This post has been updated.
A new study by a a Canadian “psychometric consulting” firm found that your Web browser says a lot about your IQ.
AptiQuant conducted the study by giving free online IQ tests to 100,000 people and then examining their scores alongside the Web browser they used to take the test. Internet Explorer users, they found, have the lowest IQs, while Chrome, Firefox and Safari users scored slightly above average, and Camino and Opera users scored very above average.
But just as Internet Explorer users decided they were ready to sue AptiQuant for all the harm it had done, the study was debunked.
Web site Computer Business Review said the study was a marketing stunt, quoting one commenter who said: “What better way to give IE bad press and make people move to another browser than by saying ‘hey you are stupid if you use IE’?”
Web site Silicon Filter pointed out that AptiQuant didn’t exist before this study came out, and that the scores assigned in the study didn’t make sense.
Even if the study is not real, our reaction to it reveals just how anxious we all are about brand identification. It’s kind of like when PC users realized Mac users were cooler and more creative. Now we’re all asking ourselves: What does it mean that I use this browser?
Here’s what it means. The stereotypes are true. Opera users are weird geniuses. Internet Explorers are too old school, and while they may not be dumb, they’re slow to the punch. As for the rest of us, we fall somewhere in between.
But wait a minute. Jared Newman of PC World makes another good point about why the study should not have been taken too seriously:
“They are, after all, comprised only of people who feel compelled to take IQ tests [online].”
UPDATE, 3:27 p.m.
AptiQuant has put up a blog post on their site admitting to the hoax and claiming it was “all meant to be a lighthearted joke.”