Sample Essay

The effect of birth order on intelligence was first coined by Robert Zajonc’s confluence model which suggested that first borns and only children tend to be more intellectual than later borns since they are surrounded by adults and people intellectually superior. The same effect can be seen in children with siblings older than five years with none in between (consequently rendering them first children as previously mentioned) who are as such born in an intellectual environment and thus can be seen with the same level of superior intellect as only children. These children are described as functional children and are considered to be more intelligent than only children as a result of the tutor effect (teaching younger siblings).

However, Zajonc’s model is criticized, the main criticism being a lack of consideration for age and family size. Further studies have shown that there is no evidence to suggest that first borns have higher IQ scores.

As regards Sexual orientation, there are theories suggesting that the likelihood of a person having a homosexual orientation increases with the number of older brothers he might have, estimated to be a 33% with each older brother. The same is not true for women though, and only accounts for about 1/7th of total male homosexuality.


Where studies have indeed hinted at birth order being a nominal factor in producing distinct traits (Adler and Sulloway), there are several other factors that may be used to describe the same dispositions, such as age and family economics. As such, the birth order effects are not prominent enough to be translated to practical life.

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