Research by YouGov proclaims that there is a link between birth order and personality traits; resulting in the youngest sibling believing that they are the joker of the pack.
Whether you’re an only child or a family of twelve, everyone can relate to a time or place where a family member – who was probably the youngest or closest to the youngest at the time – took it upon themselves to either A) make a holy show of themselves, B) make a holy show of someone else, or C) make your aunt Trudy laugh so hard that it made her burst the seams of her dress that was already clinging onto life.
As reported in The Guardian recently, a YouGov survey explored the character traits of 1,783 British adults by looking at how they rated different aspects of their personality. Results found that 46 percent of people who were the youngest in their family considered themselves to be the funniest, compared to 36 percent of oldest siblings.
Researchers explain that “to some extent age itself, rather than family dynamics, may be responsible for the differing characteristics. Older children, having had more time to get on in life, are more likely to say they are more successful than their siblings, “but undoubtedly there are family forces at work – parental attention soon shifts onto new arrivals, and firstborns may have to learn the ropes themselves. As evidence, elder siblings are more likely to feel more organised and able to prioritise their own lives”.
Can the order you’re born to really make a significant difference to your personality? Clinical psychologist Linda Blair, author of Birth Order: what your position in the family really tells you about your character believes there is ample clinical evidence to suggest that it does, but suggest that rather than assigning certain personality traits to a different sibling depending on their order, Blair says we should “moderate the astrology”, as she suggests in The Guardian.
That is, “take each birth position’s main characteristic (the astrology), and moderate it with other factors, such as the mother’s birth order, the spacing between children, and gender. A middle-born girl between two male siblings may have a lot of first-born characteristics because she was the first girl. A middle child who is more than four years older than the youngest child may have some characteristics of a younger sibling because, for years, they will have been one”, says Blair.
If you’re feeling a little sceptical, Eddie Murphy, Goldie Hawn, Drew Carey, Jim Carrey, Whoopi Goldberg, Steve Martin, Jon Stewart, Ellen De Generes and the late Charlie Chaplin are all first born.
The study also comments that this method of research doesn’t account for which sibling is most grumpy, spoilt, aggressive or selfish, but we’ll let you and your family argue that on that one.