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The U.S. Presidential IQ hoax was a mid-2001 e-mail and internet hoax that purported to provide a list of estimated IQs of the U.S. Presidents from Franklin D. Roosevelt to George W. Bush.[1]

Contents

The hoax

The hoax email showed Bill Clinton having the highest IQ (182) and George W. Bush the lowest (91). However, the numbers claimed in the email were fabricated, and the sociologists and institutions (e.g., the "Lovenstein Institute") quoted in the article do not exist (a "Lovenstein Institute" website displays the "report", but it was created after the report's release).[2] The techniques purportedly used to measure IQ of the presidents are not recognized means of measuring IQs. The hoax also contains other factual errors.[1] When the hoax was debunked, it appeared to be a personal attack on Bush due to its timing and to its listing Bush's IQ as exactly half that of Clinton's.

Reports about the hoax

Perhaps because the perception of George W. Bush having low intelligence is common and had been cited by the media[3] as well as by politicians, including a spokesperson for Tony Blair,[4] the hoax report was widely taken to be true. The British newspaper The Guardian, for example, quoted the report in its diary section of July 19, 2001 and used it to belittle Bush, although the paper published a retraction two days after the Associated Press drew attention to the error.[5][6] Other mainstream media news outlets to fall for the hoax included Bild (Germany), Pravda (Russia), and the Southland Times (New Zealand) as well as a few small U.S. newspapers. The hoax came back to life in March 2007 in Spanish-language media when the Press Agency Efe distributed a piece referring to it. Dozens of media (primarily in their online versions) reproduced Efe's text. Among newspapers publishing the hoax were El País (Spain's leading newspaper),[7] ABC and La Vanguardia.

Origin of the hoax

About.com reports that linkydinky.com was the original source of the spoof.[8] Indeed, linkydinky's page on the hoax calls the report "our hoax".[9] A copy of the spoof in full can be found there.

Real studies

In 2006, a study based on varied and often subjective historical material analyzed with the tools of historiometry was published in the journal Political Psychology. It estimated IQs for all US presidents since 1900. It rated G.W. Bush second to last, with an estimated IQ of 125 (with the estimate ranging from 111 to 139; the standard average for all people is 100). The same study estimated president Bill Clinton's IQ at 149.[10] In an interview, the study's director noted that "Bush may be 'much smarter' than the findings imply" but that he "scores particularly unimpressively for 'openness to experience, a cognitive proclivity that encompasses unusual receptiveness to fantasy, aesthetics, actions, ideas and values.' "[11][12][13]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b "President Bush Has Lowest IQ of all Presidents of past 50 Years". snopes.com. 2004-07-15. http://www.snopes.com/inboxer/hoaxes/presiq.htm. Retrieved 2006-09-11. 
  2. ^ The Lovenstein Institute - Scranton, PA
  3. ^ Baker, Peter (2006-08-20). "Pundits Renounce The President". Washtington Post. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/08/19/AR2006081900568_pf.html. Retrieved 2006-09-11. 
  4. ^ Walters, Simon (2006-08-19). "Blair 'feels betrayed by Bush on Lebanon'". Daily Mail. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/news.html?in_article_id=401414. Retrieved 2006-09-11. 
  5. ^ Matthew Norman (2001-07-19). "Diary". The Guardian. http://www.guardian.co.uk/diary/story/0,3604,523939,00.html. Retrieved 2006-10-23. 
  6. ^ Matthew Norman (2001-08-16). "Diary". The Guardian. http://www.guardian.co.uk/diary/story/0,,537590,00.html. Retrieved 2006-10-23. 
  7. ^ ElPais.com (2007-03-13). "Diary". El País. http://www.elpais.com/articulo/gente/Fe/errores/noticia/coeficiente/intelectual/Bush/elpepugen/20070313elpepuage_1/Tes. Retrieved 2007-03-13. 
  8. ^ "Urban Legends and Folklore: On G.W. Bush's IQ (or Lack Thereof)". About.com. 2001-07-16. http://urbanlegends.about.com/library/bliq-bush.htm. Retrieved 2006-10-23. 
  9. ^ "Report: President Bush Has Lowest IQ of all Presidents of past 50 Years". Linky & Dinky. 2001-10-07. http://www.linkydinky.com/BushIQ.shtml. Retrieved 2006-10-23. 
  10. ^ Dean Keith Simonton (August 2006). "Presidential IQ, Openness, Intellectual Brilliance, and Leadership: Estimates and Correlations for 42 U.S. Chief Executives". Political Psychology 27: 511–526. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9221.2006.00524.x. http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1467-9221.2006.00524.x. Retrieved 2006-09-11. 
  11. ^ Dobson, Roger (2006-09-10). "Bush IQ low on presidential league". Times Online. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2087-2350564,00.html. Retrieved 2006-09-10. 
  12. ^ "Bush gets bad rap on intelligence". St. Cloud Times Online. 2001-01-14. http://www.csbsju.edu/uspp/Election/bush011401.htm. Retrieved 2006-10-09. 
  13. ^ "Who is smarter, Kerry or Bush?". USA Today. 2005-06-10. http://www.usatoday.com/news/opinion/columnist/benedetto/2005-06-10-benedetto_x.htm. Retrieved 2007-04-16. 

External links

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