New Study Finds that IE Users are Stupid... Apparently!

Mike Halsey MVP
Jul 30, 2011
Updated • Jan 1, 2013

Yup, it's the summer, that time traditionally called the "silly season" here in the UK so far as the news is concerned.  Now tech blogger Paul Thurrott has found a lovely little gem of a report from a company called AptiQuant Psychometric Consulting into the "Intelligence Quotient (IQ) and Browser Usage" of the public.

The report is "measuring the effects of cognitive ability on the choice of web browser", yup you read that right it's a test of how intelligent you are compared to what web browser you use.

They found that users of Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser have lower IQs than people who use other browsers.  To be honest I'm an IE user myself and I did take all the entrance exams for MENSA (but decided not to join).  Also as the author of "Troubleshooting Windows 7 Inside Out" I prefer not at install dupliware on my own computers, I'll leave you to figure yout why.  However on this occasion I'm actually prepared to believe this study is true... to an extent!

Internet Explorer, being bundled with Windows and coming directly through Windows Update is a browser you don't need to think about getting, if you have updates switched on then eventually it will just happen.  I'm also fully prepared to believe that people who are still using IE6 are dumb, though not necessarily that they have low IQs.

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. This hypothesis can be extended to any software in general, however more research is needed for that, which is a potential future work as an extension to this report.

It's also quite easy to believe that people with higher IQs might be more likely to shop around for a different browser, know where to look and how to download and install it.  What strikes me as completely stunning here is that the highest recorded IQs in the 'study' are people who use Opera.  This particular browser has been slammed in recent years for being full of security holes.  Thus the thought that the people with the highest IQs wouldn't be bothered by this is just ludicrous.

The study was conducted from a sample of just over 100,000 people from the USA, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand who went looking for an IQ test.  Apparently these people were not aware they were part of this browser study.

People commonly use different browsers at work than they do at home, and different browsers again on smartphones and tablet devices.  What the study also completely fails to take into account is that many people use the Internet at work where they have no choice whatsoever on the browser they use.  Because this study didn't ask people whether they were at home or at work the results are therefore meaningless.

AptiQuant say "Our data have important implications" which, apart from being terrible English [it's "has"] simply isn't true given what we know about the study.

It's not all good news for IE bashers though.  The study also found that the most intelligent people were more likely to switch away from Firefox, Safari and Chrome in favour of Opera and a browser called Camino that most people have never even heard of.

I think it can safely be said that this study is "unscientific".  If I were to offer a personal view, I would say that, yes, people with higher IQs are more likely to look for a browser alternative, but that alternative would much more likely be Chrome or IE9.  In short, they'd look for a modern, fast, HTML5 compatible and very secure browser.

So there we have it people, the 65% of computer users, still using Internet Explorer are dumb, and if you really are one of the most intelligent people around you'll switch to either the world's least secure web browser or one that nobody's ever heard of.

In all though, this is a bit of fun for us and something that enables us to point and laugh at some of our friends.  Job's a good'un.


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  1. ilev said on August 4, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    Doesn’t Windows 8 know that www. or http:// are passe ?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on August 4, 2012 at 7:57 pm

      Well it is a bit difficulty to distinguish between domains and files for instance.

    2. Leonidas Burton said on September 4, 2023 at 4:51 am

      I know a service made by google that is similar to Google bookmarks.

  2. VioletMoon said on August 16, 2023 at 5:26 pm

    @Ashwin–Thankful you delighted my comment; who knows how many “gamers” would have disagreed!

  3. Karl said on August 17, 2023 at 10:36 pm


    The comments section under this very article (3 comments) is identical to the comments section found under the following article:

    Not sure what the issue is, but have seen this issue under some other articles recently but did not report it back then.

  4. Anonymous said on August 25, 2023 at 11:44 am

    Omg a badge!!!
    Some tangible reward lmao.

    It sucks that redditors are going to love the fuck out of it too.

  5. Scroogled said on August 25, 2023 at 10:57 pm

    With the cloud, there is no such thing as unlimited storage or privacy. Stop relying on these tech scums. Purchase your own hardware and develop your own solutions.

    1. lollmaoeven said on August 27, 2023 at 6:24 am

      This is a certified reddit cringe moment. Hilarious how the article’s author tries to dress it up like it’s anything more than a png for doing the reddit corporation’s moderation work for free (or for bribes from companies and political groups)

  6. El Duderino said on August 25, 2023 at 11:14 pm

    Almost al unlmited services have a real limit.

    And this comment is written on the dropbox article from August 25, 2023.

  7. John G. said on August 26, 2023 at 1:29 am

    First comment > @ilev said on August 4, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    For the God’s sake, fix the comments soon please! :[

  8. Kalmly said on August 26, 2023 at 4:42 pm

    Yes. Please. Fix the comments.

  9. Kim Schmidt said on September 3, 2023 at 3:42 pm

    With Google Chrome, it’s only been 1,500 for some time now.

    Anyone who wants to force me in such a way into buying something that I can get elsewhere for free will certainly never see a single dime from my side. I don’t even know how stupid their marketing department is to impose these limits on users instead of offering a valuable product to the paying faction. But they don’t. Even if you pay, you get something that is also available for free elsewhere.

    The algorithm has also become less and less savvy in terms of e.g. English/German translations. It used to be that the bot could sort of sense what you were trying to say and put it into different colloquialisms, which was even fun because it was like, “I know what you’re trying to say here, how about…” Now it’s in parts too stupid to translate the simplest sentences correctly, and the suggestions it makes are at times as moronic as those made by Google Translations.

    If this is a deep-learning AI that learns from users’ translations and the phrases they choose most often – which, by the way, is a valuable, moneys worthwhile contribution of every free user to this project: They invest their time and texts, thereby providing the necessary data for the AI to do the thing as nicely as they brag about it in the first place – alas, the more unprofessional users discovered the translator, the worse the language of this deep-learning bot has become, the greater the aggregate of linguistically illiterate users has become, and the worse the language of this deep-learning bot has become, as it now learns the drivel of every Tom, Dick and Harry out there, which is why I now get their Mickey Mouse language as suggestions: the inane language of people who can barely spell the alphabet, it seems.

    And as a thank you for our time and effort in helping them and their AI learn, they’ve lowered the limit from what was once 5,000 to now 1,500…? A big “fuck off” from here for that! Not a brass farthing from me for this attitude and behaviour, not in a hundred years.

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