brother.  This is among the many reasons I'm so well adjusted.

Fri, 05/09/2014 - 16:33 | 4744759 headhunt
headhunt's picture

I'm your older brothers twin seperated at birth

Fri, 05/09/2014 - 23:53 | 4745601 MsCreant
MsCreant's picture

With an attitude like that, you are going to keep hunting for head for a while.

Sat, 05/10/2014 - 10:52 | 4745977 old naughty
old naughty's picture

"while he yelled upstairs to mom..."

All talk on siblings, very few on Mom:

Lest we forget what tomorrow is?

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 01:07 | 4749901 MsCreant
MsCreant's picture


Sat, 05/10/2014 - 09:17 | 4745879 sleigher
sleigher's picture

I was staked to the yard.  Wrists and feet tied to screw drivers and those pushed into the ground.  Then water torture or whatever else came across their minds.  Well adjusted FTW!

Fri, 05/09/2014 - 22:29 | 4745480 HardAssets
HardAssets's picture

No brothers, just older sisters ?

That's an entirely different category.


Fri, 05/09/2014 - 15:28 | 4744516 blabam
blabam's picture

"everything impacts your path in life" no shit. 

Fri, 05/09/2014 - 15:28 | 4744517 Leveraged Algorithm
Leveraged Algorithm's picture

I just took a Yellen......

Fri, 05/09/2014 - 15:28 | 4744519 B2u
B2u's picture

I am the crazy middle child who made a lot of money and retired at age 54.

Fri, 05/09/2014 - 15:38 | 4744558 McMolotov
McMolotov's picture

I am the lazy firstborn child who hasn't made much money and wants to be your friend.

Fri, 05/09/2014 - 15:42 | 4744579 superflex
superflex's picture

I'm number 5 out of 6 who's parent shot their load on sending the first 4 kids through college.

Work a quarter, school a quarter.  7 Years to get a BS.

Fri, 05/09/2014 - 15:28 | 4744522 Unknown Poster
Unknown Poster's picture

There are a lot of first born Chinese.

Fri, 05/09/2014 - 15:57 | 4744636 Matt
Matt's picture

An entire society where everyone is pre-dispositioned to following the rules. What a fascinating coincidence ...

Fri, 05/09/2014 - 21:26 | 4745400 HardAssets
HardAssets's picture

The article says nothing about first borns and being rule followers. As a matter of fact, it says that a lot of Nobel prize winners are first borns & that would take some originality (except for the b.s. 'peace' prize, of course).


Youre not a last born by any chance ?

Sat, 05/10/2014 - 05:12 | 4745757 UselessEater
UselessEater's picture

Since China has been given a leg over the west for several decades....their first borns are in good stead to re-write any pychological verbage about birth order.

Sat, 05/10/2014 - 06:20 | 4745776 F-X
F-X's picture

It does say: "For example, firstborn kids are often rules-following and do better in society, while younger children tend to be revolutionaries, artists and so forth."


But it's all so much nonsense, of course. 

Fri, 05/09/2014 - 15:28 | 4744524 gdiamond22
gdiamond22's picture

Anything in that study suggest possible pyscological issues from being adopted by a Marxist with mixed raced parents from Kenya (or was it Hawaii or Chicago? I can't keep track)

Fri, 05/09/2014 - 16:08 | 4744674 imapopulistnow
imapopulistnow's picture

A typical all-American childhood.

Fri, 05/09/2014 - 15:28 | 4744525 timmeh
timmeh's picture


Fri, 05/09/2014 - 15:45 | 4744588 timmeh
timmeh's picture

oh yeah...

Fri, 05/09/2014 - 15:29 | 4744526 Tinky
Tinky's picture

The more that people look to genetic explanations (and the closely related topic of this article) for excuses, the less likely they are to overcome any intrinsic disadvantages, as it can create a self-reinforcing feedback loop.

It is much more useful to point to positive anomalies, and remind people that they have the potential to overcome such "disadvantages".

Fri, 05/09/2014 - 15:48 | 4744598 crash commando
crash commando's picture

Agreed.  Just a bunch of academics trying to make tenure.

Fri, 05/09/2014 - 15:59 | 4744643 NOTaREALmerican
NOTaREALmerican's picture

Isn't that how everybody's kids end-up above average?   (And, BTFD?)

Fri, 05/09/2014 - 16:12 | 4744691 imapopulistnow
imapopulistnow's picture

I agree with what you are saying Tink, but we also need to accept the evolutionary diversity of our species and not attempt to make everyone the same.  It is a conundrum.

Fri, 05/09/2014 - 16:56 | 4744807 Tinky
Tinky's picture

Just one of countless examples to illustrate my above point. The player taken 20th in last night's NFL draft was Brandin Cooks. There's a terrific article about him at the link below, and if every similarly disadvantaged kid could be told and taught the significance of the story, there would be an enormous spike in success stories emanating from such places.

Fri, 05/09/2014 - 21:56 | 4745426 HardAssets
HardAssets's picture

The NFL ?

Another provider of the 'circuses' side of "Bread & Circuses"


American adults & their kids spend far too much time holding up entertainers as role models IMO.

And what kind of 'role model' is it for disadvantaged kids to see some guy in a field where most of them have absolutely NO Chance.  Ever see the show "Hoop Dreams" ?  About inner city kids (often average height or smaller ) trying to make it big in basketball for cryin out loud. But they could always pull out some example of a short NBA player and say to the kids "See he did it, so can you !"

P.S. - o.k., I turned off & tuned out the NFL when they started spouting anti- 2A propaganda. That was the last straw. I could care less what they do playing their little games.

Sat, 05/10/2014 - 00:30 | 4745637 Tinky
Tinky's picture

Do you always have as much trouble seeing the forest for the trees, or were you simply responding reflexively without having even bothered to read the linked article?

This is not in any way about encouraging disadvantaged kids to escape the ghetto through pro sports. It is about a remarkable young man who overcame long odds and has been successful at every stage of his rise due only partly to athletic ability, and much more to exceptional character and intelligence. It's about a young man who would have been successful no matter what path he chose.

You really ought to dig a little deeper in the future before spouting off.

Fri, 05/09/2014 - 15:29 | 4744527 The_Dude
The_Dude's picture

Statistically, there are more first borns then any others....funny how that wonder if they are even controling for that little anomally when comapring against smaller sample sets. 

I wouldn't think so if they make statements like 'More U.S. presidents are firstborn children' shit sherlock!

Fri, 05/09/2014 - 15:41 | 4744572 msmith9962
msmith9962's picture

Good point.  The conservative station the other day was arguing against lowering the legal drinking limit and someone called in to state that 40% of accidents were alcohol related and 60% were not so you would be crazy to get in a car with someone who has not been drinking.

Fri, 05/09/2014 - 15:50 | 4744605 Tinky
Tinky's picture

Amusing...unless you actually give it five seconds of thought. 

Sat, 05/10/2014 - 07:25 | 4745803 UselessEater
UselessEater's picture

gave it 5 seconds

still laughing

this is all a bit a crock for fun, we know who suxxceeds :) woof!

Fri, 05/09/2014 - 17:46 | 4744910 Amish Hacker
Amish Hacker's picture

And you'll be safer if you bring a bomb with you the next time you fly, becasue the odds of there being a bomb on the plane are a million to one, but the odds of there being two bombs on the plane are astronomical.

Fri, 05/09/2014 - 15:49 | 4744599 Bemused Observer
Bemused Observer's picture

That's right...I have to remember that when considering other comparisons like this...If you have a lot of 'first borns, but most are only children, your interpretations would be off even if the numbers are right.

Fri, 05/09/2014 - 16:04 | 4744656 daveO
daveO's picture

Only children are also first/last born. I have 4 older half-sibs with whom I've never lived. I count myself first, last and only. haha

Fri, 05/09/2014 - 19:04 | 4745084 jefferson32
jefferson32's picture

That's right in general (I +1'd you). Except the average parents have > 2 kids, so for every first born there is more than one non-firstborn.


Sat, 05/10/2014 - 09:21 | 4745882 sondernauch
sondernauch's picture

Aren't there just as many last borns?

Fri, 05/09/2014 - 15:31 | 4744532 ChanceIs
ChanceIs's picture

Sooooo. Obama was the square root of the number "i" coming out the shoot?

Fri, 05/09/2014 - 15:44 | 4744587 Row Well Number 41
Row Well Number 41's picture

So that's why everything he does seems so... unreal.


Fri, 05/09/2014 - 15:38 | 4744560 NOTaREALmerican
NOTaREALmerican's picture

Fun article.   Hopeful,  someday,  we'll be able to spot the sociopaths at birth and we can leave them out in an open field to be picked up by space aliens.  Otherwise, we're kinda stuck with sociopaths manipulating dumbasses for the rest of eternity. 

Fri, 05/09/2014 - 15:57 | 4744633 Anusocracy
Anusocracy's picture

Not likely to happen.

The government would never out itself.

Fri, 05/09/2014 - 16:08 | 4744659 Anusocracy
Anusocracy's picture

Keeping liars out of positions of authority would be a help.

First evidence of brain abnormalities found in pathological liars
The USC study shows structural differences in the area of the brain that enables most people to feel remorse
A University of Southern California study has found the first proof of structural brain abnormalities in people who habitually lie, cheat and manipulate others.

While previous research has shown that there is heightened activity in the prefrontal cortex – the area of the brain that enables most people to feel remorse or learn moral behavior – when normal people lie, this is the first study to provide evidence of structural differences in that area among pathological liars.

The research – led by Yaling Yang and Adrian Raine, both of the USC College of Letters, Arts and Sciences – is published in the October issue of the British Journal of Psychiatry.

The subjects were taken from a sample of 108 volunteers pulled from Los Angeles' temporary employment pool. A series of psychological tests and interviews placed 12 in the category of people who had a history of repeated lying (11 men, one woman); 16 who exhibited signs of antisocial personality disorder but not pathological lying (15 men, one woman); and 21 who were normal controls (15 men, six women).

"We looked for things like inconsistencies in their stories about occupation, education, crimes and family background," said Raine, a psychology professor at USC and co-author of the study.

"Pathological liars can't always tell truth from falsehood and contradict themselves in an interview. They are manipulative and they admit they prey on people. They are very brazen in terms of their manner, but very cool when talking about this."

Aside from having histories of conning others or using aliases, the habitual liars also admitted to malingering, or telling falsehoods to obtain sickness benefits, Raine said.

After they were categorized, the researchers used Magnetic Resonance Imaging to explore structural brain differences between the groups. The liars had significantly more "white matter" and slightly less "gray matter" than those they were measured against, Raine said.

Specifically, liars had a 25.7 percent increase in prefrontal white matter compared to the antisocial controls and a 22 percent increase compared to the normal controls. Liars had a 14.2 percent decrease in prefrontal gray matter compared to normal controls.

More white matter – the wiring in the brain – may provide liars with the tools necessary to master the complex art of deceit, Raine said.

"Lying takes a lot of effort," he said.

"It's almost mind reading. You have to be able to understand the mindset of the other person. You also have to suppress your emotions or regulate them because you don't want to appear nervous. There's quite a lot to do there. You've got to suppress the truth.

"Our argument is that the more networking there is in the prefrontal cortex, the more the person has an upper hand in lying. Their verbal skills are higher. They've almost got a natural advantage."

But in normal people, it's the gray matter – or the brain cells connected by the white matter – that helps keep the impulse to lie in check.

Pathological liars have a surplus of white matter, the study found, and a deficit of gray matter. That means they have more tools to lie coupled with fewer moral restraints than normal people, Raine said.

"They've got the equipment to lie, and they don't have the disinhibition that the rest of us have in telling the big whoppers," he said.

"When people make moral decisions, they are relying on the prefrontal cortex. When people ask normal people to make moral decisions, we see activation in the front of the brain," he explained. "If these liars have a 14 percent reduction in gray matter, that means that they are less likely to care about moral issues or are less likely to be able to process moral issues. Having more gray matter would keep a check on these activities."

The researchers stopped short of asserting that these structural differences account for all lying.

"This is one of the components," Raine said.

"The findings need to be replicated and extended to other parts of the brain. What are the other neurobiological processes?

"We haven't had studies like this. It's exciting to us because it's a beginning study, but we need a lot more to flesh out this discovery."

Yang, the study's lead author, said the findings eventually could be used in making clinical diagnoses and may have applications in the criminal justice system and the business world.

"If [the findings] can be replicated and extended, they may have long-term implications in a number of areas," said Yang, a doctoral student in the USC department of psychology's brain and cognitive science program.

"For example, in the legal system they could potentially be used to help police work out which suspects are lying. In terms of clinical practice, they could help clinicians diagnose who is malingering – making up disability for financial gain. "And also in business, they could assist in pre-employment screening, working out which individuals may not be suitable for hiring.

"But, right now, I have to emphasize that there are no direct practical applications," she said.

In their journal article, the authors mention that separate studies of autistic children – who typically have trouble lying – have showed the converse pattern of gray matter/white matter ratios.

"The facts that autistic children have difficulty lying and also show reduced prefrontal white matter constitutes the opposite but complementary pattern of the results compared to adults with increased prefrontal white matter who find it easy to lie," the researchers wrote.

"Although autism is a complex condition and cannot be taken as a model for lying, these results … converge with current findings on adult liars in suggesting that the prefrontal cortex is centrally involved in the capacity to lie."

Fri, 05/09/2014 - 16:24 | 4744715 msmith9962
msmith9962's picture

Ah yes.  The USC Logitudinal Douche Bag Study.

Fri, 05/09/2014 - 19:21 | 4745132 Anusocracy
Anusocracy's picture

And your explanation is?

Fri, 05/09/2014 - 16:28 | 4744740 headhunt
headhunt's picture

politicians must be 80% white matter

Fri, 05/09/2014 - 18:16 | 4744967 Ariadne
Sat, 05/10/2014 - 07:27 | 4745804 MFL8240
MFL8240's picture

This is a blog, not a place to draft your thesis!

Fri, 05/09/2014 - 15:41 | 4744565 fockewulf190
fockewulf190's picture

I´m a first born and a stacker.  No one else touches the stuff.  Shrink that one up for me Einstein!

Fri, 05/09/2014 - 15:40 | 4744569 Spungo
Spungo's picture

More siblings = lower IQ? Sounds about right. People who don't know how the fuck to use birth control tend to be retarded, so it makes sense their children are retarded. 

Fri, 05/09/2014 - 15:41 | 4744575 NotAMathWhiz
NotAMathWhiz's picture

The only thing this article is missing is an astrology chart.

Fri, 05/09/2014 - 15:41 | 4744577 swass
swass's picture

I guess most of us can only speak from first-hand knowledge of our own familes, but as a middle child myself, I also happen to be the most successful.  The older brother is fairly independent, but is not as successful from a occupation standpoint.  Youger/est brother is pretty smart and probably does seem to fit what they said about being very social, but also happened to have a sense of entitlement, not seen in his older siblings, that has limited his success and ambition.

Fri, 05/09/2014 - 15:44 | 4744584 Spungo
Spungo's picture

"40% of accidents were alcohol related and 60% were not so you would be crazy to get in a car with someone who has not been drinking."

That's hilarious. I'm using that.

Fri, 05/09/2014 - 20:56 | 4745340 Rhodin
Rhodin's picture

When I was a new driver, one safety ad would say that 80% of the dirvers on the road on New Year's Eve were under the influence, and another ad would say that alcohol was involved in 45% of the accidents that night.  Enough to drive you to drink if you believed both.

Fri, 05/09/2014 - 23:23 | 4745550 Ralph Spoilsport
Ralph Spoilsport's picture

I can see believing both since not everybody drinking on a given night has a wreck but would be considered legally under the influence if tested. My mom was a champion alcoholic and could drive drunk without getting involved in an accident until later in life when she started drinking so much, she started passing out behind the wheel.

According to this 2009 article, on a percentage basis, New Years Eve is still the worst date for alcohol related fatalities at 46%. This is a list of the 6 most dangerous holidays according to Forbes:

6. New Year’s Day
Number of Fatalities in 2008: 423
Average Number of Fatalities Per Year Since 1982: 401
Average Percentage of Alcohol-Related Fatalities Since 1982: 46%

5. Christmas Day
Number of Fatalities in 2008: 420
Average Number of Fatalities Per Year Since 1982: 414
Average Percentage of Alcohol-Related Fatalities Since 1982: 42%

4. Memorial Day
Number of Fatalities in 2008: 425
Average Number of Fatalities Per Year Since 1982: 508
Average Percentage of Alcohol-Related Fatalities Since 1982: 45%

3. Independence Day
Number of Fatalities in 2008: 491
Average Number of Fatalities Per Year Since 1982: 542
Average Percentage of Alcohol-Related Fatalities Since 1982: 45%

2. Labor Day
Number of Fatalities in 2008: 487
Average Number of Fatalities Per Year Since 1982: 544
Average Percentage of Alcohol-Related Fatalities Since 1982: 45%

1. Thanksgiving Day
Number of Fatalities in 2008: 502
Average Number of Fatalities Per Year Since 1982: 567
Average Percentage of Alcohol-Related Fatalities Since 1982: 41%

Fri, 05/09/2014 - 15:46 | 4744591 AccreditedEYE
AccreditedEYE's picture

Between this and that Bank of America research over past few weeks, my "hard-hitting" finanal blog is quickly turning into MSNBC. *sad face*

Fri, 05/09/2014 - 16:01 | 4744650 NOTaREALmerican
NOTaREALmerican's picture

As the market goes upward the anti-hopium fades...

Fri, 05/09/2014 - 15:46 | 4744593 Itchy and Scratchy
Itchy and Scratchy's picture

First borns are pro-abortion  ... for all the others ones that follow!

Fri, 05/09/2014 - 15:49 | 4744602 fockewulf190
fockewulf190's picture

No mention about drug/booze abuse.  Surprising.  I wonder if that huge Norweigen study found something out about that.

Fri, 05/09/2014 - 15:55 | 4744622 Random_Robert
Random_Robert's picture

Long first-born bitches...


Fri, 05/09/2014 - 15:55 | 4744624 Inthemix96
Inthemix96's picture

Heres another way birth order affects your life.

Look at the filthy fucking in-bred, blue blooded bastards of the 'Royal Family' as they lord it right the fuck up at our expense, no more than dole scroungers, and people all over the world, especially you lot lap the cunts up.

These satanic bastards should be put down for the sake of humanity, but have spell bound an entire world thinking that by virtue of birth and right, they are better than you plebs?

They call this the human condition, and many folk, at an alarming rate have cottoned on.  Your present messiah the 'O' went last year on a 100 million jaunt over to his homeland.  While 46 millon of you stupid fuckers on food stamp done nowt.

Think about it.  And sharpen your pitchforks.  They, as I am reliably informed, are expecting us.



Fri, 05/09/2014 - 16:23 | 4744722 shovelhead
shovelhead's picture

Watch it!

My cousin (11 generations ago) is now the Duchess of Cornwall.

Unfortunately, she fell out of the family tree and looks like she used her face to break her fall all the way down.

Probably has something to do with getting those rubbish Brito-mongrel genetics involved in the line.

I suppose that's how we ended up with Hillary too.

Too much miscegenation with the lower orders from ould Blighty.

Fri, 05/09/2014 - 16:29 | 4744743 samsara
Fri, 05/09/2014 - 20:54 | 4745336 Angus McHugepenis
Angus McHugepenis's picture

Inthemix96: You really know how to shit on the parade of false idols.

Keep up the good work my friend!

Fri, 05/09/2014 - 23:25 | 4745565 Ralph Spoilsport
Ralph Spoilsport's picture

+1 and from a reliable source that is always funny as hell. Cheers!

Fri, 05/09/2014 - 15:59 | 4744639 Itchy and Scratchy
Itchy and Scratchy's picture

Older borns tend to beat on younger borns.

Fri, 05/09/2014 - 16:28 | 4744738 zipit
zipit's picture

Later born siblings tend to outlive earlier born siblings.

Fri, 05/09/2014 - 20:28 | 4745267 knukles
knukles's picture

Its easier to feast upon the blood of newborns if you're the older child


kind of a Rothschild, Bilderberg, Bohemian Grove thing, I guess

Fri, 05/09/2014 - 16:15 | 4744699 goose3
goose3's picture

I'm guessing it's all the later-borns that are giving this thread poor ratings.  :)

Fri, 05/09/2014 - 16:39 | 4744773 shovelhead
shovelhead's picture


We younger borns are socially gregarious but learn to set traps for the elders who beat on us.

Passive aggression with a smile.

Fri, 05/09/2014 - 16:15 | 4744702 Wile-E-Coyote
Wile-E-Coyote's picture

"Correlation does not imply causation" is a phrase used in science and statistics to emphasize that correlation between two variables does not automatically imply that one causes the other (though correlation is necessary for linear causation, and can indicate possible causes or areas for further investigation... in other words, correlation can be a hint).[

Fri, 05/09/2014 - 16:24 | 4744728 Otto Zitte
Fri, 05/09/2014 - 16:33 | 4744758 ghostfaceinvestah
ghostfaceinvestah's picture

All of these birthorder effects pale in comparison to the impact of state-controlled education.

Fri, 05/09/2014 - 16:42 | 4744783 shovelhead
shovelhead's picture

You paid attention in school?

A rare and novel concept.

Fri, 05/09/2014 - 21:12 | 4745367 Peter Pan
Peter Pan's picture

"Despite my schooling I managed to get an education."

Fri, 05/09/2014 - 16:49 | 4744791 CheapBastard
CheapBastard's picture

The First born child is smarter then the last born child...unless he isn't.


Fri, 05/09/2014 - 17:05 | 4744826 Yen Cross
Yen Cross's picture

  I'm the oldest of (3) and my brother and sister both have "tank-ass syndrome"... Seems to have skipped a generation with me though. ;-)

Fri, 05/09/2014 - 20:47 | 4745320 Angus McHugepenis
Angus McHugepenis's picture

Yen you crazy bastard. What the fuck is "tank ass syndrome"?

Yours in craziness,


Sat, 05/10/2014 - 00:21 | 4745628 Yen Cross
Yen Cross's picture

 Angus. Have you ever hoisted and bled a steer?

  Steers have lost's of blood. gallons

  I'm pragmatic.  My sister has an "tank ass" based on my intrepretation of the female anatomy!


Fri, 05/09/2014 - 17:11 | 4744838 Turdy Brown
Turdy Brown's picture

Not only are you ZH posters the smartest people that I know, but you are the funniest as well. Thank you because I have had the worst day!

Fri, 05/09/2014 - 17:37 | 4744894 Amish Hacker
Amish Hacker's picture

Remember, it's never too late to start your day over.

Fri, 05/09/2014 - 17:55 | 4744907 Seize Mars
Seize Mars's picture

Well intentioned article, but the problem I have is that we're comparing apples and oranges looking at "success stories" and relating them to their birth order. For example: comparing Jeff Bezos, Steve Jobs and Aristotle. Steve Jobs didn't do anything, didn't invent anything. He profited from a system of labor-price arbitrage that was set in motion by Henry Kissinger. Jeff Bezos was a DE Shaw trader and had acess to capital. Other people have good ideas for business but in a managed, rigged economy, you need access to capital - it's not about the quality of the model it's about relationships. Aristotle, on the other hand, was actually really fuckin' smart.

Fri, 05/09/2014 - 17:56 | 4744933 smacker
smacker's picture

Well, I can say that the category I fit into in that article does not describe me.

sum ting wong metinks.

Fri, 05/09/2014 - 18:11 | 4744959 monad
Fri, 05/09/2014 - 18:31 | 4745002 Conax
Conax's picture

First kids are more likely to go to college. Especially in big families.

Fri, 05/09/2014 - 20:32 | 4745276 Angus McHugepenis
Angus McHugepenis's picture

First kids are more likely to go to college. Especially in big families.

And charge up HUGE student loan debts.

Fri, 05/09/2014 - 20:36 | 4745287 nowhereman
nowhereman's picture

My first born brother joined the Navy at 17 because he couldn`t do school.  I am second, and the only member of my family to attend university.  I started at the age of 35 and graduated at 40 and paid for it myself.

Fri, 05/09/2014 - 19:17 | 4745118 Miffed Microbio...
Miffed Microbiologist's picture

Well, I'm first born and and a dreamy Pisces that is challenged to get through my day without bumping into walls. My eldest is dripping in Capricorn and is aggressive confident and career oriented. My youngest is dripping in Aquarius, lacks direction and prefers quietly living in her head and is passionately involved with social causes. My Sagittarius husband is an only child and can't stand anyone that doesn't respect his need for absolute freedom. So, for me, astrology has explained more about those around me than birth order. At least I haven't been shown any method with greater accuracy.


Fri, 05/09/2014 - 20:27 | 4745266 Angus McHugepenis
Angus McHugepenis's picture

Miffed my buddy, that is probably the most logical explanation I've see yet! You are a scientist but I bet you shudder when you hear the Psych's spout their theories about anything human and try to pigeon-hole it into a general theory of human behavior.

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