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(National Journal)   Average Americans think they're smarter than the average American   (nationaljournal.com) divider line 86
    More: Interesting, Americans, doctoral degree  
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4709 clicks; posted to Main » on 14 May 2014 at 6:50 AM (17 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



86 Comments   (+0 »)
   
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2014-05-14 01:43:35 AM
They're right.
 
2014-05-14 06:04:11 AM
I think how smart the average American is. Now think about how half the country is dumber than that.

-Rand Paul
 
2014-05-14 06:55:36 AM
What does AverageAmericanGuy think about this?
 
2014-05-14 06:58:06 AM
Anyone who's read a fark thread should know that.
 
2014-05-14 06:58:23 AM
Well, the Tea Party is sort of playing low-end outlier, since they're a good few percent of the population that might be enough to put like 55 to 60% of Americans above the mean by shifting the median a couple relative points to the right.

// Ho, ho, politics jokes
 
2014-05-14 07:00:55 AM
TFA fails in the first sentence. I stopped reading.
 
2014-05-14 07:01:43 AM
It is true that most Americans are knuckle-dragging mouth-breathers.
Don't get too close or the stupid rubs off on you.
 
2014-05-14 07:05:37 AM
Americans are idiots. But then, so is the rest of the populace. On average, we barely have the brain cells to scrape together to tie our own shoes, let alone make decisions for ourselves as they affect our freedom and our survival.

The whole planet is full of morons. Americans are just louder. As always.

Humanity cannot be trusted with its own freedom, it seems.

/Launching the Helicarriers now...
//Zola was right.
 
2014-05-14 07:08:15 AM
img.timeinc.net

Approves.
 
2014-05-14 07:09:09 AM
I'm more worried about those who believe their "gut feeling" trumps actual evidence. Oh, wait, they're the same people!
 
2014-05-14 07:09:24 AM
You really don't want to test the whole country. The results would be depressing.
farm9.staticflickr.com
 
2014-05-14 07:09:25 AM
If they're talking mean average, they very well could be right. If you have a relatively few number of people with extremely low intelligences, but not many that are extremely intelligent then it is possible that there are more people above average intelligence than below. Here's a simplified example. Let's say you have 10 people, 4 of them are extremely unintelligent and on a scale of 0-10 have a zero intelligence. 6 of them are nothing particularly special and have intelligences of 5. You end up with a mean intelligence in the group of 3. Six people are above the mean and 4 below the mean. So you end up with 60% of the group being 'above-average.' Of course, one assumes that intelligence follows some sort of bell curve, but I personally don't know whether it does or not. Does it include people in vegetative states? I assume it has to include those with developmental disorders or mental retardation. Anyway, I'm just saying that without really seeing intelligence distributions, we can't really say if it's arrogance or accurate.
 
2014-05-14 07:11:06 AM
Too dumb average to use the Obvious tag, subby?  America is one of the worst places in the world for the illusory superiority variant of the Dunning-Kruger effect.
 
2014-05-14 07:14:34 AM
I dunno, 55% is pretty close. And I have a college degree, did really well on all the standardized tests, can point out Ubeki-beki-beki-stan-stan on a map, but can't change my oil or literally anything practical, so I'm probably both smarter and dumber than the average American.
 
2014-05-14 07:19:42 AM
everyone has their own niche skill set. I suck at cooking, folding clothes, remembering important dates and conversations about my day lasting more than a minute.
 
2014-05-14 07:20:01 AM
HEY HEY BOO BOO
 
2014-05-14 07:20:39 AM
i711.photobucket.com
 
2014-05-14 07:21:26 AM
Um, 50% of Americans ARE smarter than average.
 
2014-05-14 07:24:49 AM
if you wanna be happy for the rest of your life,
never make a pretty woman your wife
 
2014-05-14 07:25:50 AM
http://www.nationaljournal.com/

*A wholly owned subsidiary of the Romero Institute.
 
2014-05-14 07:27:36 AM
Sgygus: They're right.

This

There are too many people who lack the knowledge, understanding, patience, or interest to be able to navigate the internet to this poll. I would be very curious to the demographics of people who would bother to take time out of their day to do this poll in the first place. I would be willing to bet the majority of them would be High School or College students with too much time on their hands.
 
2014-05-14 07:27:42 AM

vharshyde: Americans are idiots. But then, so is the rest of the populace. On average, we barely have the brain cells to scrape together to tie our own shoes, let alone make decisions for ourselves as they affect our freedom and our survival.

The whole planet is full of morons. Americans are just louder. As always.

Humanity cannot be trusted with its own freedom, it seems.

/Launching the Helicarriers now...
//Zola was right.


Hail Hydra!

/Why does Hydra have a skully-octopus thing for a logo and not a, you know, hydra?
 
2014-05-14 07:31:36 AM
55% of Americans could well be smarter than average (mean), if intelligence doesn't follow a Gaussian distribution.
 
2014-05-14 07:34:41 AM
The average is often higher than the median. Therefore, a person of average intelligence could be smarter than most of the people in the country.
 
2014-05-14 07:35:43 AM
Average is still stupid.
 
2014-05-14 07:36:04 AM
Blah blah blah, Dunning-Kruger effect, blah blah blah.

That and people tend to judge intelligence by measures flattering to themselves. Someone who is good at math will think intelligence can be measured by solving difficult math problems, someone with good interpersonal skills will think the ability to get people to do what they want obviously demonstrates it.  I've noticed that I, someone with a head full of trivia, tend to think people are smart when they can keep up their end in a conversation about 1970's British horror movies or the history of domestication in South America or the importance of the Duhem-Quine problem in Bayesian reasoning. But that's not intelligence, that's just having a brain that can't forget useless but interesting information.
 
2014-05-14 07:52:13 AM

Gunther: Blah blah blah, Dunning-Kruger effect, blah blah blah.

That and people tend to judge intelligence by measures flattering to themselves. Someone who is good at math will think intelligence can be measured by solving difficult math problems, someone with good interpersonal skills will think the ability to get people to do what they want obviously demonstrates it.  I've noticed that I, someone with a head full of trivia, tend to think people are smart when they can keep up their end in a conversation about 1970's British horror movies or the history of domestication in South America or the importance of the Duhem-Quine problem in Bayesian reasoning. But that's not intelligence, that's just having a brain that can't forget useless but interesting information.


THIS, I'm good at maths and the remembering trivia sorts of things. I'm terrible at writing/language type stuff. Im the kind that could sleep through a math or science or history class and still get an A on the test, but would struggle to get a D in English class.
 
2014-05-14 07:59:44 AM
The average American doesn't know how to calculate an average.

/ I don't know if that's true
// I would bet it is
 
2014-05-14 08:00:00 AM

dragonchild: Too dumb average to use the Obvious tag, subby?  America is one of the worst places in the world for the illusory superiority variant of the Dunning-Kruger effect.


I was about to say the same thing. Great minds think alike.
 
2014-05-14 08:00:21 AM

rev. dave: It is true that most Americans are knuckle-dragging mouth-breathers.


I thought we were calling them knuckle-breathers now.
 
2014-05-14 08:06:15 AM
well, just study it out, obviously.
 
2014-05-14 08:06:44 AM

Pants full of macaroni!!: rev. dave: It is true that most Americans are knuckle-dragging mouth-breathers.

I thought we were calling them knuckle-breathers now.


My statement is simple enough that they would know what I am saying.  Yours would only confuse them.
On the same note I have worked with dozens of people I think are smarter than I am.  Most of them were engineers and I knew how difficult the problems they were solving.    That is really how each of us realizes that there is someone much smarter.   I wish I had the capability for higher math, but not so.  In any case knowing your limits and awareness of your talents are signs that  you accept where you are.
 
2014-05-14 08:06:57 AM
So is there any evidence that they aren't correct?
 
2014-05-14 08:09:49 AM
TFA:
"Forget being smarter than a fifth-grader. Most Americans think they're smarter than everyone else in the country.
Fifty-five percent of Americans think that they are smarter than the average American..."


Uh, if I'm asked if I'm smarter than the average, what I'd be answering is not if I'm smarter than everyone, but if I'm smarter than either the mean or the median.

While IQ forms a Bell curve, for many things that statement makes sense depending on if you mean median or mean.

For example, a vast majority of people have an over average number of legs for a human. At least if average means mean.
 
2014-05-14 08:13:41 AM
"As for me, all I know is that I know nothing..."
-- Socrates, Republic, 354b-c (conclusion of book I)
 
2014-05-14 08:21:03 AM
Just like how all Americans are superior drivers compared to the rest.
 
2014-05-14 08:22:08 AM
img.fark.net
 
2014-05-14 08:22:36 AM
Forget being smarter than a fifth-grader. Most Americans think they're smarter than everyone else in the country.
Fifty-five percent of Americans think that they are smarter than the average American


Idiot farking author doesn't even understand what "smarter than the average" means.
 
2014-05-14 08:26:12 AM
Actually, those numbers aren't as far from the truth as I thought it was going to be.  55% said they were smarter than average...not too different from what consider to be "truth".  It isn't unreasonable or even wrong for people with IQs slightly below average to classify themselves as "average", leaving only those with IQs significantly lower than average to self-identify as being stupid.  Nothing to see here.  The second half of her article was just confusing to me.  I think she may have been taking a shot at Americans, but I'm not sure.
 
2014-05-14 08:28:34 AM
Don't be mean. Be median.
 
2014-05-14 08:31:33 AM
As has been mentioned, TFA Author is probably guilty as charged.

It takes like 2 seconds of Googling to find that IQ Scores are intentionally normalized, that "Average" can mean different things, and  Skewness is like, you know, a thing.
 
2014-05-14 08:35:56 AM
If they are, you can blame the media.
 
2014-05-14 08:36:02 AM

Pumpernickel bread: Actually, those numbers aren't as far from the truth as I thought it was going to be.  55% said they were smarter than average...not too different from what consider to be "truth".  It isn't unreasonable or even wrong for people with IQs slightly below average to classify themselves as "average", leaving only those with IQs significantly lower than average to self-identify as being stupid.  Nothing to see here.  The second half of her article was just confusing to me.  I think she may have been taking a shot at Americans, but I'm not sure.


Especially since most of these measures come with confidence intervals.  The result of an intelligence test is an interval, and the interpretation of the result is, "There's a 95% chance your IQ lies between the upper and lower bounds of this interval."  Even SAT scores are reported this way, if you read the detailed version of the report.  (GRE scores apparently aren't, or at least they weren't when I took that one.)

Thus, a lot of people getting scores slightly below average will be able to say that there is a chance (not a really good chance, but a chance nonetheless) that they are really a bit better than their scores.  Of course, there are people scoring above the average (mean = median, for this distribution) who are really below, but both groups will likely give the more favorable report.
 
2014-05-14 08:47:11 AM
This headline is average.All my headlines are above average.
 
2014-05-14 08:52:13 AM
Subby, you're not so smart.  If Subby were as smart as I, you would have used the obvious tag.
 
2014-05-14 08:53:24 AM
You've got to remember that we are just simple people, that we are people of the land, the common clay of the New World.

You know - morons
 
2014-05-14 08:55:50 AM
A very dumb vocal minority that may or may not be taxed enough already makes it easy to believe this.
 
2014-05-14 09:00:21 AM
Hmmm, Farkers can read and remember a password. We ARE smarter than half the population.

I know the IQ measures the things that add up to intelligence, but I wonder if there's a uniform measure of idiocy? You can be a gee-whiz genius, knowing how to find cube roots and be able to recite the works of Shakespeare from memory, but believe the world is 6000 years old and that the ACA is going to kill us all while benefiting from it's reforms.

I ask because I know an extremely farkable woman who can calculate orbital mechanics but is a farking moron seven other ways.
 
2014-05-14 09:01:19 AM
I would never say I'm smarter than the average American, because I really couldn't back up that claim. What really matters is ones will to apply their intellect. Someone can be smarter than hell but still come off as a dumbass.
 
2014-05-14 09:01:57 AM

Private_Citizen: The average is often higher than the median. Therefore, a person of average intelligence could be smarter than most of the people in the country.


But it also means that most Americans are less smart than the average American.

//and that's just sad
 
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