Sample Term Paper
However, in support of Sulloway’s ideologies was a study by Paulhaus. His findings suggested that first borns were more conservative, were more target and achievement oriented, and rated higher on conscientiousness. This suggests that the parents care and attention do have an effect on the developing characteristics of the first born and this was evident in both students and adults. Later borns were seen to be more rebellious, open to other ideas and emotions, and rated higher on agreeableness as well.
It was observed that the difference was more prominent within families but very subtle within different families, suggesting that genetics overrule birth order effects (Paulhaus, Trapnell, & Chen, 1998). Furthermore, more recent studies have gone to show a similarity between only children and first borns in so much as both are conscientious and dutifully close to their parents.
An important analysis provided by Judith Harris suggests that birth order effects are minimal at best, and are only observed when people looking for them analyze the data over and over until they eventually find them. In coming up with this observation, she reviewed the relevant research and proclaimed that there was no consistency of behavior on the part of first borns and later borns and that their behavior changed with their respective company. If they were with their parents their behavior was different as opposed to when they were in the company of others. This was more prominent in first borns than later borns, suggesting that the effect of birth order did not sustain through adulthood, when the child actually moves out and interacts with others.
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