AUG 18, 2017 07:11 AM PDT

How do you stack up to everyone else? The science of being average


It's natural to compare ourselves to others. That's why the terms "above average" or "below average" can sometimes be such a boost and other times be a blow. For instance, take a look at some of the following averages and contemplate how seeing where you fit makes you feel.

1. If you read less than 12 books per year, you are below average.
2. If you are a North American male taller than 5'9'' or a female taller than 5'3'', you are above average.
3. If you can type more than 40 words per minute, you are above average.
4. If you don't finish high school and you are from an industrialized nation, you are below average.
5. If you are a woman who can run a mile in less than 7-10 minutes or a man who can bench press more than 135 pounds, you are above average.
6. If you drink less than 3 cups of coffee per day, you are below average.
7. If you have more than one bowel movement today, you are above average.
8. If you're a teen and spend less than 9 hours a day on your phone or some sort of media, you are below average.
9. If you sleep more than 6.8 hours, you are above average.

So, how do those averages make you feel? When thinking about averages it's important to consider the real-life variables that go into the numbers, like how outliers affect an average, or how averages change based on geography or socioeconomic levels. Many times an average doesn't tell the whole story so if you feel like you're not stacking up well when compared to others, or if you feel that you're perhaps stacking up very well and in reality, you're not (a phenomenon called illusory superiority), take a closer look and watch the video to learn more.
About the Author
  • Kathryn is a curious world-traveller interested in the intersection between nature, culture, history, and people. She has worked for environmental education non-profits and is a Spanish/English interpreter.
You May Also Like
NOV 12, 2019
Plants & Animals
NOV 12, 2019
These Are Some of Nature's Brightest Animals
Lots of people are quick to dismiss animal intelligence as inferior to human intelligence, but let the record show that plenty of animals have earned a rep...
NOV 12, 2019
Space & Astronomy
NOV 12, 2019
All About NASA's Upcoming Plan to Explore Europa
Planetary scientists have been in search of potentially habitable worlds for years, and perhaps one of the most promising places we have yet to explore in...
NOV 12, 2019
Space & Astronomy
NOV 12, 2019
Why a Metal Asteroid Tops NASA's Must-Explore List
Innumerable amounts of asteroids exist in the asteroid belt that resides between Mars and Jupiter in orbit around the Sun, but one specimen in particular a...
NOV 12, 2019
Cardiology
NOV 12, 2019
Protein Build-Up Places Heart at Risk
Amyloidosis is a disease caused by protein buildup in the body. These abnormal proteins, called amyloids, are produced in the bone marrow. Multiple types o...
NOV 12, 2019
Plants & Animals
NOV 12, 2019
Chinstrap Penguins Must Protect Their Eggs From Hungry Skuas
Skuas are notorious for snatching the eggs away from penguins for a meal. But as you might come to expect, the victim is never happy to learn that they&rsq...
NOV 12, 2019
Clinical & Molecular DX
NOV 12, 2019
A Revealing Look at Rare Disease Incidence
Being diagnosed with a rare disease can be especially terrifying for patients. After all, many of these diseases have no treatment options. This is because...
Loading Comments...