Born to learn or born to win? Birth order effects on achievement goals

Bernd Carette, Frederik Anseel, Nico Van Yperen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


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.

► We examine the influence of birth order on achievement goal pursuit. ► Birth order effects are tested both across and within families. ► Firstborns are more mastery oriented compared to secondborns. ► Secondborns are more performance oriented compared to firstborns.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)500-503
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Research in Personality
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2011


Dive into the research topics of 'Born to learn or born to win? Birth order effects on achievement goals'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this