Ah, birth order. For middle children, the bane of their existence. For the eldest child, favoritism. But for the youngest child, it might just mean coddling due to a trick of the brain parents suffer known as the "baby illusion."
Specifically, it seems that parents see their youngest children as physically smaller than they actually are.
University of Melbourne researchers gathered up a group of mothers with children aged 2 to 6 and asked them to estimate their child's height. In comparing the mothers' estimations to their children's actual heights, the Aussie scientists found that the moms were off by an average of three inches.
Those results were later confirmed in an online survey in which 70 percent of respondents said their first child looked much larger after the birth of their second.
Published in this month's Current Biology, the study concludes that the "baby illusion" could be evolutionary beneficial because "exaggerating the smallness of the younger child [...] would help parents to more readily distinguish relative age and importance of care at a perceptual level and allocate resources accordingly."
So what their really saying is, yes, your parents did stop paying as much attention to you after your younger brother came into the world. But, really, that's just because he was so cute they thought he'd die.
You? Not so much.