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Strangers in a Strange LabHow Personality Shapes Our Initial Encounters with Others$
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William Ickes

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195372953

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195372953.001.0001

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Birth Order

Birth Order

Chapter:
(p.72) 5 Birth Order
Source:
Strangers in a Strange Lab
Author(s):

William Ickes

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195372953.003.0005

This chapter examines how people's birth order (older, younger) in relation to their opposite-sex sibling affects their initial interactions as young adults with members of the opposite sex (that is, in mixed-sex dyads). Contrary to Walter Toman's family constellation theory, the best mixed-sex interactions are not those in which we interact with opposite-sex strangers who allow us to “replicate” the kind of relationship we previously had with our opposite-sex sibling. Instead, consistent with hypotheses proposed by Orville Brim, the best mixed-sex interactions involve participants who grew up with older, opposite-sex siblings (that is, men with older sisters and women with younger brothers).

Keywords:   birth order, opposite-sex siblings, mixed-sex interactions, Orville Brim, Walter Toman, family constellation theory

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