What Does Your Web Browser Say About Your I.Q.? (Hint: I.E. Users Won’t Like the Answer)


See ADDENDUM (8-3-11; 9:13am EDT) below

A study by AptiQuant Psychometric Consulting finds that people who use Internet Explorer as their web browser are, on average, less smart than those who use other browers. As PC Mag reports:


Over a period of around four weeks, the company gave a Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (WAIS) to users looking for free online IQ assessment tests, then recorded the results and browsers used for all participants above the age of 16.

Across the board, the average IQ scores presented for users of Internet Explorer versions 6 through 9 were all lower than the IQ scores recorded for Firefox, Chrome, Safari, Camino, and Opera users.

Furthermore, AptiQuant notes:

In addition, the results were compared to a previous unreleased study of a similar nature undertaken in 2006. The average IQ score of the individuals using the then-current version of IE was significantly higher than the individuals using the current version of IE now, implying that a lot of people with higher IQ are moving away from IE to other browsers.

There is of course much to quarrel with in such a study. Also: remember that IE is a Windows browser, so we are not talking about the Mac universe. As someone who used to use IE, I have to wonder: maybe it isn’t that less-smart people choose IE but that using IE is so frustrating that it robs people of IQ points?

This also reminds me of the research from a few years back about the socioeconomic level of MySpace users versus Facebook users — a finding that gets more and more interesting in retrospect.

(HT: Eric M. Jones)

ADDENDUM: It appears this study may have been a hoax.

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  1. MRB says:

    Unsurprising. People in to computers and software tend to have higher IQ; they’re more likely to look for a browser other than the default.

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  2. James says:

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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  3. Speed says:

    “There is of course much to quarrel with in such a study.”

    So much that I’m surprised to see it noted here.

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  4. SarcastiCarrie says:

    Some people do web browsing from work where there might be IT limits as to what browser you can have on your computer. My work only supports the Windows suite of programs and has administrator privileges locked down so you cannot install/run a different browser.

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  5. James Curran says:

    Also, it should be noted that AptiQuant’s report is properly balanced. It’s the conclusions drawn by others (PCMag really goes off the rails) based on it that’s questionably. (Although enabling people to do that probably was AptiQuant’s covert intention)

    The only real conclusion you can draw from this is
    – Smart people know how to change the defaults
    – Dumb people don’t
    – Really smart people can find really obscure software to install.

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  6. assumo says:

    Maybe it is a matter of accepting the default rather than searching for winning alternatives. This is interesting because all of these products are available for free, so pricing has nothing to do with the outcome. If you had to pay for firefox, but IE was free, these numbers would probably shift in the other direction. So, all economic factors equal, the people who are more capable of assessing the functionality of an internet tool are generally smarter (given that IE is on the trailing edge of web browser development). I’d buy that.

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    • Pete says:

      I agree; this seems like the simplest and most robust answer. I suspect you’d get similar results if you looked any default option vs. some alternative to the default.

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  7. ct says:

    Another huge issue wasn’t taken into account – many, MANY people don’t get to choose their browser!

    I wouldn’t be surprised if many subjects in the study did the IQ tests during work (you know, during little browsing breaks like mine right now :P). And at work, most people have to use IE. I am on IE6 right now, AKA the worst browser ever but not by choice.

    I’m not stupid, but I am forced to use a stupid browser.

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  8. Nosybear says:

    So, could this be the first indication that Bing makes you stoopid?

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