Study Finds News Sites Taken In by Internet Explorer (IE) IQ Hoax Have Lower IQs than Other News Sites

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A random, non-scientific survey of Internet Patrol staff members has found that people believe that Internet news sites that were taken in by the recent AptiQuant “study” finding that Internet Explorer (IE) users have a lower IQ than other browsers users, themselves have a lower IQ than other Internet news sites. “Internet Explorer Users Are Kinda Stupid, Study Suggests” exclaimed the PC World article. “Internet Explorer users ‘have below-average IQ’ ” blared The Telegraph. Business Insider and many other sites picked up the story as well.

AptiQuant, a supposed “psychometric consulting” outfit, published the ‘study’ of 100,000 respondents, finding that those who used Internet Explorer (IE) had lower IQs than the others.


“Some people have suggested that there may be other factors at work,” said the Telegraph in their coverage of the ‘study’. “Business Insider’s Matt Rosoff points out that since IE is the default browser for Windows PC users, anyone who doesn’t know how to download and install a new browser will be stuck with it – “which drags down the average”. And users of other browsers “include a disproportionate number of computer geeks”, which might bring their average up. Or, he admits, it might be that “IE users really are kind of dumb.” ”

PC World explained, in their reporting of the story, “Now, you might argue that Internet Explorer’s standing as the most popular Web browser means more IE users took the test, pushing their scores toward the mean. But AptiQuant also provided data from a similar 2006 study showing that Internet Explorer users performed well – back when IE had a bigger share of the market – so that theory may not hold up. It’s also possible, as Business Insider’s Matt Rosoff points out, that computer geeks with high IQs are more likely to use other browsers, but again the 2006 study doesn’t bear that theory out.”

In their defense, the purported study seemed real enough, and plausible enough, with a [Page no longer available – we have linked to the archive.org version instead], entitled “Intelligence Quotient (IQ) and Browser Usage”. Produced by ‘AptiQuant’, which has a full website at AptiQuant.com, and which gives an address of 498 Richards Street Vancouver, BC  V6B 2Z3, a telephone number of 778-242-9002 and an email address of info@aptiquant.com, the study was said to be based on an IQ test in which AptiQuant also noted the browser used by each respondent.

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Despite the elaborate preparations, the owner of the site (and perpetrator of the hoax), who seems to be one Tarandeep Singh Gill, of Surrey, British Columbia, expressed surprise that people fell for it and didn’t figure out that it was a hoax much sooner.

“There is no company called AptiQuant, and no such survey was ever done. We are really surprised that it took so long for people to figure it out, a mere “whois” on the domain could have revealed it all,” writes Gill – at least we think it is Gill, as it is to him that the site AptiQuant is registered.

However, the “whois” information says, merely:

 

Domain Name: aptiquant.com
Registered at http://www.dynadot.com

Registrant:
Tarandeep Singh Gill
3110 – 13827 100 Ave
Surrey, BC V3T 5L2
Canada

Administrative Contact:
Tarandeep Singh Gill
3110 – 13827 100 Ave
Surrey, BC V3T 5L2
Canada
tarangill3@gmail.com
+1 778-242-9002

Technical Contact:
Tarandeep Singh Gill
3110 – 13827 100 Ave
Surrey, BC V3T 5L2
Canada
tarangill3@gmail.com
+1 778-242-9002

Record expires on 2012/07/14 UTC
Record created on 2011/07/14 UTC

Domain servers in listed order:
ns1.dynadot.com
ns2.dynadot.com

>>> Last update of whois database: 2011/08/04 13:55:39 PST < <<

We see nothing suggesting that AptiQuant is a sham company given to creating hoax studies. Perhaps it is the recent registration (a mere 2+ weeks ago) that Mr. Gill thinks gives the game away.

Gill (or not) goes on to explain that “this was all meant to be a lighthearted joke. We did not mean to insult anyone, but if we have hurt anybody’s feelings, we apologize for that. But what’s really funny is that everybody took the report so seriously, with comments like “Oh did we need such a study, we already knew that.”

The explanation goes on to say that “the main purpose behind this hoax was to create awareness about the incompatibilities of IE6 and how it is pulling back innovation. So, if you are still using IE6, please update to a newer browser…. We got this idea when adding some features to our comparison shopping website, www.AtCheap.com, we found out that IE6 was highly incompatible with web standards. IE 7.0 and 8.0, though better than 6.0 are still incompatible with not only with the standards, but with each other too.”

In an interesting P.S., the explanation adds, “PS: Apologies to Central Test for copying their material, we are in the process of removing it ASAP.”

[Ed Note: Our own findings are in good fun; we have no beef at all with PC World, and in fact we are great fans of the Telegraph.]

Here is the original ‘release’ announcing the ‘study’:

Is Internet Explorer For The Dumb? A New Study Suggests Exactly That.

Vancouver, BC. July 28 2011

A Vancouver based Psychometric Consulting company, AptiQuant, has released a report on a trial it conducted to measure the effects of cognitive ability on the choice of web browser. AptiQuant offered free online IQ tests to over a 100,000 people and then plotted the average IQ scores based on the browser on which the test was taken. And the results are really not that surprising. With just a look at the graphs in the report, it comes out pretty clear that Internet Explorer users scored lower than average on the IQ tests. Chrome, Firefox and Safari users had just a teeny bit higher than average IQ scores. And users of Camino, Opera and IE with Chrome Frame had exceptionally higher IQ levels.

Internet Explorer has traditionally been considered a pain in the back for web developers. Any IT company involved in web development will acknowledge the fact that millions of man hours are wasted each year to make otherwise perfectly functional websites work in Internet Explorer, because of its lack of compatibility with web standards. The continuous use of older versions of IE by millions of people around the world has often haunted web developers. This trend not only makes their job tougher, but has also pulled back innovation by at least a decade. But with the results of this study, IT companies worldwide will start to take a new look on the time and money they spend on supporting older browsers.

Microsoft created a conspiracy with Internet Explorer’s shell integration with Windows Explorer, and making its removal complicated, if not impossible. It is usually criticized that this move was made during the last moments of Windows 95 release in a haphazard manner, just to snub the competition from Netscape Navigator. In the following years Microsoft spent millions of dollars on Internet Explorer, with the aim to dominate the browser market. It succeeded to gain a huge share of over 95% for quite a few years. But recently open source browsers like Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome have taken away a large share out of Microsoft’s pie. These browsers are not only better in performance than IE, but offer better compatibility with W3C standards.

This latest report about the intelligence levels of IE users is expected to create a storm. The company behind the study, AptiQuant is a psychometric consulting company, that offers online tools to other companies to better assess their existing/potential employees based on their mental aptitude, skills, motivation and performance. It also has self-serving tools for individuals looking to identify their skills and reach their potential.

The full report can be downloaded at: https://web.archive.org/web/20170128104507/http://www.aptiquant.com/IQ-Browser-AptiQuant-2011.pdf

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