Thursday, September 18, 2008

Big Brothers

Has anyone else noticed that big brothers aren't as sharp as their younger brothers? I've seen this a lot in the meat world. The older brother will be a bit lankier and not as bright. When on the other hand the younger brother will be more attractive and smarter. A classic example can be found in the hit sitcom "Everybody Loves Raymond". Raymond himself was married and was a succesful sportswriter while his older brother struggled with his blue collar job and couldn't get a date.

I think there might be a reason for this. When the first brother is born he has only his parents to stimulate him. However when the next brother comes along he has an older brother to play with as well. This stimulates his synapses even more causing him to outshine the older lug. What do you think?


Nathan said...

Don't take this as arguing the point, since I doubt anyone knows the answer (and many might also reject your premise), but consider the possibility that the second child is actually ignored more than the first.

The first child is protected at every step. With the second child, the parents relax a little and take the attitude that the kid'll learn from his mistakes.

Saqib said...

"the parents relax a little"

right, so they will let him play outside longer, let him take risks and so forth. All of which would stimulate him even more.

"many might also reject your premise"

It also could be biological. Maybe the first child was a practice run for the mother. And the next time she gave birth her body was more adapted?

Jim Wright said...

Hey now, I'm the older brother, and I'm way smarter and better looking than my younger brother. Way better. I mean, he joined the Air Force, how damned smart is that?

vince said...

I'm the oldest brother (of 8 kids) and definitely the smartest, handsomest, etc. And I joined the Air Force (as did two other brothers - monkey see, monkey do), making me way smarter than the brother who join the Navy.

John the Scientist said...

A couple of links on the topic.

I've seen, but can't find a the moment, a study that shows that the first-born male makes second siblings fare worse health-wise. That would make sense in the context of the second article, where the mother gets an immune response to the first-born's male hormones. Thus the first born might have a tendency to be a little more muscular, on average.

Saqib said...

again like I said I seen it alot. doesn't mean its a law of nature. clearly there are exceptions.

John the Scientist said...

Well, I was actually not disagreeing with you. I was wondering if the first-born male tends to be bigger, and less forced to develop his mind. Also there are scads of stories (Scott Adams, Pushkin) of kids with poor health being pushed into more cerebral or creative careers. Interactions of this sort are complex.

Fortunately my first-born was a girl, and she keeps the boy on his toes. :D

Matt Warnock said...

I'm sort of a first born male with a younger brother (the story of my siblings is kind of long and rambling, needless to say there's 9 years between myself and my next older sibling, who's really only half related to me, it goes on from there). Anyway, my younger brother is about 1.5 years younger than I am and he's definitely smarter than I am, at least in terms of book smarts.

I know my parents doted on him more and continue to dote on him somewhat. They've also said many times that with us being so close in age my brother would imitate what I did, at least when we were younger, thus learning to walk sooner, etc.

As far as attractiveness goes, I have no answer for that. My brother is definitely in better physical shape than I am.

In regards to social interaction, both of us have come a long way in the last 10 or so years, but my brother is completely socially retarded. Completely and utterly. He's also very sensitive (something my parents inadvertently cultivated) and can get very angry very easily because he can't take a joke or misinterprets something as someone making fun of him or thinks that everyone else has tried to gang up at him. Some time not long before my wedding (in which he stood up) he got angry because a ruling in Risk didn't go his way and it turned into a big fight and he said he wasn't going to take part in the wedding.

In the case of my wife's family, after her there's a 9 year gap until her next younger sybling and then it's boy-girl-boy and the oldest boy is absolutely the smartest, but the youngest would probably be the most physically fit and has more girls chasing after him.

Saqib said...

I am sensitive to jokes as well, it takes a while for me to figure out if its good natured or not.

But missing your brother's wedding over a game, woah.

Matt Warnock said...

Eventually we resolved that conflict and he took part in the wedding, but from that point on (and it had been building to that point for a long time for me) I have really wanted very little to do with my younger brother.

Jeri said...

Well - it's not brothers - but I'm the oldest of two girls. I'm fairly stereotypical for an oldest child - more take-charge, caretaker, compulsively responsible, while she's more withdrawn, perceptive, more of a negotiator.

However, I would say that between the two of us I'm smarter. I pulled better grades in school, have achieved a higher level of post-secondary education, and am much more widely read and self-educated.

She may be smarter in the emotional self-care/boundaries/mind/spirit/emotions sense of things though. I'm a bit too much a driver to be very good with that side of things.