Essay topics: The following appeared as part of a letter to the editor of a scientific journal.
"A recent study of eighteen rhesus monkeys provides clues as to the effects of birth order on an individual's levels of stimulation. The study showed that in stimulating situations (such as an encounter with an unfamiliar monkey), firstborn infant monkeys produce up to twice as much of the hormone cortisol, which primes the body for increased activity levels, as do their younger siblings. Firstborn humans also produce relatively high levels of cortisol in stimulating situations (such as the return of a parent after an absence). The study also found that during pregnancy, first-time mother monkeys had higher levels of cortisol than did those who had had several offspring."
Write a response in which you discuss one or more alternative explanations that could rival the proposed explanation and explain how your explanation(s) can plausibly account for the facts presented in the argument.
The author avers that firstborn's have higher level of stimulation as compared to their siblings. To support this aversion author has presented evidence from study conducted over rhesus monkeys. While a good number of assumptions are present in the argument, several other alternative explanations can be provided for the stimulus behavior of children.
To begin with, it has been assumed that rhesus monkeys are very close to human beings, but we can infer from the details in the content that they are not. It is mentioned that on an encounter with an unknown monkey, the eldest child show increment in activity levels, similar behavior is very uncommon in human children. Human child weather eldest or youngest behave different than monkeys in vicinity of strangers. Mostly they tend to be passive and calm.
Moreover, the less calm reactions of rhesus can be explained by the fact that these species might feel protective towards their younger siblings, resulting in anxiety, the firstborns begin to show more activity. This reaction can be useful in daunting those monkey who might have deleterious intentions.
Additionally, the reaction of a human child on return of parent is mostly due to affection they have for the parents, the eldest children have had enjoyed the full attention of parents earlier, thus when the attention of parents get divided among siblings, the firstborns might be feeling left-out thus resulting in high levels of activity. But this reaction is not common among all the children. Younger child might show more excitement as compared to the eldest. As a matter of fact, the firstborns in a family are believed to be more composed than stimulus.
Conclusively, the stereotype view of author can be accounted to predilection of author to commit to his theory that the eldest siblings have larger stimulation as compared to the younger.
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