New research says children with siblings develop a different brain structure than only children
Anyone who has grown up with a sibling can attest to that they are often your best friend and also, at times, worst enemy, all rolled up in one.
Siblings are hugely influential on so many aspects of our lives, studies have found, from our health to our monetary success, and now some new research has also revealed that children who grow up with siblings actually have a different brain structure to those growing up as only children.
Yup, brothers and sisters can change your brain.
Following a study of 250 college-aged students, researchers in Southwest University in Chongqin identified significant differences between only children and non-only children in the brain regions associated with imagination, agreeableness and emotional regulation.
In the study, published in Brain Imaging and Behaviour, scientists concluded that the “socialising effects” of having siblings bestows upon most people “the earlier realisation that they are not the centre of the world”.
This is what the researchers had to say:
"Due to the absence of siblings, only children usually miss out on important opportunities to rehearse some of the more complicated aspects of relationships within a safe environment and also miss many opportunities to develop psychosocial skills, emotional support and learning opportunities compared with non-only-children."
The family environment, the researchers argue, plays a hugely important role in the development of individuals behaviour and brain structure.
It's not all bad news for only children, however, with the researchers finding they are often more creative than children growing up in larger families.
The study concluded: "Only children might have more opportunities for independent activity, and independence is strongly related to creative thinking."