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Having A Sister Might Make You Less Competitive

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Your siblings shape your development in all sorts of ways. You play with them, fight with them, learn from them, and probably ask them inane questions your parents are too tired to answer. They’re often the peers you spend the most time with growing up, and being the oldest or the youngest certainly plays a role in finding your place in the family dynamic. Your birth order and your sibling’s gender might also influence your personality. 

For men, having an older sister can decrease the likelihood of being a competitive person, according to a recent study in the journal Personality and Individual Differences by Okayama University economist Hiroko Okudaira. Compared to men who were only children, men who had older sisters (but no older brothers) weren’t as interested in competing for prizes and money in a series of tasks across two studies of Japanese students.

In the first study, 135 Japanese high school students solved mazes in exchange for points that could be traded for prizes. Before the task, they had to select whether they would rather get points according to the number of mazes they solved, or be entered into a tournament against other participants, in which you had to solve more mazes than the rest of the group to get points (a competitive environment). Only 38 percent of men who had an older sister entered the tournament, showing a lower preference for competition than men with no older sisters.

In a follow-up study, 232 university students solved math problems for cash, with the same tournament setup. Only 24 percent of men who had older sisters entered the tournament, compared to 48 percent of the rest of the men. 

The second study is limited by the fact that it studied only university students at Osaka University, a very selective college, thus increasing the likelihood that the participants would already have a preference for competition. However, psychologists have long speculated that having siblings of the opposite sex can affect the gender-stereotypical traits you exhibit, and this provides further evidence for that claim. 

Why would having a sister influence your personality? Having an older sibling of the opposite sex has been shown to decrease the stereotypical gender roles you inhabit. Competitiveness is a stereotypically male trait, influenced by testosterone, so having an older sister may mediate that characteristic in boys. However, women with older brothers were not significantly more competitive in either of the tests. Here, birth order may also play a role, as later-born kids are generally less dominant than their first-born siblings.

Sorry guys, but it seems like your bossy older sis will still be controlling you long after you outgrow childhood spats.

[h/t: BPS Research Digest]

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See If You Can Solve This Tricky Coin-Flipping Riddle
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Make sure your head is in working order before trying to solve this riddle from TED-Ed, because it's a stumper.

Here's the scenario: You're an explorer who's just stumbled upon a trove of valuable coins in a remote dungeon. Each coin has a gold side and a silver side, each with an identical scorpion seal. The wizard who guards the coins agrees to let you have them, but he won't let you leave the room unless you separate the hoard into two piles with an equal number of coins with the silver side facing up in each. You've just counted the total number of silver-side-up coins—20—when the lights go out. In the dark, you have no way of knowing which half of a coin is silver and which half is gold. How do you divide the pile without looking at it?

As TED-Ed explains, the task is fairly easy to complete, no psychic powers required. All you need to do is remove any 20 coins from the pile at random and flip them over. No matter what combination of coins you choose, you will suddenly have a number of silver-side-up coins that's equal to whatever is left in the pile. If every coin you pulled was originally gold-side-up, flipping them would give you 20 more silver-side-up coins. If you chose 13 gold-side-up coins and seven of the silver-side coins, you'd be left with 13 silver coins in the first pile and 13 silver ones in your new stack after flipping it over.

The solution is simple, but the algebra behind it may take a little more effort to comprehend. For the full explanation and a bonus riddle, check out the video from TED-Ed below.

[h/t TED-Ed]

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No One Can Figure Out This Second Grade Math Problem
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Angie Werner got a lot more than she bargained for on January 24, when she sat down to help her 8-year-old daughter, Ayla, with her math homework. As Pop Sugar reports, the confusion began when they got to the following word problem:

“There are 49 dogs signed up to compete in the dog show. There are 36 more small dogs than large dogs signed up to compete. How many small dogs are signed up to compete?”

Many people misread the problem and thought it was a trick question: if there are 36 more small dogs and the question is how many small dogs are competing, then maybe the answer is 36?

Wrong!

Frustrated by the confusing problem, Angie took to a private Facebook group to ask fellow moms to weigh in on the question, which led to even more confusion, including whether medium-sized dogs should somehow be accounted for. (No, they shouldn’t.) Another mom chimed in with an answer that she thought settled the debate:

"Y'all. A mom above figured it out. We were all wrong. If there is a total of 49 dogs and 36 of them are small dogs then there are 13 large dogs. That means 36 small dogs subtracted by 13 large dogs then there are 23 more small dogs than large dogs. 36-13=23. BOOM!!! WOW! Anyone saying there's half and medium dogs tho just no!"

It was a nice try, but incorrect. A few others came up with 42.5 dogs as the answer, with one woman explaining her method as follows: "49-36=13. 13/2=6.5. 36+6.5=42.5. That's how I did it in my head. Is that the right way to do it? Lol I haven't done math like this since I was in school!"

Though commenters understandably took issue with the .5 part of the answer—an 8-year-old is expected to calculate for a half-dog? What kind of dog show is this?—when Ayla’s teacher heard about the growing debate, she chimed in to confirm that 42.5 is indeed the answer, but that the blame in the confusion rested with the school. "The district worded it wrong,” said Angie. “The answer would be 42.5, though, if done at an age appropriate grade."

Want to try another internet-baffling riddle?


Here's the answer.

[h/t: Pop Sugar]

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