A study has said first-born children have higher cognitive abilities than their siblings.

According to the research, first-born children are smarter because they get more mental stimulation and attention from their parents than their younger siblings.

The study observed nearly 5,000 children from pre-birth to age 14, with children assessed every two years.

Jee-Yeon K. Lehmann from the Analysis Group, Ana Nuevo-Chiquero from the University of Edinburgh and Marian Vidal-Fernandez from the University of Sydney analysed survey data obtained from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics on the children.

The researchers found that firstborn children tended to perform better than their younger siblings on cognitive assessments as early as age one.

First-born children were said to have scored higher on tests including reading, matching letters, names, reading single words aloud and picture vocabulary tests.

The study also found that parents behaviour changed as they had more children. Parents gave less mental stimulation and took part in fewer activities like reading with the child, crafts and playing musical instruments, the researchers found.

“Our results suggest that broad shifts in parental behaviour are a plausible explanation for the observed birth order differences in education and labour market outcomes,” said Nuevo-Chiquero.

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