Irish placed low on academic's IQ table

Irish people are less intelligent than the British and have lower IQ scores than most European countries, a University of Ulster…

Irish people are less intelligent than the British and have lower IQ scores than most European countries, a University of Ulster academic has claimed.

The average Irish IQ score is 96 compared with 100.5 in England and Wales and 97 in Scotland, according to Prof Richard Lynn, a former Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) psychologist and professor emeritus of the University of Ulster.

His research, conducted over three decades and involving the analysis of thousands of IQ test results, ranks Ireland 17th out of 23 European countries, with a similar IQ to Spain (98), Hungary (98) and Russia (96). The national IQ is 10 points behind Poland and 11 points behind top scorers Germany and the Netherlands. Ireland's poor marks are largely due to more than a century of emigration that has resulted in a "brain drain" of the brightest, Prof Lynn said.

The IQ in Ireland will have been reducing slowly over the last 200 to 300 years with a particular loss of the intelligence after the famine. However, the upturn in Ireland's economic fortunes and the associated immigration may bode well for the IQ of future generations, he said.

"Most of Europe is up around 100 but in Ireland the IQ is just a little bit depressed."

Olivia Kelly

Olivia Kelly

Olivia Kelly is Dublin Editor of The Irish Times

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