Do Internet Explorer users have the lowest IQs on the Web? [Updated]
[Updated 3:15 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 3, 2011: The study has been discredited as a hoax.
In response to media inquiries, the owner of the study's website acknowledged that he had fabricated the survey as "a joke."]
Don't call Internet Explorer fans dumb -- don't even suggest it.
AptiQuant, the consulting firm behind a new study that appears to insult the intelligence of Microsoft Internet Explorer users, is finding itself engulfed in a whirl of furry.
Internet Explorer loyalists have threatened legal action and have sent hate mail to the company since its study on the smarts of IE devotees was released last week, the Vancouver, Canada-based AptiQuant Psychometric Consulting Co. said in a recent blog post on its website.
The company compiled more than 100,000 IQ tests it conducted and arranged the findings based on what Internet browser the test-takers used. The results "support the hypothesis that the IQ score and the choice of web browser are related," the study said.
Internet Explorer users on average fared worse than aficionados of other browsers such as Mozilla's Firefox, Google's Chrome and Apple's Safari.
"From the test results, it is a clear indication that individuals on the lower side of the IQ scale tend to resist a change/upgrade of their browsers," the study said. "It is common knowledge that Internet Explorer Versions to 6.0 to 8.0 are highly incompatible with modern web standards."
Microsoft declined to comment on the study.
The blowback caused AptiQuant's chief executive to clarify the results.
"I just want to make it clear that the report released by my company did not suggest that if you use IE that means you have a low IQ, but what it really says is that if you have a low IQ then there are high chances that you use Internet Explorer," Leonard Howard said in a company blog post.
But Howard didn't back down in the face of threatened legal action, confidant that the evidence was on his side, according to the blog post.
"A win in a court would only give a stamp of approval and more credibility to our report," he said.
While you shouldn't expect a switch in software to increase your learning ability, just in case you want to emulate the geniuses among us: maybe download Opera, Camino or the Chrome Frame add-on for Internet Explorer. Users of that software scored, on average, highest on the IQ tests, the study said.
And for the record, this reporter used Internet Explorer to access and read the study.
-- Andrew Khouri