Study: Internet Explorer Users Less Intelligent*

Posted on August 2nd, 2011 Dan

* By “study” I mean publicity stunt.

AptiQuant Psychometric conducted an online study (IQ-Browser-AptiQuant-2011.pdf)  to determine the intelligence of users of various web browsers.  When I saw this article at first on Consumer Affairs about it, I was all, like, duh!

Being a programmer, I know IE is a big piece of garbage, and personally I use Firefox, but after taking a step back from the ego-stroking I was forced to admit there is major bias in this study, the most obvious being the comparison of IE versions 6-9 with newer add-on browsers.  IE6 is 3 years older than version 1 of Firefox and Opera.  IE 6 was released in 2001 and Firefox 1 was released in 2004, as was Opera. Google released Chrome in 2008.

Their conclusion is invalid because they’re over-selecting users for the IE group who don’t/can’t update software (less intelligent people are less capable of updating software).  This doesn’t speak to the choice of browser, it speaks to inability to install and update software.

IE is installed by default with Windows, and other browsers actually require you to do something to install them.  Less intelligent people are less capable of downloading and installing software. A lot of people don’t even know what a browser is so they would have no idea how to install something additional. They will just use the default browser, whatever it is.  How about people using Safari, the default browser on Macs. Are they stupid too?  Perhaps.

I think it goes without saying that surfing the web with IE6 is dangerous and not a very bright idea, due to the amount of malware out there on web servers, but this is not obvious to all people.  No offense if you don’t update your IE.   There’s no need for anyone to call you stupid, because you’ll find out the hard way on your own when your computer stops working.  If you like re-installing Windows over and over, who am I to judge?

To summarize, this is bologna.  If you read the conclusions  it sounds like they are angry at M$ for integrating IE into the Windows Explorer like a brain slug that can’t be removed.  Aptiquant developers seem to have a bone to pick with IE (who doesn’t) but they should re-examine the data and attempt to control for some of these confounders or they’re going to insult a lot of users and not learn anything useful.  Then again, no publicity is bad publicity, right?

You’ll pay the price for it.


45 Responses to “Study: Internet Explorer Users Less Intelligent*”

  1. It’s simple logic. Using IE is stupid, so users of IE are stupid. Goes without saying, but said it anyhow.

    Note, I was a Beta Tester of the first IE way back when (and MSN, too). I was a Bulletin Board System Programer before that, and that was before the public Internet existed. So I was very familiar with bugs and bug hunting as I had done a lot of that in my own software. I found that IE was filled with more bugs than I could imagine possible. How could that be? Weren’t the MS programers professionals? It was amazing though to see that all the bugs I reported got squashed in the first release. Unfortunately, every new upgrade has added in more bugs, expoentually.

    I, too, use Firefox these days. Was using Chrome and liked it, but the latest Firefox is the best browser ever made.