The confluence model is a general framework for understanding developmental processes by tracing the mutual influences between the individual and his or her social environment as they unfold over time to shape some characteristic of personality. The term employs a riparian metaphor, referring to the merging of two watercourses, such as the Allegheny and the Monongahela Rivers at Pittsburgh. The essential feature of the confluence model is that “the individual is considered to be a part of his own environment” (Zajonc and Markus 1975, p. 86).
A Birth Order Effect on Intelligence
The confluence model was initially proposed by Zajonc and Markus (1975) as an explanation for a striking pattern in the relationship between birth order, family size (i.e., number of siblings), and intellectual performance observed in a study by Belmont and Marolla (1973). As part of routine testing for the military draft, the Dutch government had administered Raven’s Progressive Matrices, a culture-fair,...
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