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  (Source: Oxford Press)
Data from over 3 million users helped build picture of local brainpower

San Francisco-based indie edutainment internet software company Lumosity has a bonafide hit, with its cognitive training app.  Consisting of over 40 games, the online portal is supposed to boost your memory and problem solving skills, similar to Nintendo Comp., Ltd.'s (TYO:7974) Brain Age for the Nintendo DS.

With over 3 million users, the site decided to offer up an interesting data mining analysis, determining which cities in America have the "smartest" citizens (as assessed by puzzle solving and memory skills).

It appears that Iowa and Indiana are among the most mentally endowed states.  More specifically, the top 10 cities are:
  1. Ithaca, N.Y.
  2. State College, Penn.
  3. Lafayette-West Lafayette, Ind.
  4. Iowa City, Iowa
  5. Ames, Iowa
  6. Ann Arbor, Mich.
  7. Bloomington, Ind.
  8. Madison, Wisc.
  9. Lawrence, Kans.
  10. Pullman, Wash.
Seattle (90) and San Francisco (114) both scored relatively well.

Washington D.C. (154), Portland (155) and Chicago (188) scored in the middle.

Lumosity
Red = not so smart; Green = smart [click to enlarge] [Image Source: Lumosity]

In the worst category, Texas and North Carolina get hit particularly hard.  The lowest ranking cities include:
  1. Wilson, N.C.
  2. El Paso, Tex.
  3. Talladega-Sylacauga, Alab.
  4. Albany, Geor.
  5. Brownsville-Harlingen, Tex.
  6. Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, Flor.
  7. El Centro, Calif.
  8. Kinston, N.C.
  9. Laredo, Tex.
  10. Lumberton, N.C.
Los Angeles (309) and New York City (382) (which was lumped with Newark/Jersey City) were among the worst scoring large cities.

Lumosity has an interactive map of its results here, and a full white paper on the study here [PDF].

Sources: Lumosity [map], [white paper; PDF]



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RE: Red states are um.. red
By Solandri on 7/3/2013 4:19:56 AM , Rating: 3
When the two biggest population centers in the country don't match the hypothesis, they are not outliers. They're a pretty strong indication the hypothesis is wrong. Remember, the hypothesis is based on people, not cities. So having some remote village of 150 people in Alaska not fit the hypothesis is not too far-fetched, and thus a likely outlier. But having two cities representing 1/25th the entire country's population not fit is statistically nearly impossible.

The data, while interesting, suffers from two statistical problems. (1) It's a self-selected sample, not a random sample. (2) It's arbitrarily grouped by city/county - things that have nothing to do with intellect (or some abstracted measure of it). That makes it susceptible to Simpson's paradox (google it) - arbitrarily grouping data can create trends contradictory to what's really going on.

An example of (1) is that Texas specifically and southern states in general have higher SAT scores for hispanics than the rest of the country. The reason turns out to be that a smaller percentage of hispanics tend to take the SAT in these states, and those that do tend to be the top students. That means the statistic is a measure specific only to hispanic SAT-takers, rather than a measure of hispanic students in general.

An example of (2) is that Red states tend to be net recipients of federal funds, while Blue states tend to be net federal tax contributors. This despite the fact that Republicans on average have higher incomes and thus tend to be tax contributors, while Democrats tend to have lower incomes and thus tend to be government spending recipients. The reason turns out to be the arbitrary grouping of the population into states. Basically, the wealthiest Republicans tend to live in or near urban areas. Those urban areas tend to vote Democrat thus making the state Blue. So the arbitrary grouping into states means tax contributions by individual wealthy Republicans get incorrectly attributed to Democrats simply because they happen to live in a state which votes Democrat.


RE: Red states are um.. red
By JediJeb on 7/3/2013 1:56:49 PM , Rating: 2
This discrepancy is also shown in the fact that the democrats carried most of those large cities yet the last presidential election was just about even on votes cast for each party nation wide.


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