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Birth order

The impact of birth order on creativity has been studied since Galton (1974) who suggested that the creative achievement may be related to being the first-born child. The later studies (e.g. Goertzel, Goertzel, and Goertzel, 1978) that analysed biographical data generally supported this hypothesis. It was noted, however, that if famous scientists and classical composers tend to be first-born, then revolutionaries and creative writers are more likely to be later-born (Stewart, 1977; Walberg, Rasher and Parkerson, 1980). Other researchers (e.g. Ochse, 1990) have found that the firstborn were overrepresented among the highly creative.

Adler (1956) argued that the first-born are likely to have strong feelings of superiority and power. Sulloway (1997) maintained that openness to new experience is the personality trait most strongly related to birth order. Later-borns are more likely to accept new and radical theories, and first-born are more likely to resist and oppose radical theories. First-borns express their creativity within the status quo and through the intellect dimension (i.e., cultural, perceptive, curious) of openness. Later-borns, on the other hand, express their creativity outside the status quo and through the nonconformist dimension (i.e., unconventional, daring, independent) of openness.

Birth order. Dictionary of Creativity: Terms, Concepts, Theories & Findings in Creativity Research / Compiled and edited by Eugene Gorny., 2007.
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