I missed THIS STORY when DailyKos posted it Sunday afternoon, but better late than never:
A press release was published this morning on Yahoo! News with a provocative headline declaring that an “Intelligence Institute Study shows Fox News viewers have an IQ that is 20 points lower than the U.S. National average.” The article went on to assert that “Americans who watch Fox News have an average IQ of 80.”
The underlying conclusions of this “study” are affirmed by research conducted by a number of reputable organizations including the University of Maryland, NBC/Wall Street Journal, and the Sunlight Foundation. Unfortunately, this study, and the “Intelligence Institute,” appear to be figments of some prankster’s imagination. There is no evidence that the institute exists and the sole source for the Yahoo! item is a press release that contains no verifiable identifying data.
Nevertheless, the perpetrator of this hoax seems to have a solid grasp on the cognitive capacity of Fox News viewers even if no study was conducted to document it. As noted above, plenty of other real studies arrived at the same conclusions.
The allegation that Fox News exploits their audience’s tendency to voraciously consume absurdly spun tales driven by fear has been documented by researchers at the University College London Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience (and yes, that’s real). Conservatives regularly demonstrate their proclivity for barking at the outrageous falsehoods proffered by Fox and other conservative fabulists. Among the university’s findings were that the brains of conservatives are more likely to have an enlarged amygdala which is associated with greater inflexibility, emotion, and fear response. This could account for conservatives having a greater susceptibility to conspiracy models of thinking as evidenced by this collection of right-wing crackpottery.