For years, research has shown that first-born children have seemed to have it all. Studies revealed them to be overrepresented among politicians, prominent scientists, Rhodes scholars and people listed in Who's Who. But according to Massachusetts Institute of Technology historian Frank Sulloway, later-born children have a leg up on their older siblings in one important respect: receptivity to new things as adults.
Analyzing the 28 major scientific controversies over the past 400 years _ from the findings of Copernicus to those of Einstein _ later-born scientists were overwhelmingly more likely to be in favor of new theories.
According to Sulloway, the same factors that work in favor of first-born intellectual achievement _ close ties to parents, increased attention as children _ make them more conservative and resistant to new ideas as adults.