A born natural

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Have you chosen a career based on intellectual, cognitive or analytical pursuits rather than arts or the outdoors? If so, you likely were a first-born or only child, new studies suggest.

Blame Mom and Dad, because researchers studying birth order say parents of only children might be more overprotective, discouraging pursuit of outdoor or physical activity for fear of injury. In addition, they may encourage only or first-born children to pursue interests that could lead to a prestigious career like law or medicine.

“As they have more children, parents tend to become more open and relaxed, and that may allow younger children to be more risk-taking,” says study co-author and Ohio State University psychology professor Frederick T.L. Leong. “If the first-born or only child wants to be a poet, that may concern parents. But by the fourth child, parents may not mind as much.”