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Personality implications of adaption-innovation: V. Birth order as a determinant of cognitive style

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According to Kirton's (2003) theory of cognitive style, adaptors thrive on structure and prefer to use well-established procedures or rules to solve problems, whereas innovators eschew structure and prefer to solve problems in novel ways. In a sample of 168 undergraduate university students, support was found for the hypothesis that adaptors would be primarily firstborn children. This result is explained in terms of (a) the preference of first-time (i.e., inexperienced) parents for "tried and true" approaches to problem solving, and (b) the tendency of firstborns to identify with and readily obey their parents.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 March 2010

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