There was a story going around earlier about a study claiming to have tested the IQs of 100,000 people and matched it to their web browser, the result being “proof” that IE users have an average IQ 20 points lower than the normal average of 100. We didn’t write about it here because it looked too skewed to be trusted and their claim to have tested 100,000 web users seemed ridiculously high (even a huge survey company would have trouble affording the administration of reliable IQ tests from even a fraction of that many presumably paid subjects). It turns out our instincts were right. TheNextWeb reports the publisher of the study, “AptiQuant” in Canada, appears to be a fake organization.
Indeed, it has now emerged that the company in question only registered the domain name on the 14th of July. This isn’t definitive proof in itself, but given the company claims to have been founded in 2005, it’s clear something fishy is going on. And there’s more evidence that the whole operation is bogus too, as the BBC reports today. AptiQuant’s website contains staff images that were copied from a legitimate French business’ website, Central Test, though the names were changed. [TheNextWeb]
It’s a little surprising well-funded mainstream news sites like the BBC reported the original story with so little vetting. If a little survey company claiming to have 100,000 respondents wasn’t enough of a tipoff, somebody should have at least noticed they were claiming a huge percentage of the general population has an IQ far too low to be statistically probable, even with a crappy browser like IE. The IQ they claimed IE6 users have is more than one standard deviation below average and only 10 points higher than those users would need to collect a disability check while watching Two and a Half Men reruns from the group home. As one does.
And now, a .gif representation of how IE bashers responded to hearing this was a hoax: