Does Internet Explorer Lower Your IQ?

Does Internet Explorer Lower Your IQ?

Category: Browsers

Users of the Internet Explorer Web browser seem to be significantly less intelligent than users of other browsers. That's the conclusion to be drawn from a new report issued by Aptiquant, a "psychometric consultancy" based in Vancouver, British Columbia. So does IE make you stupid, or is there some other explanation? Let's find out...

Internet Explorer Makes You Stupid?

Survey Says: IQ Related to Your Browser Choice

According to a report entitled "Intelligence Quotient (IQ) and Browser Usage" (PDF), users of alternative web browsers such as Firefox and Google Chrome tend to have higher IQ's. I'm sure they didn't mean to imply that merely using Microsoft's Internet Explorer will lower your IQ, so let look into Aptiquant's methodology.

The firm invited Web surfers to take an online IQ test; approximately 100,000 people did. The respondents were grouped by age, and "age-appropriate" IQ tests were given to each group. (Respondents under age 16 were excluded.) The firm then grouped test scores according to the browsers that test-takers used. The results were interesting.

Subjects using any version of Internet Explorer scored significantly lower than others on the IQ test. Users of Internet Explorer 8 did slightly better than users of other versions. There were no significant differences between the IQ scores of Firefox, Google Chrome, and Safari users. They all scored higher, on average, than Internet Explorer users. Users of Opera, Camino, and a special version of Internet Explorer called IE with Chrome Frame scored highest of all, on average.

In addition, this year's results were compared to an unreleased study of a similar nature conducted in 2006. There has been a significant drop in average IQ among Internet Explorer users since that time, while the average IQ scores of Firefox and Safari users have remained steady. Opera users saw the biggest jump in average IQ during the 5-year period.

The results were sorted again, grouping subjects by IQ percentile. The percentage usage of the top 10 browsers within each percentile was calculated. Again, the results were interesting. The higher subjects ranked in IQ percentile, the less likely they were to use Internet Explorer. Firefox and Chrome were the runaway leaders in the 50th percentile and above. Opera, Camino, and IE with Chrome Frame are virtually unused in the lower 50 percentiles, but see sharp increases in usage among the most intelligent subjects.

What Does the Study Really Show?

Aptiquant concludes: "The study showed a substantial relationship between an individual's cognitive ability and their choice of web browser. 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."

Web developers have long decried Internet Explorer, which does not adhere to international HTML standards. IE's non-standard ways of rendering Web pages costs developers millions of labor hours to ensure that Web pages will display correctly in both IE and non-IE browsers. Users who cling to outdated versions of IE only make the problem worse. This study gives developers "scientific proof" that those infuriating people who insist on using IE are "dumb."

The war to stamp out Internet Explorer is similar to the war on cigarette smoking. Smokers are stupid. They endanger their health, just as IE users are more prone to computer virus infections. Smokers and IE users make life more miserable for the rest of us. There is a social stigma, if not outright prejudice, against Internet Explorer users. And it's gradually working, just as the campaign against smoking is working.

Internet Explorer once claimed more than 90 per cent of the browser market. Today, its lead is down to just over 52 per cent, according to research firm Netmarketshare.

Of course, I could just as easily make the argument that resisting the urge to constantly change or upgrade your software is a GOOD thing, since it requires a significant amount of time to learn the features and quirks of the new program.

So, what do you think... are IE users dumb? Post your comment or question below...

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Posted by on 2 Aug 2011

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Most recent comments on "Does Internet Explorer Lower Your IQ?"

(See all 31 comments for this article.)

Posted by:

03 Aug 2011

Only use IE @ work, corporate won't use anything else. btw they switched from netscape several years ago. Opera has been my browser of choice since I first found it in 1995, began using version 2.0. I've noticed that other browsers follow Opera with the new features, i.e. tabs, speed dial and so on...

Posted by:

Tom Kubitz
03 Aug 2011

Aince I took Bob's advice and disabled unnecessary IE Services, it runs about like the others. But it takes forever to boot up compared to Firefox.
Tom K

Posted by:

03 Aug 2011

I find the title of this post absolutely incorrect. Most payment gateways give first preference to IE. and since most computers come with IE installed, this study is baseless.

Posted by:

03 Aug 2011

I got a good laugh out of this article. So I'm supposed to be "stupid" now because I use IE? NOT!!!!!! I was smart enough to make a 3.75 or higher GPA in college and high school. I use whatever browser I choose, be it Google Chrome, Foxfire or IE.

Those researchers could also say just using the computer makes one stupid. Look at all of the cyber-stalking that goes on with Facebook and Myspace! Also, read some of the comments people leave when responding to an article on Yahoo. I see plenty of stupid there!

Posted by:

abdul Karim
03 Aug 2011

I 4 one dont use IE coz of its error messages on websites, n even slow @ browsing

Posted by:

Lyle Westrom
05 Aug 2011

Thank you so much for the laugh, Bob. I read through most of the comments to see how many dislike IE but thought I'd take a look at the statistics in the "Report". I don't think a lot of the commentators did that. LOL

I only use IE if I'm forced to by some dumb site that will only work with it. But the new versions are much improved and I don't really think that people that want to use them are any less intelligent than those of us who prefer Firefox, Opera, Chrome, etc.

Posted by:

05 Aug 2011

rofl You've been had. Have a gander at

"It was soon discovered that AptiQuant's website had only been set up on 14 July this year, despite the company's claim it had been established in 2006, and that photos and descriptions of its staff on the site had been lifted from a French company. "

The report was a hoax. Them pesky canadians!

Posted by:

05 Aug 2011

I'm sorry to rain on anyone's parade but it appears that the the original Internet Explorer IQ research was a hoax:


Posted by:

Ian Hutchinson
07 Aug 2011

How would they rate a person with an IQ of 169+ who uses whatever browser happens to be on the computer he is using. I use IE, Firefox, Chrome or whatever else is running at the time on any of my 5 computers.
Ian Hutchinson

Posted by:

Dean Karr
23 Aug 2011

I like Internet Explorer because when they do an update, everything still works. I tried Firefox more than once because it was supposed to be safer, but every time they did an update I had to tweak things to get them working again. I've tried Chrome and I like the speed, but since reading the recent NSS Labs report on Browzers vs Malware sites, I'll stick with IE. (IE9 scored 92% effective; IE8 came in 2nd at 90%; Safari5, Chrome10 & Firefox4 tied for 3rd, at 13%! and Opera was even worse!!!)

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