IE and IQ

A friend posted the Internet Explorer users ‘have below-average IQ’ story on Google+. On the one hand, I love the idea of bashing IE users as incapable computer users who ought to get off the Internet.┬áBut then my Psychology background screams at this study as generally worthless. The lack of a statistical analysis ought to be another huge red flag.

I generally think an overall WAIS-IV score is mostly meaningless for something like this. IQ is a measure of skills. The typical use of intelligence is capacity instead. The skill set scores of WAIS like Similarities, Block Design, Sequencing, or Coding would at least indicate where are the differences and give better meaning. My favorite part of What is Intelligence? covered which of these are improving and possibly why.

Age is an obvious factor for which they should have controlled. It was even data they collected. The Flynn Effect demonstrates there are IQ changes over time. If the rumors are true that older Internet users are the most likely to use a default web browser, then that could be a very important factor muddling these results. Correcting for age might dramatically change these results.

Location could also be very important. A work computer might be locked down so the user is not taking the test on their preferred browser.

Causal Stupidity

Everything Bad Is Good for You
Image via Wikipedia

I remember as a kid, my parents restricting television and video game use because they would both make me stupid and violent. They worked too hard, so I had plenty unsupervised time to violate the rules. Plus no force would make me do homework.

The past half decade has seen a resurgence of blame on making kids dumber: the Internet. If I were a kid today, then certainly my parents would be trying to limit my time on it. Comics and radio were also accused of making kids dumb during my parents’ and grandparents’ generations.

What I don’t understand is… If we are becoming so dumb from the current media sources, then how is it possible we can invent new technology to make us even dumber? Perhaps Mark Bauerlein and Lee Drutman should read Everything Bad Is Good For You? (a review) Mike Wesch has an engaging video regarding how kids use these technologies called A Vision of Students Today.

These “dumb” kids know something as despite their involvement with media as they still significantly outperform their parents on IQ tests to the degree the grandparents would qualify for the “special class” taking the same tests. These gains are centered in our ability to create better expansive and interconnecting cognitive maps. I suggest What is Intelligence?: Beyond the Flynn Effect for more about this.

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