Browser Users and Intelligence

July 30, 2011

The financial vice is clamping on many search and content processing companies. I fear that the August attrition rate may be higher than in previous years. In the midst of this seriousness, I spotted a story which I thought was the equivalent of a Colbert Report brief. The article was “Study: Internet Explorer Users Are Dumber.” Did I encounter a smiles moment? Nope.

I think the write up is serious. A study allowed folks to answer some questions. The key finding?

A research firm posted an IQ test on its Web site and then compiled the results from more than 100,000 users. It found that there was no substantial difference between users of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Opera. But Internet Explorer users had IQs below average.

The write up explains the reasons for the “findings” but I was fascinated by the headline. Why single out Internet Explorer users? Why not include other, more fine grained looks at browsers and intelligence. I surmise Kentucky would have been in the lowest quartile for spelling. Real journalists would be off the chart. Engineers from Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo would have occupied a location in vector space in a dimension not visualizable even by Opera users.

Great fun for a hot summer day of content perusal. Now where did I put my computer? What’s a goose with Internet Explorer supposed to do? I know get back in the pond, chagrined and dumb. Whilst paddling I will consider the question: Who came up with this idea?

Stephen E Arnold, July 30, 2011

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