A study released this past week by AptiQuant, a Vancouver, B.C., “psychometric consulting” company, found that Internet Explorer users, on average, scored lower on IQ tests than users of other browsers did. Users of older versions of Internet Explorer — IE 6 and IE 7 — fared particularly poorly, with average IQ scores in the 80s. At the top of the range were users of Opera, at more than 120.

Of course, the study is getting lots of attention, reinforcing certain stereotypes about computer users. AptiQuant says it gave the free online test to more than 100,000 people, and correlated their IQ scores with the browser they were using. The company explains its process and presents its results in this paper.

Microsoft is pushing people to give up IE6 in favor of newer versions of the browser, so despite the negative connotations about IE users overall, this could conceivably help one of the company’s initiatives. AptiQuant says its ultimate goal is to highlight the problems that older versions of IE create for web developers, compared with newer browsers that comply with the latest web standards.

What’s a little disingenuous is how AptiQuant is playing the situation. In its initial article on the study, on its website, AptiQuant wrote, “This latest report about the intelligence levels of IE users is expected to create a storm.”

But later, in a follow-up article reporting on threatened litigation from unnamed Internet Explorer users, the company says it is “really surprised by the unexpected attention” the study has received.

Shocked! Truly shocked!

Under the circumstances, it also seems appropriate to point out the company’s misuse of the word “faired” in its writeup of the study — saying that subjects using IE8 “faired a little better.” Maybe it’s one of those quirks of the language north of the border. Or maybe they’re secretly using IE6 themselves?

At any rate, I did attempt to contact AptiQuant for more details on this threatened lawsuit, but its online contact form repeatedly responded with an error when I tried to submit my message.

Yes, I happened to be using Internet Explorer. But for the record, the form didn’t work in Opera, either.

Comments

  • Guest

    Measured intelligence is a proxy for education, which in turn is a proxy for wealth.

    Simply stated, those with the free time and the attention to install multiple browsers or purchase Macintoshes are wealthier than those who do not. That IE is used by persons of all income levels does not make its users “dumb.” Thank you, Todd, for debunking this classist nonsense “test.”

    • opera user

       You are wrong, the browser one is using is the browser that he is comfortable in using it to browse the Internet, the purpose of this study was not announced before taking the test and it was only a normal IQ test so who ever took the test will be using the browser that he frequent the web with.
      If you think you are smart and using IE knowing what you are doing then people like you raised the average for ie users. because 90% of ie users that i know doesn’t have IQ more than 60.

      • Guest

        Thank you for confirming my statements about men of wealth perceiving men without wealth as dumb. Except in Europe, where obscenely high tax rates on the rich mean there are no poor, this study indicates social status and not true intelligence.

      • Guest

         “because 90% of ie users that i know doesn’t have IQ more than 60.”

        pot, meet kettle.    

  • http://www.benjaminbernsteinamerican.com Rita Ashley

    The data are tainted. The sample of population is people who volunteered to take an online survey. You do the math.

  • Oxa

    Correlation does not equal causation, therefore there may be many explanations for the findings. Perhaps those with more limited intelligence find IE easier…

  • Huh

    “Maybe it’s one of those quirks of the language north of the border. Or maybe they’re secretly using IE6 themselves?”

    That language north of the border is called English, and last time I checked the Canadian version is a lot closer to the namesake than is American. So maybe you’re the one with the “quirks” ;-)

    And no, using “faired” in that context would not be correct in Canada.

  • Sahrensdorf

    This is one of those studies you can spin any way you like. Intelligent people don’t take free & obscure intelligence tests on the web so the fundamental premise of the study is invalid.

  • Sahrensdorf

    This is one of those studies you can spin any way you like. Intelligent people don’t take free & obscure intelligence tests on the web so the fundamental premise of the study is invalid.

  • Sahrensdorf

    This is one of those studies you can spin any way you like. Intelligent people don’t take free & obscure intelligence tests on the web so the fundamental premise of the study is invalid.

  • Bob

    “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.”

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