Smarter than thou

The average American believes he or she is smarter than the average American, according to a YouGov survey. Fifty-five percent say they’re more intelligent than average, 34 percent say they’re about as smart and only 4 percent believe they’re less intelligent than average Americans.

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  1. GoogleMaster says:

    Commenter Joe Pomykala already said what I would have said.

    A poll on a YouGov internet site omits entire sectors of the population who are unable to get on the site and navigate through the survey in the first place, plus extremely impoverished people in places like Appalachia, rural Alaska, and inner-city Detroit where they’re not likely to be wasting time on government surveys.

    You might as well say that 55% of Boston Marathon runners think they are faster than the average American.

    • It also excludes those far too many who can not read. I imagine the prison population is very underrepresented, along with the homeless – all of which are likely to be be below average.

  2. Michael E. Lopez says:

    And 7% don’t know. Hmmm.

    Now, I’m just riffing here. What follows isn’t scientific or anything — it’s just a little thought experiment. But these results seem to me to be almost EXACTLY what you would expect before you even asked this sort of question.

    Here’s why:

    Around 50% of the people think they’re smarter than average. And while a few of them have to be mistaken, most of them are probably right. Because 49.99% of the people *are* smarter than at least the median, if not the mean of intelligence. You’d expect anyone with even a little edge over the median to be aware of this and to take pride in it. In fact, if you’re familiar with human nature, you’d probably expect those closest to the median to take the most pride in their being above it and to most loudly trumpet their status.

    Also — most people who think they’re slightly or much less intelligent are probably right. (Note that, in keeping with my continuous arguments, this means less than most people think. Intelligence is WAY overrated, and is too often used as a tool for evaluating human worth by many in our society, especially but not exclusively secular humanists with lots of degrees.) At some extreme, it has to become painfully obvious to people when they’re significantly below average.

    Of course, that means that the 34% of people who think that they’re “about the same” are most likely kidding themselves, and they’re actually below the median. But this is also more or less what you’d expect: that those further down the IQ chart to be less able to correctly gauge where they stand in relation to everyone else.

    • Deirdre Mundy says:

      Also “About the same” could simply mean “close to the mean” – so those people could also be accurate since, for instance, the difference between a 99,100, and 101 IQ is really negligible.

      • Miller Smith says:

        Ability Differs. Though true it is roundly rejected by progressives. Thus the public policy that comes from the Lake Wobegon thought process of progressives will always fail as reality always wins.

  3. I don’t see how this is possible, given that per Arne Duncan, we have a Eighty (80) percent high school graduation rate, but according to NAEP, only 26 percent of high school seniors are proficient in Math, and 38 percent are proficient in reading.

    Additionally, the U.S. Armed Forces now reject four (4) out of every five (5) applicants due to academic, moral, medical (usually obesity), or criminal convictions.

  4. Here is a news flash, D.C. Schools spent $29,349 per student, yet 83 percent (more than 4 in 5) aren’t proficient at reading: