June 17, 2019

Birth Order May Not Mean Much

“Birth order, according to conventional wisdom, molds personality: Firstborn children, secure with their place in the family and expected to be the mature ones, grow up to be intellectual, responsible and conformist. Younger siblings work harder to get their parents’ attention, take more risks and become creative rebels.

That’s the central idea in psychologist Frank J. Sulloway’s “Born to Rebel,” an influential book on birth order that burst, like a water balloon lobbed by an attention-seeking third-born, onto the pop psychology scene two decades ago. Sulloway’s account of the nuclear family claimed that firstborn children command their parents’ attention and resources, so later-borns must struggle to carve out their niche. Sibling behaviors then crystallize into adult personalities.

“I thought — and I still think — it’s very plausible and intuitive,” said Ralph Hertwig, a psychologist at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin, who published a study on unequal parental investment with Sulloway in 2002.”

Read more

JJ Editor's Daily Picks

"How many monarchies remain? About 30, reigning over some 45 countries. The British monarchy, which dates to the 11th century's William the Conqueror, technically rules over 16 countries, including Canada and Australia. The current head of the..."

"I’ve been called for jury duty three or four times, but was never selected until last month, when I was put on the jury for a civil case in Superior Court in Bridgeport, Connecticut. It was a long day. You’re expected to show up at 8:30 in the..."

"The marker proclaims the settlement will be known as “Trump Heights.” Netanyahu said the name was chosen to thank President Donald Trump for breaking decades of US tradition and recognizing the Golan Heights as part of Israel in March. Prior to..."

"Taylor Swift released the second single from her just-announced forthcoming album Lover on Thursday, and the gist of it is classic Swift: “You Need to Calm Down” tells Swift’s haters that their mission to diminish her brilliance is doomed, that..."

"Over the last decade, more Americans have turned to renting houses instead of owning them. Data from 2017 says there are more people renting than at any other point in the past 50 years—since 1965. While a majority of these people are in their 20s"

"What do a Yemeni refugee in the queue for food aid, a checkout worker in a British supermarket and a depressed university student have in common? They're all being sifted by some form of artificial intelligence..."

"“You’re not in Jazzercise, ladies,” a trim, tattooed, fitness instructor chided me and the roomful of women who were attempting to work up a sweat one morning a few months ago. I’d never done Jazzercise, but I knew what she meant. The caustic cue.."

""Many classic children’s books beg for philosophical readings: the likes of “Charlotte’s Web” or “Are You My Mother?” are well known as complex and subterranean ruminations on death and identity and community. Had you asked me a couple of years..."

"Recent efforts to legalize marijuana in New York and New Jersey have been stalled — but not killed — by disputes over how exactly to divvy up the revenues from marijuana sales and by worries about drugged driving. Those are both important issues..."

"More than a dozen kosher eateries — selling pizza, bagels, falafel and schnitzel — dot Main Street in the Kew Gardens Hills neighborhood of Queens. But a newcomer on the block is sure to turn some heads, and maybe stomachs, too..."

"Founded in 1867, the Keuffel & Esser Co. commissioned a study of the future for its 100th anniversary. If you’re of a certain vintage, you might have used a K&E slide rule. Their “visionary” study was a huge dud, missing completely the electronic.."

"The Bible is the world’s most influential book. But books, like people, can be influential because of what they say, or because of what they are thought to have said. With a book as huge as the Bible, readers need some kind of key that will..."