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Birth Order i BIRTH ORDER AND FAMILY SIZE AS INDICATORS OF SOCIAL COMPETENCE BY ANNA MARY FOLKERS A Thesis Submitted to the Division of Social Sciences New College of Florida In partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree Bachelor of Arts in Psychology Under the sponsorship of Dr. Steven Graham Sarasota, Florida May, 2010
Birth Order ii Acknowledgments This project would not have been possible without the guidance of Dr. Steven Graham, as well as the valuable input of Dr. Heidi Harley and Dr. Michelle Barton. All 51 of my participants deserve endless praise for their patience and cooperation, as well as my peers in the psychology department. Thanks to Mom, Dad, David, and RJ for maintaining my sanity, and to the WRC staff for smiling through my complain ts.
Birth Order iii Table of Contents ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ... ii TABLE OF CONTENTS .. iii ABSTRACT 1 INTRODUCTION .. 2 PROSOCIAL BEHAVIOR .. .. 2 Familial Influences .. 3 EMPATHY 6 Familial Influences ... .. 9 BIRTH ORDER .10 PRESENT STUDY 15 METHOD ..16 Participants ... 16 Materials ...17 Procedure ..18 RESULTS ..19 DISCUSSION 22 CONCLUSION .30 REFERENCES ..33
Birth Order iv APPENDICES ... 42 Appendix A QMEE .. 42 Appendix B ECR R .. 43 Appendix C FSS ... 44 Appendix D IPT 45 Appendix E Family Profile 47 Appendix F Consent form 49
Birth Order 1 BIRTH ORDER AND FAMILY SIZE AS INDICATORS OF SOCIAL COMPETENCE Anna Folkers New College of Florida, 20 10 ABSTRACT A substantial body of prior research has established that immediate family members (specifically sibli ngs) contribute tremendously to the social development of children. It is unclear how ordinal birth ranking fits into this relationship. Further, the literature on birth order is notoriously fractured and inconsistent. This thesis attempted to contribute t o this literature by measuring the empathy levels, attachment style, social perceptiveness, and family attachment of 50 undergraduate students. Whereas it was hypothesized that later born siblings would show greater prosocial tendencies, this effect was un observed in this sample. The results do paint a detailed picture of the ways in which different aspects of the family interact to influence the social self. _______________________________ Dr. Steven Graham Division of Social Sciences
Birth Order 2 Birth Order and Family Size as Indicators of Social Competence The family is the most basic unit of socialization. Research makes it clear that the responsibility of a child's socialization lies primarily with family members. Siblings have been identified as particularly important for the development of prosocial thought and behavior. While it is established that older siblings influence younger siblings more often than the reverse, it is unclear how birth order affects development of prosocial thought and behavior. The c urrent study sought to elucidate the ways in which birth order interacts with other family variables to influence the development of prosocial behaviors. Moreover, this thesis makes the case for a more integrated model of birth order research for the futur e. To accomplish these objectives, a review on the basics of prosocial behavior will lead into a discussion on the ways in which the family influences its development. This includes an exploration of the ways that attachment style may contribute to prosoci al behavior. From here, the different perspectives on empathy will be explored, leading into another section on how family fits into this picture. Finally, a review of the schools of thought in birth order research gives way to a discussion of the problems in this field of research. More specifically, a call is made for more insight into birth order as a variable that does not stand alone, but rather interacts with other variables to form a complex picture of family life. Prosocial Behavior One of the most vital components of human social development is prosocial behavior, defined as voluntary action intended to benefit others (Grusec, Davidov, & Lundell, 2002). It is easy to see the foundations of prosocial behavior, even looking far
Birth Order 3 back into evolutionary history: helping behaviors are prevalent in primates, bees, dogs, ants, elephants, birds, and a number of other animals (Wilson, 1975). Examples of helping behaviors in humans are found early in recorded history and even in prehistoric times. A staple com ponent of Native American life was a strong communal nature and traditional giving practices; the Hopi culture, for example, does not recognize competition and self assertion as important life aspects (Wilson, 1975). The world's three primary monotheistic religions Islam, Christianity, and Judaism teach that helping others, especially the less fortunate, is an obligation in a righteous life. Today, the practice of prosocial behaviors is prevalent in our culture. Without prosocial behaviors, childhood play group work, and friendship formation would be nearly impossible. Prosocial behavior is, by nature, socially desirable; it is arguable that individuals who do not learn these skills are extremely ill equipped to lead a functional social life. Luckily, mos t children do not experience this disadvantage. Modeling and explicit induction of these behaviors by parents and other authority figures (teachers, older siblings, etc.) appear to be effective and widespread child rearing practices (Krevans & Gibbs, 1996; Zahn Waxler, Radke Yarrow, & King, 1979). Most children raised in stereotypically social settings, therefore, develop prosocial skills in a normative fashion. Familial Influences. Parents are generally the principal educators of and models for the develo pment of social skills in young children; normatively, they are the primary care givers and have the most contact with infants. Evolutionarily, parents have a vested interest in rearing a healthy and appropriately social child. Attachment can be considered the first step into a social lifestyle, and the first model for interpersonal bonding.
Birth Order 4 Attachment, the emotional bond between children and their caregivers, is usually thought to begin developing from birth, with a "crucial period" beginning somewhere be tween 7 and 9 months (Bowlby, 1969; Cassidy & Shaver, 1999; Steele, 2003). Bowlby's theory considers attachment needs primary; it is only after an infant has attached to his or her caregiver that they can begin to explore the physical and social environmen t. Whereas exploration is essential to human development, it has the potential to be risky, exhausting, and dangerous. If a child's primary caregiver is responsive in times of exploratory distress, they are more likely to confidently explore their environm ent to an effective and illuminating end. Using Ainsworth's (1978) classification, these infants are referred to as being securely attached. Not all infants, however, attach securely; Ainsworth's (1978) research identified two other distinctive patterns of attachment. If a child's parent or caregiver is inconsistently attentive or is inattentive to his or her needs, the infant may become overly preoccupied with the parent's availability. In this situation, attachment behaviors preclude exploration, and an xious/ambivalent attachment occurs. In the case that the parent is neglectful or consistently inattentive to a child's needs, the child may form an avoidant attachment. These children tend to preoccupy themselves with activity, letting exploratory behavior s dominate at the expense of attachment. Evidence is suggestive that rejecting or neglectful home environments the very same environments which produce insecurely attached children are ineffective at fostering prosocial behavior (Dlugokinski & Firestone, 1974; Yarrow, Scott, & Waxler, 1973), and that securely attached children exhibit more prosocial personality patterns (Van Lange, De Bruin, Otten, & Joireman, 1997).
Birth Order 5 Bowlby's (1969) theory also proposes that parent child attachment serves as an "internal working model" a framework constructed from experience that guides children through social interactions later in life. Indeed, secure attachment style in infancy has been shown to predict reduced aggression, increased social competence, and more prosocia l behaviors in 3 8 year olds (Marcus & Kramer, 2001), self esteem and empathy in adolescents (Laible, Carlo, & Roesch, 2004), and social value development (Bretherton, Golby, & Cho, 1997), as well as numerous other social and personality variables. Resear ch has proposed a parallel pattern of attachment in adults. Hazan and Shaver (1987) noticed that adult romantic interactions share similarities with parent child interaction: desire for intimacy, separation anxiety and comfort induced by reunion, and the presence of a "secure base" in the face of challenge. When phrased in terms appropriate to romantic love, adult participants identified with descriptions of Ainsworth's (1978) three attachment styles in similar proportions to those observed in infants. Evi dence strongly suggests that attachment style is fairly consistent across a lifetime: 70 to 80% of people experience no significant changes in attachment over time (Kirkpatrick & Hazen, 1994; Scharfe & Bartholomew, 1994; Baldwin & Fehr, 1995; Waters, Merri ck, Treboux, Crowell, & Albersheim, 2000). Attachment style as an adult has been demonstrated to predict levels of satisfaction and success in areas of work and romantic love (Hazan & Shaver, 1990), suggesting that the relationship between attachment and e xploration endures throughout life, particularly in regard to social development.
Birth Order 6 Whereas it would be impossible to ignore the role of parent child interaction in early social development, siblings and peers also have the potential to play a significant r ole. Research suggests that older siblings not only aid in the inducement of prosocial behaviors, but that the rate of these behaviors is elevated in both parties of a sibling dyad during free play interaction (Pepler, Abramovitch, & Corter, 1981). Older s iblings were observed to initiate prosocial behavior more often, while younger siblings imitated more; this suggests an organic hierarchical pedagogy in sibship. This effect has been supported in multiple studies (Abramovitch, Corter, & Lando, 1979; Corter Pepler, & Abramovitch, 1982; Minnett, Vandell, & Santrock, 1983). Another study linked maternal behaviors that favored the younger of two siblings with a lack of prosocial behavior in both children (Brody, Stoneman, & Burke, 1987). These findings indica te that affect plays a significant role in development, and differential treatment by parents is detrimental. Summers (1987) found that prosocial behavior is more prevalent in sibling dyads characterized by large age differences. Most of these findings c an be explained by social cognitive theory, which states that elements of social cognition are learned through direct observation of models. Given that the vast majority of American families have more than one child, and that 98.2% have at least one workin g parent (U.S. Census Bureau, 2009), it is apparent that many children are socialized by their siblings. By the time they enter kindergarten, children spend over twice as much time with their siblings as with their parents (Eisenberg & Mussen, 1989). While parental authority has its place in socialization, sibling relationships are usually more egalitarian, providing a different context from which to learn social skills.
Birth Order 7 Empathy Much like anger is the emotional state analogous to acts of aggression, empath y is the emotional precursor to prosocial behaviors. There are many perspectives among psychologists on exactly what empathy is. Carl Rogers (1959), the influential founder of the humanistic approach to psychology, described empathy as the ability to accu rately perceive the emotions of another as if they were one's own, while maintaining the "as if" perspective. (pp. 210 211) In this definition, Rogers places the emphasis on the "other ness" of the empathic experience, stressing that empathy differs from o ther perspective taking states in the retention of the self as experiencer role. Further, he makes the distinction between empathy and sympathy (or other forms of perspective taking) by underscoring the idea that to empathize is not just to show pity and c oncern, but to actually assume and shoulder the emotions of another as one's own. William Ickes is known for his work combining studies on empathy and interpersonal perception into research on "empathic accuracy." His research uses a perception based mode l to describe empathy, defining it as "a complex form of psychological inference in which observation, memory, knowledge, and reasoning are combined to yield insights into the thoughts and feelings of others" (1997, p. 2). This reflects a traditionally cog nitive approach to empathy, regarding it as more of an integration of intellectual tools than a strictly emotional experience. Simon Baron Cohen (2003), one of the most prolific theory of mind scholars in the history of its study, emphasized that there a re both cognitive and emotional components to empathy:
Birth Order 8 Empathy is about spontaneously and naturally tuning into the other person's thoughts and feelings, whatever these might be.There are two major elements to empathy. The first is the cognitive componen t: understanding the other's feelings and the ability to take their perspective....the second element to empathy is the affective component. This is an observer's appropriate emotional response to another person's emotional state. (p. 21) Whereas theoreti cal perspectives differ on whether its emotional or cognitive components should receive the most consideration, empathy is one of the most recognizable and universal emotions in the healthy human spectrum. In the simplest way, empathy is the capability to share and understand another's emotions and feelings. Empathy is usually evaluated on a dispositional versus situational dimension. Situational empathy refers to the empathy that a person may feel within a specific social situation, and is not generalizab le to a personality trait. Dispositional empathy, however, can be defined as the general tendency towards empathy that exists within a given personality (Eisenberg et al., 1994). For the purposes of this study, unless otherwise noted "empathy" will refer to dispositional as opposed to situational empathy. Evidence strongly indicates that trait empathy is present very early in life, perhaps as early as birth. Infants as young as 1 day old show signs of distress and cry at the sound of another infant's crie s; this effect is most exaggerated at the sound of the cries of another 1 day old, suggesting not only innate empathy but a particular tendency to empathize with one's contemporaries (Dondi, Simion, & Caltran, 1999; Martin & Clark, 1982). A significant bod y of neurological research further supports the concept of empathy as an innate tendency. A 2008 study showed children aged 7 to 12 pictures of
Birth Order 9 individuals experiencing pain, either received accidentally or inflicted intentionally ( Decety, Michalska, Akits uki, & Lahey, 2008). In both conditions, an fMRI scan showed that the neural circuits involved with processing and experiencing pain were activated; in the "intentionally inflicted" condition, the regions of the brain engaged in social interaction and mora l reasoning were also activated. This suggests that the "experiencing other as self" effect is instinctual for both physical and emotional experiences. Other studies have linked neural activity to empathic experiences of disgust (Wicker et al., 2003) and t ouch (Keysers et al., 2004; Blakemore, Bristow, Bird, Frith, & Ward, 2005). In recent years, research has attempted to apply research on mirror neurons in certain monkeys to human behavior. Mirror neurons fire in the same way when a monkey performs an act ion as when it observes the same action being performed by another (Rizzolatti & Craighero, 2004). Although mirror neuron activity has only been directly observed in the macaque monkey, some neurological researchers believe that they are active in the same way in the human brain and may be responsible for empathy, language, theory of mind, imitation, and a variety of other social skills (Keysers & Gazzola, 2006; Arbib, 2005; Theoret & Pascual Leone, 2002). Some research has indicated that autistic children may show reduced mirror neuron activity in the inferior frontal gyrus while performing an expression imitation task (Dapretto et al., 2006). Further fMRI research however, has been unable to reproduce these results, and as such mirror neuron theory should be interpreted with caution (Bastiaanen, Thioux, & Keysers, 2008). The study of empathy is certainly varied in nature, and the fact that empathy is comprised of several different aspects makes it a field of plentiful and robust research.
Birth Order 10 Familial Influenc es. Since empathy is a crucial prerequisite for and component of prosocial behavior, it should come as no surprise that family members play a role in its development.. Research demonstrates that empathic parents tend to have empathic children, suggesting t hat some type of guidance is at work (Eisenberg, 1990; Eisenberg & Murphy, 1995; Strayer & Roberts, 2004). Evidence points toward parenting style in particular, as an important component in empathy development. High empathy levels in children are negativel y correlated with fear of punishment from parents (Roe, 1980), and mothers in particular have been demonstrated to have a significant effect in the empathic development of their children (Soenens, Duriez, Vansteenkiste, & Goossens, 2007). Research has iden tified warmth and responsiveness as particular characteristics in the parent child relationship responsible for differences in individual levels of empathy (Barnett, 1987; Brody & Schaffer, 1982; Eisenberg et al., 1992; Eisnberg & McNally, 1993; Fabes, Eis enberg, & Miller, 1990; McDevitt, Lennon, & Kopriva, 1996). It is important to note that, as discussed earlier, these same characteristics have been linked strongly with attachment style as well. Children are also more likely to emulate high status, compet ent models (Eisenberg Berg & Geisheker, 1979; Grusec, 1971), with parents (hopefully) fitting this bill. In most families, younger children may view their older siblings as having similar "high status and competence" as their parents. As mentioned earlier sibling relationships have the tendency to be more egalitarian than those between parent and child, lending a level of relatedness that may not be present in other family relationships. Some of the most frequent behaviors present in sibling interaction teasing, rivalry, and sharing are socializing factors (Dunn, 1983). Free play sessions between siblings have been
Birth Order 11 shown to increase younger siblings' ability to differentiate between others' expressed emotions (Dunn, 1999), suggesting that parents may be responsible for the initial development of empathy, with siblings aiding in the later stages of development. Evidence also points toward sibling influence as directional in nature: previous studies of siblings' roles and interactions have shown that older children are more likely to have a greater influence on younger siblings' cognitive and social development than vice versa (Azmitia & Hesser, 1993; Brim, 1958; Koch, 1960). Examples set by siblings could possibly influence empathic development in a differ ent way: through de identification. Younger siblings have been shown to differentiate themselves from the characteristics of their older siblings; in other words, behaving in a dissimilar manner in order to establish the self as independent. One study sho wed that girls with older siblings may develop less feminine interests than girls with older brothers in an effort to differentiate themselves (Grotevant, 1978). It is therefore possible that rather than imitating a sibling high in empathy, younger sibling s might do the opposite. Birth Order Ordinal birth ranking is one of the most popular topics in pop psychology. A Google search for "birth order" yields over 41 million hits Popular media offers copious advice tailored to specific birth order: whom you should date, how you should parent your children, how to best perform at work, how hard you need to study, the best techniques for coping with unsavory personality traits, and so on. Actual academic research in the field is plentiful but fractured; wherea s investigations are frequently conducted into many variables, few provide robust findings. Although there is no general
Birth Order 12 consensus in the field, theories abound. The most prominent theories are addressed below. Historically, the proposed effect of birth order on intelligence has been a popular research interest. This theory finds ground in a number of observed inconsistencies between first and later born children: first borns are over represented among Nobel Prize winners (Clark & Rice, 1982), classical music composers (Schubert, Wagner, & Schubert, 1977), and prominent psychologists (Terry, 1989). Robert Zajonc's Confluence Model (1976) may have been the first venture into birth order research with a significant impact. Zajonc was the first to propose a mathematical model to account for these types of observations, specifically to account for ordinal effects on IQ scores. His theory suggests that the family atmosphere into which a child is born greatly influences intellectual achievement. First born chil dren are born into a family of adults; therefore, their early interactions are more likely to be of a mature or intellectual nature. As the family grows with the birth of more children, the mean IQ of the family drops; therefore, later born children are bo rn into a "less intelligent" environment. His theory also considers only children and later borns with a sibling at least five years their senior (with no siblings in between) to be "functional firstborns". According to the Confluence Model, however, first born children are likely to be more intelligent than only children, because of what Zajonc calls the "tutor effect": first borns benefit intellectually from the act of teaching younger siblings. Zajonc's supporting research indeed shows that children fr om larger families do in fact have lower IQ scores, and that first borns score higher on an intelligence test than second borns, second borns score higher than third borns, and so on (Zajonc, 1976).
Birth Order 13 Whereas these effects are significant, the effect sizes a re small, and many critics have argued that the way Zajonc regards birth order and family size is indistinct, and at times his theory does not distinguish between these two variables. These criticisms may be valid; a large number of other studies have repl icated his procedures controlling for this confound, and failed to replicate his findings (Polit & Falbo, 1988; Wichman, Rodgers, & Maccallum, 2007; Kristensen & Bjekedal, 2007). Additionally, other findings suggest that, while these findings may be presen t when analyzing a cross sectional body of data, they are non existent when observing individual families longitudinally (Berbaum & Moreland, 1980; Retherford & Sewell, 1991; Rodgers, Cleveland, van den Oord, & Rowe, 2000; Schooler, 1972). The Resource D ilution Model (Blake, 1981; Downey, 2001) offers yet another criticism of Zajonc's (1976) conclusions, as well as a very simple alternate explanation for the effects found in his data. It rests on three assumptions, the first of which is that parental reso urces are finite. Resources may include money, attention, and objects (such as books, movies, or toys). While parents may have discretion as to how they use their resources, they may not necessarily be able to produce more when they are needed. The second assumption is that the addition of siblings reduces the share of resources available to any one child. Parents with only one child are able to make one hundred percent of their resources available; parents with multiple children must divide their resources accordingly. The Confluence Model frequently cites the overrepresentation of firstborns in college populations (Schachter, 1963); the Resource Dilution Model explains this disparity by suggesting that parents may be able to afford to send one child to col lege, but not all subsequent children. Indeed, large family size is associated with low
Birth Order 14 socioeconomic status (Page & Grandon, 1979); therefore, a sixth born child is less likely to be educated because they come from a family of six or more, and is therefor e more likely to have had limited resources before the dilution effect is taken into account. The third assumption of this model is that the relative richness of an environment, especially one mediated by parental resources, affects cognitive development. Children with more parental resources (i.e. first born and only children) are more likely to develop in a favorable manner, and are therefore more likely to attend college and live a life of success and eminence. In contrast to the Confluence and Resourc e Depletion Models, which both frame later borns as less intelligent, Frank Sulloway's "Born to Rebel" theory (1996) argues that first borns are at a creative disadvantage. Sulloway's theory suggests a relationship between birth order and the Big Five pers onality traits. He claims that firstborns score higher on measures of conscientiousness and lower on measures of agreeableness and openness, while later borns score higher on scales measuring extraversion, openness, and agreeableness. The supporting argume nt for this claim takes an evolutionary perspective. It states that later born children occupy a niche with pressures to exhibit these traits and express more creative, innovative behaviors, likely in an effort to gain attention over their more intelligen t older siblings. In contrast, first borns, and the conservative traits that they express, favor the status quo (the circumstances of which are most likely favorable to them). Sulloway's data are mostly collected though evaluation of historical figures. Thomas Jefferson, Karl Marx, and Fidel Castro, for example, were all later born siblings, and were all evaluated by Sulloway to score high on the appropriate Big Five traits;
Birth Order 15 history shows these individuals to be revolutionaries. He also uses the within f amily dynamics of famous or historically significant sibling pairs to reinforce his theory: Presidents Clinton and Carter were more conservative and sensible than their younger brothers, Billy Carter (founder of Billy Beer) and Roger Clinton (who pursued a n acting and musical career). Sulloway's findings have been validated with marginal success (Paulhus, Trapnell, & Chen, 1998). The danger with this type of research is that there is a potentially large discrepancy between the way an individual might self r eport their traits and the way in which an outsider might observe them. Also, it is fundamentally impossible to retroactively evaluate the personality of a historical figure, such as Thomas Jefferson or Karl Marx. These facts place the Born to Rebel theory in vulnerable territory. As such, many have re evaluated Sulloway's theory using a more controlled methodology, and have refuted the idea of any such link between birth order and Big Five traits (Steelman, 1986; Dunkel, Harbke, & Papini, 2009; Abdel Khal ek, 2007). Perhaps in reaction to the ambivalent support for such theories, Judith Rich Harris (1998) proposed a model which suggests that, whereas birth order effects may exist within the setting of a family group, they are not enduring aspects of person ality that can be generalized to other contexts In other words, people may ascribe to their supposed birth order defined tendencies when they are in the company of their families, but these patterns do not necessarily affect the way that individuals beha ve outside of the family environment. She makes the claim that birth order effects are so prevalent in academic research simply because people are looking for them; when a result is not found, the data are either not reported or are re analyzed until one e merges.
Birth Order 16 Given the tenuous nature of this research, Harris's perspective is hardly surprising. Birth order has the advantage of being salient and relevant to almost everybody; it's no wonder, then, that the world of research shows such zeal in its efforts to connect birth order to other variables. Nearly all significant findings from birth order research have also been challenged by further research: links between birth order and attachment style (Touris, Kromelow, & Harding, 1995; Velasquez, 2008), gender role development (Vroegh, 1971; McHale, Updegraff, Helms Erikson, & Crouter, 2001), pathological narcissism (Curtis & Cowell, 1993; Eyring & Sobeman, 1996), and verbal proficiency (Breland, 1974; Tomblin, 1990) are just a few examples. So far, research h as not yet made clear how birth order contributes to the family social development relationship. Birth order seems directly related to these topics; that being said, the inconsistent nature of birth order research makes this intuitive relationship difficul t to reconcile. Birth order studies are a notoriously weak area of research, and it seems risky to involve such a historically unreliable variable. Nevertheless, it is impossible to ignore the apparent link between sibling relationships and social develop ment. Research not only demonstrates that siblings play a very significant role in social and cognitive development, but also indicates that older children influence their younger siblings' development unidirectionally (Azmitia & Hesser, 1993; Brim, 1958; Koch, 1960). We also know that the presence of siblings affects the level and quality of parent child interaction (Brody, Stoneman, & Burke, 1987). Taking these points into consideration, it may be possible that birth order's impact is not trivial. If birt h order is taken into account along with its potentially mediating variables such as family size and age gap between siblings it may clarify previous patterns of findings. Family
Birth Order 17 structure and dynamics are so variable that investigating only one variable birth order or otherwise, increases the potential for insubstantial findings. Present Study Family members play a prominent role in the development of young individuals. Evidence suggests that the presence of an older sibling produces a unique social en vironment. Children with older siblings reap the benefits of a close peer relationship, and older siblings usually bring greater worldly experience to the table. Through the social learning paradigm, older siblings teach and model social and empathic condu ct to their younger counterparts. The unidirectional nature of this aspect of the sibling relationship suggests that later born children may have greater potential to be empathic than their first born older siblings, due to the increased presence of "role model" type figures. However, the unstable nature of birth order research should give rise to caution about the claims made in connection to birth order. A prudent stance seems best; family structure and dynamics are complicated elements of the human condi tion. A review of birth order literature shows us that assumptions and hasty predictions lead to unsound results. The present study, therefore, makes the following hypotheses: first, that later borns will score higher on an empathy measure than first bor ns. However, some degree of extra sibling socialization may compensate for a lack of sibling influence. For this reason, it is the secondary hypothesis that when family size is statistically accounted for, any discrepancy in empathy level between first a nd later born siblings will disappear. Further, connections with several other variables will be assessed: social perceptiveness, family satisfaction, and attachment. All three of these variables intuitively could involve
Birth Order 18 birth order, empathy or both; howe ver, since no precedent has been set for the interactions of these variables with birth order, no predictions of their impact or interaction shall be made. Each will be regarded both as a control variable and a dependent variable in statistical analysis. Method Participants The sample consisted of 50 students (16 male, 34 female) at a very small liberal arts college in southwest Florida. The only requirements for participation were an age of at least 18 and enrollment in the college where research was be ing conducted. Participants ranged in age from 18 to 23 years of age. An e mail, sent to the student body mailing list, invited participants to make an individual appointment if interested. Materials Each participant was asked to complete the Questionn aire Measure of Emotional Empathy (QMEE) (Mehrabian & Epstein, 1972), the Experiences in Close Relationships Revised (ECR R) Questionnaire (Fraley, Waller, & Brennan, 2000), and the Family Satisfaction Scale (FSS) (Carver & Jones, 1992). They also complete d a modified version of the Interpersonal Perceptions Task (IPT 15) (Costanzo & Archer, 1993), and a brief family profile created for the purposes of this study. The QMEE (see Appendix A) is comprised of 33 items designed to measure emotional empathy (e.g ., "I become nervous if others around me seem to be nervous). Participants responded to each statement on a 9 point Likert scale ( 4 = does not describe me at all, 4 = describes me very well). The Cronbach's alpha coefficient for this sample
Birth Order 19 was 0.872. T he ECR R (see Appendix B) is a 12 item questionnaire designed to measure attachment style in adults (e.g., "I worry that romantic partners won't care about me as much as I care for them") on an anxious avoidant dimensional scale. Participants rated their a greement with each statement on a 7 point Likert scale (1 = strongly disagree, 7 = strongly agree). The Cronbach's alpha coefficient for this sample was 0.759. The FSS (see Appendix C) consists of 14 items designed to evaluate an individual's satisfaction with their family life (e.g., "How satisfied are you with how often parents make decisions in your family?"). Participants rated their satisfaction on a 5 point Likert scale (1 = dissatisfied, 5 = extremely satisfied). The Cronbach's alpha coefficient for this sample was 0.952. The IPT 15 (see Appendix D) consists of fifteen short video clips (modified from the original 30) of candid social interactions, each paired with a multiple choice question regarding some implicit component of the scene (e.g., in on e scene, two men discuss a game of basketball they have just played, and the viewer is asked to decide which man won the game). Participants are given one point for every "correct" answer on the IPT, with a maximum of 15 points. The family profile include d the participant's gender, age, birth order, number of siblings, age gaps between siblings, number of family members living in household during childhood, and desired number of siblings (see Appendix E). All testing took place in one room of a small camp us research facility, roughly 7' by 10' in size. The room consisted of two computers on desks, a long table with chairs, and a large window. The IPT was viewed on a Phillips brand portable DVD player with a 7 inch LCD screen and accessible controls.
Birth Order 20 Proce dure When participants arrived at the lab, they first completed a consent form (see Appendix F). Next, a brief, one question interview was held. The experimenter said the following: "Since this is a psychological study that will use statistical analysis, I will need to know if there's anything about your family situation that would make you a statistical outlier. Basically, that means anything that you feel is especially remarkable or unusual about your family. Some examples could be coming from an extrem ely large family, being adopted, being raised by guardians other than your parents, or having siblings who have passed away." Any response the individual gave was recorded on paper by the experimenter. No participants gave especially unusual responses to this question, so no individuals were excluded on this basis. Participants were then given instructions that all data collection would take place on a computer, using a commercial survey website, and that they were free to ask questions at any time. The ex perimenter remained present for the duration of each session. Participants first completed the family profile and then the QMEE. To minimize fatigue effects, the IPT was administered next because of its video format and engaging content. Before beginning this portion, participants were told the following: "The next portion is a video task. You're going to watch 15 short video clips, and your task is to answer one question about each one. The clips are all under 1 minute, and feature one to four people int eracting. These are all real people and real interactions. The question will display on the screen, followed by the clip.
Birth Order 21 Whenever you feel that you know, indicate the right answer using the computer. Some of them may seem hard, so don't worry if it feels like you're just guessing. You're free to adjust the volume, pause the DVD, or ask questions at any time." Participants were then shown how to use the controls on the portable DVD player before beginning the test. After finishing the IPT, participants the n completed the FSS and the ECR R. The final page thanked participants for their time and invited comments or questions to be entered in a text box. After notifying the experimenter of their completion, participants were given the opportunity to choose a g ift (either a brownie, candy bar, or Sharpie marker) and to verbally pose questions about the study to the experimenter. Results While the QMEE also includes provisions to code for seven sub scales under the umbrella of "emotional empathy", it was decide d for the purposes of this study use the mean score from all 33 questions as a general "empathy score". The ECR R produces both anxious and avoidant scale for each data point; in other words, each participant's information included both a measure of anxiou s attachment style and avoidant attachment style. Mean scores were computed from the FSS as a measure of family satisfaction. Using an answer sheet provided by the publishers, responses to each question in the IPT were either marked correct or incorrect. C orrect responses were worth one point (incorrect responses being worth zero), and the number of points was summed to generate an IPT score for each participant. This score was interpreted as a measure of generalized social perceptiveness.
Birth Order 22 Based on the fam ily profile, participants were divided into first borns and later borns. Since only four participants designated themselves as only children, they were excluded from birth order relevant analysis. Independent sample T tests were conducted between first and later born children to assess potential differences in empathy score, family satisfaction, attachment, and social perceptiveness (IPT score). Bivariate correlational analyses were conducted between birth order, number of siblings, number of household fami ly members and age gap between siblings, and all computed scales. Partial correlation coefficients were computed between birth order and QMEE score, birth order and FSS score, birth order and attachment, and birth order and IPT score, accounting in each fo r the variance of family size and number of siblings (separately). Main Hypotheses Based on the results of a Pearson correlation coefficient, first borns scored lower (but not significantly) on empathy (measured as total QMEE score) ( r (46) = 0.144, p = 0 .339); further, first borns also scored lower (but not significantly) on family satisfaction (measured as FSS score) ( r (45) = 0.153, p = 0.317). The inclusion of family size and sibship size as a control variable did not influence either of these outcomes into the significant range. These results are inconsistent with the hypotheses of this study. Desired number of siblings and outcomes The response to the question, "In an ideal situation, how many siblings would you prefer to have?" seemed to be especia lly predictive of other variables. Desired number of siblings correlated positively with total number of actual siblings ( r (50) = 0.501, p <0.0001), actual number of biological siblings ( r (50) = 0.383, p = 0.006), and actual number of half siblings ( r (50) = 0.519, p <0.0001). Interestingly, participants with more
Birth Order 23 half siblings scored lower on family satisfaction ( r (46) = 0.343, p = 0.016). Desired number of siblings also correlated positively with birth order ( r (46) = 0.389, p = 0.008) and family size (measu red as total number of individuals living in the household during childhood) ( r (46) = 0.513, p <.0001). Empathy scores and related variables Empathy and family satisfaction correlated positively ( r (49) = 0.238, p = 0.09) at a level that approached signif icance. When attachment style was included as a control variable, this correlation reached statistical significance: in a partial correlation controlling for attachment style (both anxious and avoidant types), family satisfaction correlated positively with empathy ( r (49) = 0.315, p = .04). A positive bivariate correlation was observed between age and empathy ( r (50) = 0.291, p = .04). Because of the narrow age range observed in this sample (18 23 years), a secondary set of ana lyses was performed. In a partial correlation controlling for age, relationships between empathy and all other variables were not significantly changed. Social perceptiveness, as measured by the IPT, correlated positively with total number of siblings ( r (5 0) = 0.280, p = 0.04). There was no significant correlation between empathy and social perceptiveness. Attachment style and gender differences Lastly, attachment style was observed to have some associations with other variables. Empathy correlated negativ ely with avoidant attachment style ( r (49) = 0.379, p = 0.007). Participants with a sibling close in age tended towards anxious attachment ( r (44) = 0.405, p = 0.006) Anxious attachment style was also positively correlated with number of biological siblings ( r (49) = 0.29, p = 0.043).
Birth Order 24 Two gender effects were also observed: in a two tailed independent samples T test, male participants reported higher levels of avoidant attachment ( M (males) = 3.41, SD = .96, M (females) = 2.42, SD = 1.25, t (49)=2.71 p = 0.009), while females reported higher empathy ( M (males) = 5.75, SD = 1.00, M (females) = 6.39, SD = .63, t (50) = 2.72, p = 0.009). Discussion Results relevant to hypotheses Given the non significant correlation between birth order and empathy, the primary hypothe sis was not supported. Not only did earlier born children display slightly higher levels of empathy (in the direction opposite to the hypothesized one), this association did not reach conventional levels of statistical significance. The inclusion of family size and sibship size as control coefficients (in a partial bivariate correlation) did not alter this outcome. It is possible that this effect was observed because of the previously mentioned theory of de identification: a younger sibling purposely d isplays behaviors that directly oppose those of older siblings in an effort to establish an identity independent from those of their family members. Another possibility is the potentially over riding influence of the "tutor effect" that Zajonc (1976) calls upon in his Confluence Model. Older siblings may model prosocial and empathic behaviors to their younger siblings so much that a practice effect leads older siblings to dvelop great empat hy This "tutor effect" may act against any birth order effects, resulting in no significant differences between the empathy levels in first and later born children.
Birth Order 25 The negative (but also non significant) correlation between birth order and family sat isfaction suggests that first or early born children may also be more satisfied with their family life. As will be discussed in a later section, family satisfaction and empathy correlate positively, but only when attachment style is included as a control variable. Future research may not only indicate a tendency towards empathy and family satisfaction for first borns, but also a firm and perhaps reciproca l and causal relationship between these two factors (empathy and family satisfaction). Given that the correlation between birth order and empathy does not approach levels of significance, it may also be that birth order is simply irrelevant to empathic development While this is unsupportive of the hypothesis, it is reflective of the current state of research in this field. Birth order's connection to social and personality variables seems tenuous at best, and results such as these may lend support to Judith Rich Harris's (1998) hypothesis that birth order effects are only found after re analyzing da ta to fit the model of a given experiment Desired number of siblings The correlations between desired number of siblings and a variety of family size variables (total number of siblings, number of biological siblings, number of half siblings, and total family size) seem intuitive: these results would indicate that individuals are, in general, satisfied with the specifications of their family. The negative correlation between number of half siblings and family satisfaction, however, presents an intriguin g implication. It can be surmised that most families that include half siblings have, at one point, experienced either divorce or the death of a parent. It is no surprise, then, that those with half siblings report lower levels of satisfaction with fami ly life.
Birth Order 26 However, when this finding is coupled with the observed tendency of those with more half siblings to report a desire for many siblings several possibilities emerge. First, siblings could mediate the potentially devastating effect of divorce or parental death. Since the survey design only allowed for participants to report their ideal desired number of "siblings", we are unable to gather whether participants interpreted this to mean biologically related siblings, or simply a figure that doubles as relative and peer. From this follows the second possible interpretation of these results: half siblings contribute to the reported dissatisfaction with family life; it may only be the presence of biological siblings that could provide the sense of relatedness that children in divided families may see as a benefit. The positive correlation observed between birth order and desired number of siblings may add to the potential imp lication s of birth order on empathy If later born siblings do desire more siblings, two possibilities exist: first, that a large sibship is an inherent desire in later born children If first born children are indeed more empathic than their younger siblings, as future research could potentially indicate, this may be the case. Intuitively, the presence of an empathic person is beneficial ; if older siblings are indeed more empathic it follows that their younger siblings should desire more of this positive influence, therefore desiring more siblings. The second, and potentially more likely possibility is that this result may simply be an artifact of the data. The higher the number of someone's birth rank is, the more siblings they are likely to have. If they are satisfied with (or even indifferent to) their family structure at the time of testing, an individual may be more likely to simply report that they "ideally" desire the same number of siblings that the y actually have. Therefore, "desired number of siblings" would be more
Birth Order 27 reflective of "actual number of siblings" than any implications specifically relevant to birth order as an influential variable. Empathy The near significant positive correlation betw een empathy and family satisfaction gives further support to the proposition that first born children may be more empathic, and that empathic individuals may be happier with their family life. When this correlation coefficient is computed again, controlling for attachment style, a significant correlation emerges. The fact that empathy and family satisfaction are connected provides support for the potential links between birth order and both of these v ariables. Empathy and family satisfaction were both non significantly positive correlated with birth order; a clear association between family satisfaction and empathy suggests that all three of these variables may be related to each other. A curious fi nding was the fairly strong correlation between age and empathy. With such a narrow age range in the observed sample (18 23 years), it's surprising that any variable at all would relate significantly to age. Several explanations are possible: first, e mpathy may increase with age. Previous research has revealed positive correlations between age and forgiveness (Toussaint, Williams, Musick, & Everson, 2001), generosity (Midlarsky & Hannah, 1989), and altruism (Underwood & Moore, 1982). Another interpretation rests on the fact that all participants were college students. Could it be that spending time at a residential college contribut es to the empathic tendencies of an individual? This question provides the foundation for a future study, comparing the empathic tendencies of students and non students of the same age A longitudinal model would probably best suit this type of study. A note: the college where
Birth Order 28 this study was conducted is exceptionally small, with fewer than 800 students, and an uncommonly communal atmosphere; this shift towards empathy with age may be owed exclusively to this specific environment. A third interpretation is that age in this sample is most likely reflective of the number of years spent in college, which in turn is most likely reflective of the number of years spent living away from home. It's possible, then, to ascribe this finding to the notion of "absence makes the heart grow fonder," and infer that individuals grow more empathic as they spend less time with their immediate family members. Because of this surprising association between age and empathy, a seco ndary set of statistical analyses was conducted. However, statistically controlling for the variability in age did not significantly alter any of the observed associations. The positive correlation between social perceptiveness and number of siblings is consistent with the hypotheses of this study. It suggests that siblings have an important role in early socialization, and that without this form of peer to peer education, individuals may face difficulty in social interactions. The IPT measures perceptive ness of implicit social cues; it's therefore unsurprising that those with more siblings (and likely more close social contact) perform better. A particularly interesting finding was the lack of a significant correlation between empathy and IPT score (soci al perceptiveness). This c ould indicate that an individual's capability at reading social cues could have little to do with their tendencies toward empathy While most models for empathic development posit that it occurs as an educational experience in t he presence of proper role models, this finding suggests that an individual may be socially intelligent and perceptive, but not necessarily possess
Birth Order 29 particularly empathic tendencies; vice versa, that an individual who knows nothing about social norms or cue s may still have the ability to be quite empathic. Where, then, does the seat of empathy lie? Perhaps it is more emotional than cognitive; perhaps this particular measure of social perceptiveness is not reflective of real life experiences. Another possibil ity is that there is a discrepancy between self report and actual ability in this area. Individuals might incorrectly imagine themselves to be quite intuitive when this is not the case. Attachment style The negative correlation between avoidant attachme nt style a nd empathy seems intuitively consonant; an avoidant style is associated with a lack of other focused actions and decreased desire for affiliation (Hazan & Shaver, 1987). An individual with lowered interest or enga gement in others would probably be less likely to be cognitively aware in social interactions, as well as less emotionally involved. What is puzzling, then, is the lack of an association between avoidant attachment and soci al perceptiveness. This, again, may suggest that there is a significant discrepancy between self reported ability and actual ability. In this sample, avoidant individuals identified as un empathic, but in reality are no less socially perceptive than the re st of the sample. The findings involving anxious attachment style are less intuitive than the findings relevant to avoi dant attachment. First, anxious attachment's negative correlation with the gap between the participant's age and the age of their closest sibling: given the overly affiliative tendencies usually associated with anxious attachment style, we can speculate th at the presence of a sibling very close in age may provide an individual with the expectation of close personal relationships in the future. When this expectation is not
Birth Order 30 necessarily met, they may experience the intense fear of rejection associated with anx ious types. Anxious attachment also positively correlated with an individual's number of biological siblings. Attachment theory usually supposes that anxious attachment is bred in situations when attention from a caretaker is not a "sure thing"; someti mes the infant's needs will be attended to, but sometimes they may not, placing the infant in a situation of frequent fear of rejection. In a family of many children, there are no guarantees that any one of them will receive attention when they fe el that they need or deserve it; it's simply a matter of logistics. This provides an interesting avenue for possible future research; perhaps this association could be mediated by the presence of other adult family members, designated non parental caretake rs (e.g. nannies, regular babysitters), or time spent in school or day care. Gender comparisons The only two gender effects observed fit with the expectations of this study. First, male participants scored higher on avoidant attachment style. This has no t only been validated by prior research (Hazan & Shaver, 1987), but is also consistent with the stereotypical male gender roles in Western society. In the same vein, it's no surprise that females tested higher in empathy than males; this is also quite typi cal of the gender proscriptions present in our society. Future research The implications of this study provide ample opportunities for future research. Previously, it was mentioned that an inquiry into the effects of residential college life on empathy le vels might prove fruitful. Since college students are frequently the most
Birth Order 31 available and convenient sample for psychological research, they are often taken to be a representative sample of the general population simply out of necessity. There is a relative lack of research that incorporates the unique environment of college, rather than disregarding it. Having a better understanding of how a college education influences individuals on a social and emotional level may equip researchers to better understand th e implications of undergraduate students as participants. The results of this study also inspire further research into the relationship between social perception and empathy. The lack of a correlation between these two variables is extremely surprising, an d some future exploration may shed light on this unexpected finding. The non significant birth order results (relative to the hypotheses) provide the most food for thought in future research. Though they did not reach conventional levels of significance, these data suggest that earlier born children may have a greater tendency to be empathic. The only way to safely make this statement would be to validate this hypothesis through future research. There were some pitfalls in the current study, and future re search would most definitely benefit from their correction. Namely, the "desired number of siblings" variable seemed to be more reflective of the actual circumstances in an individual's family arrangement than their internal desires and attitudes about sib lings and their value in life. A questionnaire specific to affect towards siblings, either in addition to or instead of the FSS, might provide better insight into this aspect of family life. A larger scale version of the present study would be beneficial for a number of reasons: first, it would likely increase the number of only children in the sample, which would then enable comparative analyses between children with and without siblings.
Birth Order 32 Similarly, the proportions of participants with other less common family situations (e.g. deceased siblings, twins, adoption) would likely rise, giving way to comparative analyses between these variables as well. Larger samples might also be more likely to produce significant results validating the suggestions made by th e data in the present study. Family is such a varied component of life that it would be remiss to conduct a study with these aims without trying to account for as many variations as possible. While neither hypothesis in this study was supported, the results of this study certainly substantiate the reputation of birth order research as inconsistent and inconclusive. These results also paint a picture of the incredibly detailed and complex nature of family dynamic s: it is obvious that studying the interactions of variables is of immense importance. Conclusion Intuition says that we are shaped and molded by our family members R esearch corroborates this idea: we know that social development is fostered by parents and siblings. Siblings play a special role that encompasses peer and, with older siblings, authority figure. This type of relationship is especially important, because t hrough modeling and induction, younger siblings learn the proper conventions of prosocial behavior. The development of prosocial behaviors is extremely crucial to advanced social and personal growth. While it's apparent that siblings are hugely influential in social maturation, it's unclear how birth order functions in this relationship. Few studies have examined the relationship between sibling interaction and prosocial development while accounting for birth order.
Birth Order 33 What's more, birth order research in gen eral produces few robust results and fewer clear implications. Many scientists have posed theories and developed models based on birth order, but empirical research has difficulty corroborating them. In the field, there is little to no consensus about how birth order functions as a component of an individual's social and personal life. This study aimed to integrate these conflicts, with the goal of assessing the extent to which birth order affects prosocial tendencies, and how other family variables influ ence this relationship. It was hypothesized that, since evidence suggests that older siblings model and engage their younger siblings in prosocial behavior, later born individuals would receive more prosocial influence. As adults, this would translate into a greater predisposition towards empathy. Further, it was also hypothesized that family size could function as a moderating variable in this situation; therefore, when family size is statistically accounted for, any differences in empathy between first a nd later born children would be attenuated. Because of the intensely variable nature of family arrangements, a variety of data with respect to other social and family related variables were collected and analyzed, but without any predictions as to how the y would interact. The empathy levels, attachment style, family satisfaction, and social perceptiveness of 50 undergraduate students were measured. Information regarding their family life, including their birth order, family size, and sibling age configura tion was also collected. Analysis of the data showed no support for either hypothesis, although several other effects were observed. Findings of note include a positive association between empathy and age, a positive association between empathy and family satisfaction, and
Birth Order 34 several implications for the relationship between attachment style, family size, and empathy. The findings of this study suggest that birth order, taken alone as a variable, is an unreliable predictor of social and personality aspects. M ore importantly, they indicate that the study of family dynamics may be best served by the examination of variables as they interact, and not simply their independent effects. Knowing as we do that families play an absolutely crucial role in social develop ment, it would be short sighted and irresponsible to disregard any component of family life. Birth order may indeed be predictive of some aspect of social tendencies or personality; it is obvious, however, that the current method of birth order research is not looking in the right places, or with the right ideas. A family is a complicated thing; it can be small or large. While a family doesn't exist without individuals, it is more than the sum of its parts. The complex dynamics that are inherent in the in teraction of its members makes a family one of the most formative and influential factors in an individual's life. These same complex dynamics are what makes family research so difficult; it's nearly impossible to study one variable without studying a myri ad of others. It seems that the current research has an interest in divorcing birth order from other family variables; one only needs to briefly review the literature to discover that current approaches are not yielding consistent results. Progress toward an integrated model of birth order and family research is the obvious next step, and the family influences are too important to leave uninvestigated.
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Birth Order 40 Marcus, R.F., & Kramer, C. (2001) Reactive and proactive aggression: Attachment and social competence predictors. Journal of Genetic Psychology, 162 (3), 260 275. Martin, G.G., & Clark, R.D.I. (1982). Distress crying in i nfants: Species and peer specificity. Developmental Psychology, 18, 3 9. McDevitt, T. M., Lennon, R., & Kopriva, R. J. (1996). Adolescents' perceptions of mothers' and fathers' prosocial actions and empathetic responses. Youth & Society, 22 387 409. McH ale, S.M., Updegraff, K.A., Helms Erikson, H., & Crouter, A.C. (2001). Sibling influences on gender development in middle childhood and early adolescence: a longitudinal study. Developmental Psychology, 37 (1), 115 125. Mehrabian, A., & Epstein, N. (1972). A measure of emotional empathy. Journal of Personality, 40 (4), 525 543. Midlarsky, E. & Hannah, M.E. (1989). The generous elderly: Naturalistic studies of donations across the life span. Psychology and Aging, 4 (3), 346 351. Minnett, A.M., Vandell, D.L., & Santrock, J.W. (1983). The effects of sibling status on sibling interaction: Influence of birth order, age spacing, sex of child, and sex of sibling. Child Development, 54 (4), 1064 1072. Page, E.B., & Grandon, G. (1979). Family configuration and mental ability: Two theories contrasted with U.S. data. American Educational Research Journal, 16, 257 272. Paulhus, D.L., Trapnell, P.D., & Chen, D. (1998). Birth order effects on personality and achievement within families. Psychological Science, 10, 482 488 Pepler, D.J., Abramovitch, R., & Corter, C. (1981). Sibling interaction in the home: A longitudinal study. Child Development, 52 (4), 1344 1347. Polit, D. F. & Falbo, T. (1988). The intellectual achievement of only children. Journal of Biosocial Science 20 275 285. Radke Yarrow, M., Scott, P. M., & Zahn Waxler, C. (1973). Learning concern for others. Developmental Psychology, 8 240 260.
Birth Order 41 Retherford, R.D., & Sewell, W.H. (1991). Birth order and intelligence: Further tests of the confluence model. Ame rican Sociological Review, 56 141 158. Rizzolatti, G & Craighero, L. (2004). The mirror neuron system. Annual Review of Neuroscience, 27 169 192. Roe, K.V. (1980). Toward a contingency hypothesis of empathy development. Journal of Personality and Soci al Psychology, 39 (5), 991 994. Rodgers, J.L., Cleveland, H.H., van den Oord, E., & Rowe, D.C. (2000). Resolving the debate over birth order, family size and intelligence. American Psychologist, 55 (6), 599 612. Rogers, C. R. (1959). A theory of therapy, personality and interpersonal relationships, as developed in the client centered framework. In S. Koch (Ed.), Psychology: A study of science (Vol. 3, pp. 210 211). New York: McGraw Hill. Scharfe, E., & Bartholomew, K. (1994). Reliability and stability of adult attachment patterns. Personal Relationships, 1, 23 43. Schooler, C. (1972). Birth order effects: Not here, not now! Psychological Bulletin, 78, 161 175. Schubert, D.S.P., Wagner, M.E., & Schubert, H.J.P. (1977). Family constellation and creativi ty: First born predominance among classical music composers. J ournal of Psychology, 95 147 149. Soenens, B., Duriez, B., Vansteenkiste, M., & Goossens, L. (2007). Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 33 (3), 299 311. Steele, H. (2003). Attachmen t and human development. Attachment and human development, 5 (1), 1. Steelman, L.C. (1986) The tale retold: A response to Zajonc. Review of Educational Research, 56 (3), 373 377.
Birth Order 42 Strayer, J. & Roberts, W. (2004). Children's anger, emotional expressiveness, and empathy: Relations with parents' empathy emotional expressiveness, and parenting practices. Social Development, 13 (2), 229 254. Sulloway, F. J. (1996). B orn to rebel : birth order, family dynamics, and creative lives. New York: Pantheon Books. Summe rs, M. (1987, April 23 26). Imitation, dominance, agonism, and prosocial behavior: A meta analysis of sibling behavior. Paper presented at the Biennial Meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development, Baltimore, MD. Terry, W.S. (1989). Birth orde r and prominence in the history of psychology. Psychological Record, 39, 333 337. Thoret, H. & Pascual Leone, A. (2002). Language acquisition: Do as you hear. Current Biology, 12 (21), R736 R737. Tomblin, J.B. (1990). The effect of birth order on the occ urrence of developmental language impairment. International Journal of Language & Communication Disorders, 25 (1), 77 84. Touris, M., Kromelow, S. & Harding, C. (1995). Mother firstborn attachment and the birth of a sibling. American Journal of Orthopsychi atry, 65 (2), 293 297. Toussaint, L.L., Williams, D.R., Musick, M.A., & Everson, S.A. (2001). Forgiveness and health: Age differences in a U.S. Probability sample. Journal of Adult Development, 8 (4), 249 257. Underwood, B. & Moore, B. (1982). Perspective taking and altruism. Psychological Bulletin, 91 (1), 143 173. U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Statistics, Families and Living Arrangements. (2009). Table FG1. Married couple family groups, by labor force status of both spouses, and race and hispanic origin of the reference person: 2008 [data file]. Available from http://www.census.gov/population/www/socdemo/hh fam/cps2008.html Van Lange, P.A.M., De Bruin, E.M.N., Otten, W., Joireman, J.A. (1997). Development of prosocial, individualistic, and competative orientations: Theory and
Birth Order 43 preliminary evidence. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 73 (4), 733 746. Velasquez, O. (2007, April 14). Birth order, attachment, an d its effects in adult romantic relationships. Poster presented at the 2007 National Conference of Undergraduate Research, San Rafael, CA. Vroegh, K. (1971). The relationship of birth order and sex of siblings to gender role identity. Developmental Psycho logy, 4 (3), 407 411. Wichman, A.L., Rodgers, J.L., & Maccallum, R.C. (2007). Birth order has no effect on intelligence: A reply and extension of previous findings. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 33 (9), 1195 1200. Wicker, B., Keysers, C., Pla illy, J., Royet, J.P., Gallese, V., & Rizzolatti, G. (2003). Both of us disgusted my insula: The common neural basis of seeing and feeling disgust. Neuron, 40 (3), 655 664. Waters, E., Merrick, S., Treboux, D., Crowell, J., & Albersheim, L. (2000). Attach ment security in infancy and early adulthood: A twenty year longitudinal study. Child Development, 71 684 689. Wilson, Edward O. (1975). Sociobiology: The New Synthesis. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. Zahn Waxler, C., Radke Yarrow, M., & King, R. (1979). Child rearing and children's prosocial initiations toward victims of distress. Child Development, 61 (4), 1067 1080. Zajonc, R.B. (1976). Family configuration and intelligence. Science, 192, 4236, 227 236.
Birth Order 44 Appendix A Q uestionnaire Measure of Emotional Empathy (QMEE) Please indicate your agreement with the following statements on a scale of 4 (strongly disagree) to 4 (strongly agree). 1.) It makes me sad to see a lonely stranger in a group 2.) People make too much of the feelings and sensitivity of animals. 3.) I often find public displays of affection annoying 4.) I am annoyed by unhappy people who are just sorry for themselves. 5.) I become nervous if others around me seem to be nervous. 6.) I find it silly for people to cry out of happiness 7.) I tend to get emotionally involved with a friend's problems 8.) Sometimes the words of a love song can move me deeply 9.) I tend to lose control when I am bringing bad news to people 10.) The people around me h a ve a great influence o n my moods. 11.) Almost all foreigners I have met seemed cool and unemotional 12.) I would rather be a social worker than work in a job training center 13.) I don't get upset just because a friend is acting upset 14.) I like to watch people open present s. 15.) Lonely people are probably unfriendly. 16.) Seeing people cry upsets me 17.) Some songs make me happy 18.) I really get involved with the feelings of the characters in a novel 19.) I get very angry when I see someone being ill treated 20.) I am able to remain calm even though those around me worry. 21.) When a friend starts to talk about his problems, I try to steer the conversation to something else 22.) Another's laughter is not catching for me 23.) Sometimes at the movies I am amused by the amount of crying and sniffling around me 24.) I am able to make decisions without being influenced by people's feelings 25.) I cannot continue to feel OK if people around me are depressed. 26.) It i s hard for me to see how some things upset people so mu ch 27.) I am very upset when I see an animal in pain. 28.) Becoming involved in books or movies is a little silly 29.) It upsets me to see helpless old people 30.) I become more irritated than sympathetic when I see someone's tears. 31.) I become very i nvolved when I watch a movie 32.) I often find that I can remain cool in spite of the excitement around me 33.) Little children sometimes cry for no apparent reason.
Birth Order 45 Appendix B E xperiences in C lose R elationships R evised (ECR R) Please respond to each statement by indicating the extent to which the statement sounds like you on a scale of 1 (definitely not like me) to 7 (definitely like me). If you do not have a romantic partner, instead substitute "close friend". 1.) I want to get close to my partner, but I keep pulling back. 2.) I am nervous when partners get too close to me. 3.) I try to avoid getting too close to my partner. 4.) I usually discuss my problems and concerns with my partner. 5.) It helps me to turn to my romantic partner in times o f need. 6.) I turn to my partner for many things, including comfort and reassurance. 7.) I worry that romantic partners won't care about me as much as I care for them. 8.) My desire to be very close sometimes scares people away. 9.) I need a lot of reas surance that I am loved by my partner. 10.) I do not often worry about being abandoned. 11.) I find that my partner(s) don't want to get as close as I would like. 12.) I get frustrated if romantic partners are not available when I need them.
Birth Order 46 Ap pendix C F amily S atisfaction S cale (FSS) Please indicate your level of agreement with the following statements regarding your childhood on a scale of 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree). 1.) In their treatment of one another, my family was consist ent and fair. 2.) I would do anything for a member of my family. 3.) I had a good time with my family. 4.) I always felt my parents supported me. 5.) I always knew what I could and couldn't "get away with" at my house. 6.) I was never sure what the ru les were from day to day. 7.) My family was one of the least important aspects of my life. 8.) I would do anything necessary for any member of my family. 9.) There was too much conflict in my family. 10.) I usually felt safe sharing myself with my fami ly. 11.) I was happy with my family just the way it was. 12.) Members of my family treated one another consistently. 13.) There was a great deal about my family that I would have changed if I could. 14.) With my family I could rarely be myself. 15.) I was very unhappy with my family. 16.) I was deeply committed to my family. 17.) I often found myself feeling dissatisfied with my family. 1 8 .) My family always believed in me. 19 .) I found great comfort and satisfaction in my family.
Birth Order 47 Appendix D Interpersonal Perceptions Task ( IPT 15 ) The DVD you are about to see contains 15 brief scenes and lasts about 20 minutes. There is one question on this page for each of the 15 scenes on the DVD. Before each scene, you should read the corresponding multiple choice answer options on this page. These are video clips of real people, not actors. You will be asked to answer questions about the relationships between these people. Please try to answer every question, even if you feel you are merely guessing. It may seem difficult, but most people find this task to be stimulating, challenging, and very enjoyable. Have fun! 1. Who is the child of the two adults? a.) only the little boy b.) only the little girl c.) neither the boy nor the girl is the child of the ad ults 2. What is the relationship between the man and the woman? a.) they are lovers who have been together for about 10 months b.) they are lovers who have been together for about 3 years 3. The two people in the next scene work together. Which person is the other person's boss? a.) the man is the boss b.) the woman is the boss 4. You will see the same woman in two separate scenes. Which is the lie and which is the truth? a.) the first is a lie, the second is the truth b.) the first is the truth, the second is a lie c.) both are lies 5. Who won the game of one on one basketball? a.) the man on the left b.) the man on the right 6. What is the relationship between the man and the woman? a.) they are brother and sister b.) they are friends who have k nown each other for about three months 7. In which scene is the woman talking to her boss? a.) only in the first scene b.) only in the second scene
Birth Order 48 8. Which man won the racquetball game? a.) the man on the left b.) the man on the right 9. Who are the women talking to? a.) both women are talking to strangers b.) both women are talking to friends c.) the first woman is talking to a friend, the second woman is talking to a stranger 10. Which is the lie and which is the truth? a.) the first is a lie, t he second is the truth b.) the first is the truth, the second is a lie c.) they are both lies 11. The two people in the next scene work together. Which person is the other person's boss? a.) the man is the boss b.) the woman is the boss 12. Which man w on the fencing bout? a.) the man on the left b.) the man on the right 13. Who is the woman talking to on the phone? a.) her mother b.) a female friend c.) her boyfriend 14. Which man is the father of the two little boys? a.) the man on the left b.) the man on the right c.) neither man 15. Which is the lie and which is the truth? a.) the first is the lie, the second is the truth b.) the first is the truth, the second is a lie c.) both are lies
Birth Order 49 Appendix E Family Profile Age _______ Please indicate your gender: Male Female Transsexual Other Please indicate your number of biological siblings (i.e. siblings with whom you share two parents): _____________ Please indicate your number of half siblings (i.e. siblings with whom you s hare one parent):_____________ Please indicate your number of step siblings: ____________ Please indicate your number of adopted siblings (or, if you are adopted, siblings who were either born to your parents or also adopted): _____________ What is your si bling status? Select all that apply: ___ I have siblings ___ I am an only child ___ I am a twin ___ I have siblings that are no longer living Please indicate your birth order (for example, an oldest child would enter "1", while the youngest of seven c hildren would enter "7". If you are an only child, please enter "n/a".) _________ What is the age difference, in years, between yourself and the sibling closest to your age? Only children, please enter "n/a". If your only sibling is your twin, please enter "0". ______________ How many people lived with you in your household when you were a child? (This could include parents, siblings, grandparents, cousins, close friends, etc. If this was not a
Birth Order 50 constant number, please indicate the largest number of people living with you at any given time.) __________ In an ideal situation, how many siblings would you prefer to have? __________
Birth Order 51 Appendix F New College of Florida Informed Consent For persons 18 years of age or older who take part in a research study The following information is being presented to help you decide whether or not you want to take part in research study. Please read this carefully. If you do not understand anything, ask the person in charge of the study. Title of study: Birth Order and Int erpersonal Dynamics Person in charge of study: Anna M. Folkers The purpose of this research study is to investigate differences in the family dynamics of New College students. Description You are invited to participate in a research study on family dynami cs. You will be asked to complete 4 brief surveys detailing various parts of your family life and your personality. You will also complete a video based task designed to measure your social perceptiveness. Your participation will take approximately 25 3 0 minutes. Your responses are completely anonymous and will be destroyed when it is permitted by APA guidelines. Benefits of Being a Part of this Research Study By taking part in this research study, you may increase your knowledge and awareness of some p arts of your personality. You may also benefit from increased introspection about your family life. Risks of Being a Part of this Research Study Some of the questions in this study are of a personal nature. There is a small possibility that you may exper ience some emotional disturbance from answering these questions, although they are generally considered to be less probing than a normal conversation that you would have with a friend or roommate. If you feel as though you are in need of emotional counsel ing on a family issue, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800.799.SAFE. Payment for Participation You will receive your choice of a brownie, a piece of candy, or a pen for your participation in this study. Confidentiality of Your Records Your privacy is important. The data obtained from you will be combined with data from others in the publication and will not include your name or any other information that would personally identify you in any way. Surveys will by identified by numbers only, and you will not be asked to write your name any place on the survey. Volunteering to Be Part of this Research Study If you have read this form and have decided to participate in this project, please understand your participation is voluntary and you have the right to withdraw your consent or discontinue participation at any time without penalty or loss of benefits to which you are otherwise entitled You have the right to refuse to answer particular questions. Questions and Contacts
Birth Order 52 If you have any questions about this research study, contact Anna Folkers at email@example.com or (401)569 7861. By signing this form I agree that: I have fully read or have had read and explained to me this informed consent form describing this research project. I have had the opportunity to question one of the persons in charge of this research and have received satisfactory answers. I understand that I am being asked to participate in research. I understand the risks and b enefits, and I freely give my consent to participate in the research project outlined in this form, under the conditions indicated in it. I have been given a copy of this informed consent form, which is mine to keep. _________________________ ____________ ____________ __________ Signature of Participant Printed Name of Participant Date Principal Investigator Statement I have carefully explained to the subject the nature of the above research study. I hereby certify that to the best of my knowledge the subject s igning this consent form understands the nature, demands, risks, and benefits involved in participating in this study. _________________________ _________________________ ___________ Signature of Principal Investigator Printed Name of Investigator Date