Born First, Born Smarter? The Study Of Who Would Be More Articulate?

947 words - 4 pages

Born First, Born Smarter?1. What the researchers were trying to learnThere have been many theories heard about how birth order has influenced your development. Several studies have found that the first born child tends to be more articulate, more active, less impulsive, a better achiever in school and is more likely to go to college. It is important to know that these findings are general trends and do not apply to every member of every family. One consistent finding is the relationship of birth order and intelligence. First-born children tend to have a greater intellectual ability than their later born siblings do. What social and behavioral scientists want to know is, why? A possible answer to that question is that something about our genetic composition changes with birth order due to biological factors such as the age of the mother. However, scientists believe that the explanations should be based on more of a "nurture" theory than "nature", since it is already proven that the environment a child grows up in can exert strong influences on their intellectual capabilities.2. How the researchers went about testing their hypothesisBirth order is one environmental factor in the development of all children. First-born children born into a world consisting of two parents compared to second born children born into a world consisting of two parents and one child, clearly shows different developmental conditions because of the other child present. Based on this information, a researcher named Robert Zajonc and his associate, Gregory Markus, developed a theory that explained the relationship between birth order and intelligence. It is said that their research is quite unusual due to the fact that they never came in contact with any subjects and never asked subjects to do anything. Instead they applied the work of others research to their theory. Their research project was designed to study the effects of malnutrition on children's intellectual abilities born at the end of World War II. An intelligence test (called the "raven" test) was given to 350,000 19-year-old males.3. What results the researchers foundTwo of the researchers on the project found that there was a strong relationship in their data between the birth order of men and their scores on the raven test. Their findings include that the scores decreased as the family size increased and also declined with birth order. Zajonc stated, "Belmont and Marolla, with their large data set, were able to rule out socioeconomic status as a significant factor in birth order effects, but they did not suggest factors or processes that might have explained their interesting results" (Zajonc Pg. 143).4. What the researchers believed were their conclusionsThey theorized that children would gain greater intellectual abilities if they grow up in environments that have higher intellectual stimulation. This stimulation comes from the combined presence and influenced of parents and...

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