The BBC did some additional digging on AptiQuant, the group that claimed to have authored the study, and found a couple of red flags: AptiQuant’s website is only a month old, and the thumbnail photos on its “Our Team” page were pulled from the site of a French psychometric testing company called Central Test — with the names changed.
Central Test told Computer Business Review that there was no formal link between its company and AptiQuant, which had also copied text from Central Test’s website.
David Spiegelhalter of Cambridge University’s Statistical Laboratory told the BBC that the results seemed improbable. ZDNet’s Zack Whittaker notes that gathering 100,000 IQ test takers would’ve been an extremely difficult task, and finding meaningful results would’ve taken years.
Why the apparent hoax was invented remains a mystery.
PCWorld wasn’t the only publication that was had. The story ran in major news outlets like CBS News, CNN and the BCC, and on other tech sites like TechCrunch, ZDNet and Mashable. But that doesn’t make it OK. I’m sorry to the Internet Explorer users who were offended by the story — that’s a lot of you, judging by the comments — and I’m fully prepared for the inevitable jokes about my own IQ.
I’m also sorry to Opera users, whose sense of superiority can no longer be bolstered by empirical evidence.
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