Birth Order

Birth Order
   Birth Order and Ideological Trends
   In science, birth-order effects are driven by the ideological implications inherent in new ideas. Theories that have socially radical implications tend to be championed by laterborns and rejected by firstborns. Theories that have socially conservative implications display the opposite trend: firstborns tend to back conservative innovations, whereas laterborns are among the most vocal opponents of this class of ideas. . . .
   The linear relationship between birth-order trends and ideological tendencies makes my argument about birth order testable in a variety of ways. For example, socially conservative innovations that are championed by laterborns should never occur in history. The discovery of even one such episode with a significant trend would constitute a formidable challenge to my claims. Similarly, evidence of radical revolutions favored by firstborns is also not to be expected. When firstborns have "rebelled" in history, it has been to bring God back into the scientific picture or to reaffirm the social status quo. Firstborns favored eugenics because this reform movement seemed to rationalize socioeconomic disparities in terms of genetics. (The word eugenics comes from the Greek, meaning "well born.") Historically, firstborns have tended to support the notion that biology is destiny. Minority races, women, and laterborns have all typically resisted such deterministic notions. (Sulloway, 1996, pp. 130, 133)

Historical dictionary of quotations in cognitive science. . 2015.

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