FACT CHECK: Did A Recent Study Find Evidence That People Who Wear Face Masks ‘Have A Lower IQ’?

Aislinn Murphy | Fact Check Editor

A post shared on Facebook claims a recent study found “conclusive evidence that people that wear masks have a lower IQ.”

Verdict: False

There is no record of such a study. The claim originated on a satirical news website.

Fact Check:

The post claims Dr. Joe Barron of the Dunning-Kruger Institute conducted a study that found “people who subscribe to the notion that masks will protect them have a lower IQ.” The three-month study supposedly consisted of two parts: a test to measure the IQs of participants and a test to measure their basic scientific knowledge, according to the post.

“After an intense three-month study, we have found conclusive evidence that people that wear masks have a lower IQ,” the excerpt of the alleged study says. “This was clearly demonstrated in all of our studies.”

There is, however, no record of such a study with those findings. The Daily Caller didn’t find any media reports about a study finding “conclusive evidence that people that wear masks have a lower IQ.” Searching resources like Google Scholar and PubMed, a repository of biomedical literature from the National Institutes of Health, turned up no matching scientific papers.

The Dunning-Kruger Institute also doesn’t appear to exist, further adding to the post’s dubiousness. (RELATED: Viral Post Claims A COVID-19 Mobile Testing Truck Bears The Symbol Of The Egyptian God Anubis)

The Facebook post lifts word-for-word from an article published by America’s Last Line of Defense, a parody news website that describes itself as part of a network that creates “parody, satire, and tomfoolery.” Barron, a fictional character, often appears in stories on the America’s Last Line of Defense website. Yet, while the article, filed under “Silly Tater Satire,” clearly disclaims the satirical nature of the content, the Facebook post does not, portraying it as real news.

In recent weeks, the Caller has debunked a number of false claims related to face masks, including those about masks causing dangerous levels of carbon dioxide in the blood and masks containing 5G antennas. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends people wear face coverings in public settings, especially where social distancing cannot be maintained, to help curb the spread of the new coronavirus.


Aislinn Murphy

Fact Check Editor
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