According to a new study, younger siblings are the funniest in the family, or at least they think they are! We've seen lots of studies on birth order and the physical and personality traits often assigned to oldest, middle and youngest children. A new survey conducted by You Gov asked 1,783 British adults to rate their own personality traits, and it seems that the baby of the family definitely thinks they are the funniest of their siblings.
It may also come as no surprise to anyone who has siblings that the oldest child in a family felt the greatest burden of responsibility, with 54% of oldest kids feeling more responsible compared to only 31% of youngest children. Forty-six percent of youngest children felt they were funnier than their siblings, compared to 36% of oldest children.
While many older children may disagree that their younger siblings are the funniest, there are many famous comedians who just happen to be the youngest children. Billy Crystal, Eddie Murphy, Goldie Hawn, Drew Carey, Jim Carrey, Whoopi Goldberg, Steve Martin, Jon Stewart, Ellen DeGeneres, Jennifer Lawrence, and Tina Fey are all the youngest children in their family, and they're all hilarious.
Psychologist Richard Wiseman explained to the BBC why the youngest are often the funniest. "The youngest has to compete for parental attention, so they have to be a bit more unconventional," he explained. "They are risk-takers, and also more humorous. On the other hand, older children tend to take on much more serious roles. And only children don't feel the need to compete for attention."
Because younger children are, well, younger, he stated that they need to behave more unconventionally to get the attention of their parents, often leading them to be more outgoing and often adventurous in their behavior. Dr. Sandra Wheatley, a social psychologist, also spoke to the BBC and echoed that feeling that younger siblings are often considered funnier because they need to be. "It is true that younger siblings tend to be that little bit more mischievous and more extroverted. They have to compete in what is a competitive market-place," she said. "They will, therefore, use a non-threatening, non-confrontational way of getting adults' attention."
Not only do the babies of the family think they're the funniest, 17% of them think they are their parents favorite, 46% of them think they're more easy-going than their older siblings, and 42% felt they were more relaxed. Older siblings are doing OK though, with 38% considering themselves to be more successful than their younger siblings, and 54% claiming they are simply more organized.