Times (London), March 27, 2006
Britain and France have experienced long periods of conflict and rivalry but now victory in one area can be claimed: Britons are more intelligent than the French.
A new European league of IQ scores has ranked the British in eighth place, well above the French, who were 19th. According to Richard Lynn of the University of Ulster, Britons have an average IQ of 100. The French scored 94. But it is not all good news. Top of the table were the Germans, with an IQ of 107. The British were also beaten by the Netherlands, Poland, Sweden, Italy, Austria and Switzerland.
Professor Lynn, who caused controversy last year by claiming that men were more intelligent than women by about five IQ points on average, said that populations in the colder, more challenging environments of Northern Europe had developed larger brains than those in warmer climates further south. The average brain size in Northern and Central Europe is 1,320cc and in southeast Europe it is 1,312cc. “The early human beings in northerly areas had to survive during cold winters when there were no plant foods and they were forced to hunt big game,” he said. “The main environmental influence on IQ is diet, and people in southeast Europe would have had less of the proteins, minerals and vitamins provided by meat which are essential for brain development.”
He added that differences in intelligence across Britain could be attributed to bright people moving to London over hundreds of years. Adults in England and Wales have an IQ of 100.5, higher than Ireland and Scotland, both with 97. People living in London and the South East average 102. “Once in the capital they have settled and reared children, and these children have inherited their high intelligence and transmitted it to further generations.”
The pattern is repeated in other countries, Professor Lynn claimed. In France, IQ scores in Paris were much higher than those in rural areas.
Professor Lynn has spent three decades analysing thousands of test results to scrutinise the role of evolution in IQ. He has published his findings in a new book. Britons excel in another area of Professor Lynn’s research. He found that university students had, at 109, the second-highest undergraduate IQs in the world, beaten only by their US counterparts on 110.
Professor Lynn ascribes the differences between British and French intelligence levels to the results of military conflict. He described it as “a hitherto unrecognised law of history” that “the side with the higher IQ normally wins, unless they are hugely outnumbered, as Germany was after 1942”.
A “normal” IQ ranges from 85 to 115 but exceptionally gifted people have scores starting at 145.