How do firstborns and secondborns differ?

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Given the widespread use and well-known consequences of achievement goals in different competence-relevant situations, it is important to gain a thorough understanding of how these differences in goal pursuit are formed. Using different analytic approaches, we show that birth order lies at the heart of people’s goal preferences as we consistently found that firstborns have developed a preference for mastery goals (which are based on self-referenced standards of competence), whereas secondborns have developed a preference for performance goals (which are based on other-referenced standards of competence). These findings may help explain why people differently define, experience, and respond to competence-relevant situations, including the workplace, the classroom, and the ball field.

Source: “Born to learn or born to win? Birth order effects on achievement goals” from Journal of Research in Personality

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