New research published today suggest there may be a link between UK news consumption and IQ test scores.

The research, conducted by Emeritus Professor Ian Connell of the Francis Anthony Institute of Liverpool, has revealed that people who regularly read tabloid publications such as the Sun, Daily Mirror, Daily Star, and Daily Mail, are much more likely to achieve scores below 100 on official IQ tests.

The study was performed on a group of 150 volunteers from across the United Kingdom. Each subject was administered an IQ test at the start of the study, then made to read the same national newspaper publication every day for a week, after which the IQ test was administered again.

The results showed that readers of ‘tabloid’ papers found their IQ scores dropped dramatically after a week of exposure to these news sources. Researchers also made note of a number of side effects in this group of subjects, such as a greater tendency to wear pyjamas during the day and increased viewing of commercial TV reality shows.

Readers of mainstream ‘quality’ papers such as the Times, the Telegraph, and the Guardian, were found to have no significant statistical change in their IQ scores before and after their exposure to their selected newspaper. In some cases however readers of the Telegraph started raving uncontrollably about ‘climate change conspiracies’ and Guardian readers tended to develop a strong preference for the colour red.

Participants of the study that were made to read the Independent showed a marginal but ‘statistically significant’ increase in IQ test results, as well as a propensity to speak whole sentences in Russian. The researchers however referred to this test group as ‘an anomaly’.

Commenting on the study, Emeritus Professor Ian Connell of the Francis Anthony Institute of Liverpool said that this research “may have exposed some alarming side-effects of the choices made by the public in their consumption of news content.”

Referring to similar research performed by the Delft University of Medical Branches, which revealed a similar effect of lowered IQ scores for readers of the Telegraaf newspaper in the Netherlands, professor Connell added that it was “encouraging to see other researchers take the effects of news consumption on human intellect more seriously.”

“However,” he added, “correlation does not necessarily indicate causation. More research is required.”