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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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4762 clicks; posted to Main » on 14 May 2014 at 6:50 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



86 Comments   (+0 »)
   
View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest
 
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
 
2014-05-14 09:14:24 AM  
but most people get up in the am and pull on their shoes anyway.

I think the writer is a moron.  Writing crud designed to make everyone alienated from each other.  How great is that.  "Hey! Lookit this!  I wrote a throw-away article that'll make everyone look down their noses at everyone else!"

Author wrote it for money, not, out of knowledge or desire to share or improve our collective lot in life.
Author should go sit in a corner until they know better.
 
2014-05-14 09:16:03 AM  
The author of TFA seems to have noticed the "poll" was a self-selecting online survey. So those respondents could very well be smarter than the average person. Only a couple of you farkers pointed it out, and the rest of you should feel dumb.
 
2014-05-14 09:17:31 AM  

Marcintosh: but most people get up in the am and pull on their shoes anyway.

I think the writer is a moron.  Writing crud designed to make everyone alienated from each other.  How great is that.  "Hey! Lookit this!  I wrote a throw-away article that'll make everyone look down their noses at everyone else!"

Author wrote it for money, not, out of knowledge or desire to share or improve our collective lot in life.
Author should go sit in a corner until they know better.


That corner's going to be crowded, what with the National Journal being what it is.
 
2014-05-14 09:27:38 AM  

GrymReeper: TFA fails in the first sentence. I stopped reading.


Yep.  I don't know about the average American, but I'm sure as hell smarter than the author.
 
2014-05-14 09:43:19 AM  
I spend most of my time reading stuff people waaay smarter than me write so I'm typically insecure about my intelligence.

Then I'll have a conversation with a coworker who thinks nothing existed before Christianity or doesn't believe that vodka has calories because "you'd see them".

Being smart enough to know I'm a farking dumbass makes me a genius in these parts.
 
2014-05-14 09:48:54 AM  

enry: I think how smart the average American is. Now think about how half the country is dumber than that.

-Rand Paul


Rand Paul is ripping off George Carlin now?
 
2014-05-14 09:58:42 AM  
 Captain, the most elementary and valuable statement in science, the beginning of wisdom, is, "I do not know"

img4.wikia.nocookie.net
 
2014-05-14 10:06:13 AM  
izquotes.com
 
2014-05-14 10:11:08 AM  

kdawg7736: 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.


Oh come  on. I really am smarter than the average American. But that's not saying much: that's the shame.

By the way, if I tie a cinder block to the end of my penis and chuck it out the 2nd floor window will my IQ get higher?
 
2014-05-14 10:23:38 AM  

The One True TheDavid: kdawg7736: 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.

Oh come  on. I really am smarter than the average American. But that's not saying much: that's the shame.

By the way, if I tie a cinder block to the end of my penis and chuck it out the 2nd floor window will my IQ get higher?


I actually meant the obvious tag thing. Sorry for not sounding clearer.
 
2014-05-14 10:27:25 AM  

Jim_Callahan: 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


Except it is the democrat party that gets the award for most high school educated or less voters.
 
2014-05-14 10:27:49 AM  
These statistics would likely be the same for most countries due to the dunning-kruger effect. However the internet can't get enough America bashing, so we might as well make it sound like it's just a US phenomenon.

Carry on then
 
2014-05-14 10:28:05 AM  

The One True TheDavid: kdawg7736: 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.

Oh come  on. I really am smarter than the average American. But that's not saying much: that's the shame.

By the way, if I tie a cinder block to the end of my penis and chuck it out the 2nd floor window will my IQ get higher?


I don't know. Give it a try and report back your results.
 
2014-05-14 10:41:01 AM  
One of the joys of being stupid is that you don't know that you are stupid.

FTFA: "Of course, a Ph.D. doesn't necessarily measure intelligence, nor does how much money you make."

Oh, this is so true. A PhD in physics requires smart; a PhD in sociology does not. A very successful CEO friend of mine, who has made more money in a month than most of us will make in a lifetime, is one of the dimmest bulbs I've ever met. He got rich because he was just smart enough to hire smart people to build and run his company. This left him a lot of time to hone his biz-speak skills to impress others like him.
 
2014-05-14 10:43:21 AM  
My step dad thinks he's a genius, a true modern renaissance man.

He also thinks Obama has issued more executive orders than every President combined ten times over because an email said so.

/what a moran
 
2014-05-14 10:53:33 AM  

JackieRabbit: PhD in physics requires smart


I don't know about that; I know at least one physics PhD who's a complete idiot when it comes to every other field of knowledge.
 
2014-05-14 11:16:13 AM  
55% think they are better than average?  No more than 49.9% are wrong, and it could be as low as 5% wrong.  That's a lot better than the number of people whose political opinions are wrong. :)
 
2014-05-14 11:43:35 AM  
I used to think that I was just "an Average American." But now I realize that I'm actually one of the smarter ones - and that's just damn scary on so many levels.
 
2014-05-14 11:48:47 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.


Came for this.
 
2014-05-14 11:50:39 AM  
Not guilty, and got the Mensa badge to prove it!
 
2014-05-14 11:59:17 AM  
I smarder den all you.
 
2014-05-14 12:11:39 PM  
Yup, the Chad Kroeger Effect...pretty well-known actually...
 
2014-05-14 12:35:57 PM  
One of the links in the article makes reference to this paper, with the notable figure below:

scienceblogs.com

Basically, part of being incompetent is not knowing you're incompetent.  Also, dumb people tend to hang around dumb people, and smart people tend to hang around smart people.  In all probability you will be close to your own personal experience of "average", likely without any real knowledge of about how your perceived average actually ranks on a more global scale.
 
2014-05-14 12:41:38 PM  

Loaf's Tray: Yup, the Chad Kroeger Effect...pretty well-known actually...


I thought it was Larry Kroger....

/jus' sayin'
 
2014-05-14 01:05:07 PM  
FTA:
The most competent individuals also tend to underestimate their ability, while incompetent people overestimate it.


I see this quite a bit with my math grad professors.  These are some of the most brilliant people on the planet, and they're also the most humble.  I think when you're at that level of intelligence, you're constantly exposed to what you don't know -- whereas the average Fox News viewer is simply spoon-fed the notion that they're always right.
 
2014-05-14 01:07:59 PM  

fredklein: Um, 50% of Americans ARE smarter than average.


No. That's not what average means.

/had to be said, sorry
//I believe that I'm smarter than most, same as everyone else
///hopefully I'm right
 
2014-05-14 02:25:16 PM  

Jim_Callahan: 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


and Fark Americans think they are smarter than everyone.

http://www.ijreview.com/2013/10/87474-yale-professors-surprising-dis co very-tea-party-supporters-scientifically-literate/
 
2014-05-14 03:11:56 PM  

LazyMedia: Marcintosh: but most people get up in the am and pull on their shoes anyway.

I think the writer is a moron.  Writing crud designed to make everyone alienated from each other.  How great is that.  "Hey! Lookit this!  I wrote a throw-away article that'll make everyone look down their noses at everyone else!"

Author wrote it for money, not, out of knowledge or desire to share or improve our collective lot in life.
Author should go sit in a corner until they know better.

That corner's going to be crowded, what with the National Journal being what it is.


it's okay, it's a big tent with lots of room for everyone in lots of corners.
 
2014-05-14 04:14:26 PM  
There's a sure-fire way to determine if somebody is Mensa material or not.  If they spell it "MENSA" in uppercase letters as if it were an acronym, then they're not Mensa material.  "Mensa" is simply the Latin word for "table", similar to "mesa" in Spanish.  It is not an acronym for "Mentally Egregious Nerd Seeking Attention".
 
2014-05-14 04:39:11 PM  

Kinetic King: There's a sure-fire way to determine if somebody is Mensa material or not.  If they spell it "MENSA" in uppercase letters as if it were an acronym, then they're not Mensa material.  "Mensa" is simply the Latin word for "table", similar to "mesa" in Spanish.  It is not an acronym for "Mentally Egregious Nerd Seeking Attention".


I'll thank you not to defame the Making Earth Neat Society of America that way.
 
2014-05-14 06:10:39 PM  
55% of Americans think that they are smarter than the average American

Since in a perfect reality only 50% of Americans would think that, this sounds like a pretty accurate survey, having a margin of error of only 5%.
 
2014-05-14 09:33:35 PM  

rnatalie: [izquotes.com image 850x400]


Came for that. Thanks
 
2014-05-14 10:40:56 PM  
I took a Mensa at-home pre-test one flu-encrusted February night in 1993; they scored it at 137 and invited me to take the $25 proctored test. $25 was a lot of money to me then (and still is) so I didn't: the pre-test was hard enough that I feared wasting a month's heat money on failure, or worse passing and finding myself the dumbest person in the local chapter and the only one who wasn't a math/physics whiz. Keep in mind the neighborhood university was Johns Hopkins, which is packed with geniuses, and that I'm more like Rimbaud than Rain Man. (And a terrible driver as well.)

Seriously: imagine being the dumbest Mensa member, the only one who doesn't like hard Sci Fi and can't even figure sales tax in his head. That would suck worse than being the smartest troll on Fark.
 
2014-05-14 11:29:38 PM  
2.bp.blogspot.com

/done
 
2014-05-14 11:44:32 PM  
fark you guys. I'm smart.
 
2014-05-15 02:12:22 AM  

The One True TheDavid: I took a Mensa at-home pre-test one flu-encrusted February night in 1993; they scored it at 137 and invited me to take the $25 proctored test. $25 was a lot of money to me then (and still is) so I didn't: the pre-test was hard enough that I feared wasting a month's heat money on failure, or worse passing and finding myself the dumbest person in the local chapter and the only one who wasn't a math/physics whiz. Keep in mind the neighborhood university was Johns Hopkins, which is packed with geniuses, and that I'm more like Rimbaud than Rain Man. (And a terrible driver as well.)

Seriously: imagine being the dumbest Mensa member, the only one who doesn't like hard Sci Fi and can't even figure sales tax in his head. That would suck worse than being the smartest troll on Fark.


Actually, Mensa doesn't want one dimensional math geeks.   For example, a very high verbal GRE score by itself will get you in (even if you bomb the math section), but a perfect math score won't.    It is just a social club and they want people who can engage in thoughtful conversation and apparently they have decided that those pure math types are incapable of that.
 
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