Are Internet Explorer Users Dumb?

A survey by AptiQuant, a Vancouver-based Web consulting company recently raised the question: Are users of other Web browsers smarter than the people who use Microsoft’s Internet Explorer?

AptiQuant gave more than 100,000 participants an IQ test, while monitoring which browser they used to take the test. The result? Internet Explorer users scored lower than average, while Chrome, Firefox and Safari users were slightly above average.

And users of the more obscure Camino and Opera browsers, as well as those using Explorer with Chrome Frame (a plug-in designed to let users view emerging HTML5 content), had what AptiQuaint called “exceptionally higher” IQ levels.

Those numbers, it should be noted, probably aren’t very scientific. The field of test-takers was self-selecting — people who chose, on their own, to take an IQ test instead of a scientifically selected study group. They found the test through Web searches or ads the company placed online.

The report suggests that people using Explorer, the built-in, default browser for Windows-based computers, may be more resistant to change. A similar study in 2006 showed users on the then-current IE browser scored above average.

Internet Explorer is the world’s most popular browser, with about a 43% share, according to StatCounter. Firefox has just under 30%, and Google’s Chrome has 19%, according to a report from May.

Users of Internet Explorer 6, released in 2001, scored the lowest on the tests, at just over 80. Users of Opera, the Norway-based browser, scored the highest at well over 120. (What AptiQuant called its complete results included a bar graph showing the scores, but didn’t appear to have text giving the exact numbers.)

IQ scores have a “population mean” of 100.

If this all smacks of a little good, old-fashioned Microsoft hate, the language the company uses in its report doesn’t do much to downplay that.

“It is common knowledge that Internet Explorer Versions 6.0 to 8.0 are highly incompatible with modern web standards. In order to make websites work properly on these browsers, web developers have to spend a lot of unnecessary effort …,” said the report from AptiQuant, which offers online tools for employers to measure employee, and potential employee, aptitude.

“Now that we have a statistical pattern on the continuous usage of incompatible browsers, better steps can be taken to eradicate this nuisance.”

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