Birth Order Effects on Personality and Achievement

Birth Order Effects on Personality and Achievement Within Families

by Delroy L. Paulhus, Paul D. Trapnell and David Chen

Psychological Science November 1999 vol. 10 no. 6 482-488


We investigated birth order effects on personality and achievement in four studies (N = 1,022 families) including both student and adult samples. Control over a wide range of variables was effected by collecting within-family data: Participants compared their siblings (and themselves) on a variety of personality and achievement dimensions. Across four diverse data sets:

The same results obtained whether or not birth order was made salient (to activate stereotypes) during the personality ratings. Overall, the results support predictions from Sulloway’s niche model of personality development, as well as Zajonc’s confluence model of intellectual achievement.