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The result is exactly what we should expect if birth order affects personality.

Despite the adage that opposites attract, people tend to resemble their spouses in terms of personality.

Many of the few remaining studies fail to show significant effects of birth order.

In 1983 psychiatrists Cecile Ernst and Jules Angst of the University of Zurich determined, after a thorough review of the literature, that birth-order effects were not supported by the evidence.

”) while tossing in savory anecdotes (“Did you know that 21 of the first 23 astronauts into space were firstborns? But when scientists scrutinized the data, they found that the evidence just did not hold up.

In fact, until very recently there were no convincing findings that linked birth order to personality or behavior.

Whether birth order affects intelligence has been debated inconclusively since the late 1800s, although the sheer size of the study (about 250,000 Norwegian conscripts) and the rigorous controls for family size make this study especially convincing.

In 2009 my colleagues and I published evidence that birth order influences whom we choose as friends and spouses.

It may be time to reconsider birth order as a real influence over whom we grow up to be.

Size Matters Before discussing the new findings, it will help to explain why decades of research that seemed to show birth-order effects was, in fact, flawed.

In 1998 psychologist Judith Rich Harris published another comprehensive attack on the concept in (Penguin), dismissing birth order as irrelevant.

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