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What Are the Smartest Countries in the World

What Are the Smartest Countries in the World


Imagine the world is a high school. You’ve got the big, jock countries like
Australia, South Africa, and the USA. You’ve got the self-consciously old-fashioned
intellectuals like Britain and France, and then you’ve got the cool kids everyone wants
to hang out with (yeah, Italy, we’re looking at you). But what about the brainboxes? Who in our analogy are the nerds spending
their spare time in the science labs while the other countries are learning to smooch
and bum smokes? Well, thanks to some slightly dubious science,
we possibly have the answer! Between 2002 and 2006, a joint British-Finnish
study carried out IQ tests in countries all over the world, then ranked each nation by
their average national score. While IQ tests may not be perfect – they
miss intelligence defects even clever people suffer from, like dysrationalia, which is
a fancy way of saying “choosing the simplest answer to avoid having to think too hard”
– and this particular study was controversial for its methodology, it still makes for a
fun comparison. Want to discover which countries are getting
beaten up for their lunch money every morning? Read on. 10. Austria (average IQ: 100) We’re gonna go out on a limb here and suggest
not many of us associate intelligence with wearing lederhosen. But maybe that’s why we’ve all been underestimating
Austria for so long. They’re willing to dress like a person with
their fashion sense surgically removed because they don’t care what we think. They’re too busy using those gigantic sausage-and-beer-fueled
brains of theirs to pay attention to mere mortals like us. Part of Austria’s geniusness (that’s a
word, right?) may be due to its comparative wealth. The CIA World Factbook ranks it the 33rd richest
nation by GDP per capita, which doesn’t sound all that impressive until you realize
the much-larger UK ranks at 40th. Since income and education tend to go hand
in hand, it stands to reason that Austria might have more brains to spare, especially
given its tiny population. Only 8.474 million people call this spectacular
alpine nation home, fewer than Czech Republic, fewer than Cuba, fewer even than London. Historically, the Austrians have put those
big brains of theirs to good use. Their Hapsburg dynasty once ruled most of
Europe. 9. Switzerland (average IQ: 101) A short hop across a near-impenetrable barrier
of frozen mountains from Austria, Switzerland is the place to be if you want cuckoo clocks,
triangular chocolate, guns, or Nazi gold. It’s also home to some of the smartest people
on the planet. Yep, the Swiss apparently value intellectualism
almost as much as they value morally-dubious neutrality, and they have the historical figures
to back up this claim. It was in the capital of Bern that the German-born
Albert Einstein dreamed up his general theory of relativity. So what is it about living in this bracing
mountain environment that turns the Swiss into such geniuses? Well, they’re rich for starters. Seriously, if you were to grab Switzerland
by the ankles, turn it upside down, and shake it vigorously, enough spare change would fall
out to finance at least three globe-straddling empires. The multilingualism of the Swiss may help,
too. At the Federal level, Switzerland gives German,
French, and Italian equal weight, which may be significant as some studies link speaking
multiple languages with increased intelligence. On the other hand, maybe they’re just spending
so much time avoiding fighting wars that they’ve got time to read all those brainy books gathering
dust on other nation’s shelves? 8. Mongolia (average IQ: 101) A great, big expanse of vast steppe in Asia,
Mongolia has desert, mountains, yurts, and almost nothing else. We mean that in all seriousness. Despite being big enough to squash Texas and
California flat and still have room for Montana, it is home to barely 3 million people, most
of whom could spend their whole lives swinging a string of dead cats and never get even remotely
close to hitting anything. One apparent upside of all this space? Intelligence. Lots of intelligence. When you think about it, Mongolia scoring
so highly is kinda unexpected. While breathtaking, their country ain’t
rich. The CIA World Factbook ranks them at 122nd
for GDP per capita, only slightly above Albania. But it seems what little money they have,
they spend wisely. The country ranks surprisingly high on education,
beating out even some European systems. On a perhaps more controversial note, some
“race realists” have suggested Mongolians may just naturally have better visual-spacial
awareness, giving their overall IQ scores an additional boost. Whatever the truth, it seems that one thing
is clear. If you’ve ever had a hankering for sparkling
intellectual discussion in the emptiest landscape you’ll ever see, go to Mongolia. 7. Iceland (average IQ: 101) …annnd we’re back in Europe, this time
in the far, frozen lands of the north, where “banking” is synonymous with “crime”
and summer is just God’s cruel joke breaking up the punishment of winter. Yep, it’s the teeny tiny island nation of
Iceland, a place that was once just a glorified fishing port, became a casino banking mecca,
and now is famous as one of the richest, safest countries on Earth. Evidently, all that safety has combined with
all that enforced time spent indoors escaping the weather to create a nation that seriously
likes to study. What’s amazing about this is that you wouldn’t
have put money on Iceland hitting so high up these rankings a few decades ago. Prior to the 1980s, the very-literally-named
land of ice was a kind of mid-ranking boring outpost of fishermen. The economy exploded in the ’80s, blew up
even larger in the ’90s, and somehow managed to claw out of the devastating financial crash
by turning the entire country into one of the world’s tourist hotspots. See, that’s those clever Icelandic brains
for you, thinking their way out of a pickle that doesn’t involve reckless borrowing
or blowing the national budget on lottery tickets. 6. Italy (average IQ: 102) Oh come on, this isn’t fair! Italy already has class, great looks, a cool
persona, and more sun than most of us will ever see in a lifetime. And now you’re telling us they’ve also
got a world-beating IQ? We don’t wanna moan and say that life isn’t
fair, but clearly life isn’t fair. The cause of high Italian IQs is as mysterious
to us as it is to you. Going on a long Google search mainly turned
up blogs with names like “race realist” and “not politically correct” so we decided
it’d probably be more fun – not to mention informative – for all of us if we just cracked
some light-hearted jokes about pasta and pizza, while secretly wishing we were Italian. Or we could, y’know, point back at Italy’s
long, illustrious past as the seat of the Roman Empire, a multi-nation state that made
staggering scientific and engineering advances at a rate usually reserved for countries in
the grip of the industrial revolution, while also producing art and literature that would
still stand up some 2,000 years later, but where would be the fun in that? 5. Taiwan (average IQ: 104) So, this is a little controversial. We’ve included Taiwan on this list of countries,
while excluding Hong Kong, despite the international community recognizing both as part of China. Well, it’s true that Taipei doesn’t have
a seat at the UN and isn’t included on any other official list of countries. But it’s also completely self-governing,
calls itself separate from China, and functions like a totally independent state, so we’re
including it here. And that’s just as well, because Taiwan’s
average IQ is enough to leave other countries eating its dust. Founded after Chairman Mao’s victorious
forces chased his enemies off the Chinese mainland at the conclusion of the Chinese
civil war, Taiwan today is a prosperous, forward-thinking nation that also just happens to look darn
fine in a picture. You better believe Taipei uses that prosperity
to invest in its young. A 2015 study by the OECD comparing data from
76 studies placed Taiwan’s education at 4th best in the entire world (in case you’re
wondering, the USA came in at a mildly-embarrassing 28th). Gee, it’s almost like an intelligent population
might somehow be linked to investing heavily in your education system. 4. China (average IQ: 105) If any Taiwanese readers were hoping to beat
out their old nemesis in these rankings, we’ve got some bad news. The original study this article was based
on had mainland China just edging out its breakaway state, with an average IQ of 105
compared to Taiwan’s 104. Ouch. Well, thems the breaks, Taipei. At least you guys can comfort yourself at
night with your functioning democratic system. Actually what’s driving China’s high score
is unfortunately hard to say. Beijing is notoriously uncooperative about
divulging actual, useful data relating to a lot of fields, and the OECD education rankings
just miss China entirely. Still, China certainly has its fair share
of very smart people. The Middle Kingdom is competing with and outperforming
the US in key technological sectors, and much of the most interesting cutting edge tech
is now coming with a ‘made in China’ stamp. On the other hand, China is also notorious
for grade inflation and handing out junk degrees from its universities, so we’re not really
sure what this tells us. Except, perhaps, for reinforcing our introductory
point about the IQ study this article is based on being more a guideline than the last word
on the subject. 3. Japan (average IQ: 105) Still in Asia, the next country on our list
is one famous for technology, cuteness, and generally doing so many things in such a weird
way that it fueled basically 90% of early internet memes. Yep, Japan is another world leader in the
being really, ridiculously smart stakes, romping home with an average IQ score of 105. That’s over 100 times the intelligence of
the average person you’ll find dynamite fishing, kids! We’re all familiar with the Japanese stereotypes:
absurdly hard-working, absurdly dedicated to their jobs, and absurdly stressed out by
their high pressure schooling. But, hey, it seems to be working. In that 2015 study we told you about earlier,
the OECD ranked Japan joint 4th with Taiwan for education, where math and science were
concerned. Countries 3rd, 2nd, and 1st were… well. You’ll be finding that out as you keep on
reading. Given their great education system and general
braininess, it’s perhaps no surprise that Japan spent decades at the forefront of technological
change. For a long, long time, everything exciting
and important was coming out of Tokyo. 2. South Korea (average IQ: 106) Did you know South Korea comes 3rd in global
education rankings? Well: surprise! And get used to these references, by the way,
because from here on out, all countries are ones that are going at the education rankings
like gangbusters. The democratic brother of despotic North Korea,
South Korea is a hi-tech paradise, with world-beating internet, widespread use of smartphones, and
all other things that point to an entire industry of clever people doing clever things to collectively
make the world a cleverer place. And all this in a country that manages to
cram more than 51 million people into a place smaller than Iceland (pop: 334,252). Of course, a lot of South Korea’s intelligence
wins likely come from it being a wealthy country with a sterling education system. Not that it was always this way. Back in the dark ages of the mid-20th century,
Pyongyang was actually richer than its southern neighbor by a significant margin. North Korea was blessed with the monetary
backing of the Soviets, and had a huge amount of mineral wealth. South Korea, by contrast, had to transform
itself through sheer brute willpower alone. Even ignoring the IQ scores, we guess it paid
off. 1. Singapore (average IQ:108) When Singapore declared independence from
Malaysia in 1965, it was one of the poorest states in the world. Literacy was at third world levels. Not a desirable start for a country that wanted
to be a world leader in education, attainment, and wealth. Yet, somehow, Singapore managed to pull it
off. From being a tiny island with no natural resources,
its exceptionally long-serving leader Lee Kuan Yew managed to turn his home into a global
powerhouse. In doing so, he raised the education level
of Singaporeans so high that they cruised to an easy first place in these very rankings. According to the OECD, Singapore has the single
greatest education system in the world. The only other territory that hits the same
level on the IQ rankings is Hong Kong, but since that ain’t a country, it doesn’t
get a spot on this list! The city state – one of only three left
in existence – is also home to fantastic infrastructure and cleanliness that is so
strictly enforced you can get publicly caned just for chewing gum. Whether that’s worth it just to live surrounded
by a country of brainboxes is another matter entirely.

100 comments on “What Are the Smartest Countries in the World

  1. As far as IQ, the prevailing Raven's Progressive Matrices (iq tests) use shapes and boxes as the determinant. This explains why Chinese score so highly on them. As children Chinese have to learn at least 2000 little characters (shapes and boxes) to have a vocabulary rich enough to read a newspaper. Being exposed to this as children, they overdevelop this part of their brains. I doubt that that these tests have anything to do with IQ, but have a lot to do with Shapes and Boxes.

  2. Wealth and quality of education have nothing to do with IQ. Intelligence is an immutable, innate characteristic, something that one is born with. While abject poverty and starvation can affect the ultimate IQ of a child in his formative years, once essential human nutritional needs are met to sustain life, wealth and standard of living are irrelevant to IQ, which is genetic and not a function of the relative extravagance of one's food or its gourmet quality. A lot of misinformation put forward in this video, al lot of old wives tales proposed at facts.

  3. The left in America wants us to be like Sweden (ahem .. Bernie). Why didn't Bernie mention Singapore? Because Singapore is not a snowflake paradise, so it's of the left's radar. Why not mention Japan or the ROK? Again, because the left thinks these countries are Fascist. The truth is, the left is delusionally Marxist and they live in their own Land of Oz.

  4. Lol, you seems to suggest all high iq of eastern asia countries are due to educstion….
    Wrong. ….. do more research on this subject.

  5. I've always wondered why Asian countries score higher than European countries (and I believe this to be true), but Europeans have invented circles around Asians for the last thousand years. Asians haven't come up with a truly original idea since gunpowder. I guess IQ doesn't measure inventiveness well. That's one advantage that the west has on the east.

  6. As an American I know first hand a lot of us are stupid but factually we are a very succesfull country which comes with are work ethic but sadly that's dying away

  7. it is kind of basis when speaking of china, china have the one of the world's toughest school system though out preschool to high school, and with the fairest exam system in the world, which is call the (gao kao), which the teacher that make the test will still in a mountain with no any access to outside, including internet or phone, and with army with fire arm escort the exam paper. Chinese put much effort in to their education as much as singapore or north korea.
    China in 1949, the illiteracy rate is less than 20%, and now china have illiteracy rate over 95%.

  8. One correction to your usual very entertaining and well-spoken overviews. They're a lot of fast-paced fun to listen to. Congratulations. Uh, I lied, two corrections. First, the mean IQ of a nation, race, gender, etc., is not the salient measure of intelligence of a nation or race, which is what you tout in this video. The far more salient phenomenon is the DISTRIBUTION of intelligence. And in that regard the white European male sticks out like a sore thumb. As any psychometrician will tell you, the Bell Curve of nonwhites is steeper and narrower, with most of them bunching around their higher middle. Females' Bell Curve is likewise steeper and narrower. By contrast, white males' Bell Curve is uniquely flatter and wider, extending to the far reaches of intelligence at the end, beyond what nonwhites and nonmales reach. I conjecture this graphically explains why white males win all the Nobel prizes and Top medals in mathematics–European Jews included–and why Asians with their higher mean IQ don't win any Nobel prizes for all their education. The piddling few who do win Nobel prizes in a rare moon are in the West partnered with a white male scientist. The Chinese leaders are so humiliated by their people's inability to win Nobel prizes that they now forbid any talk of Nobel prizes on the Internet. I'm not kidding. I'm quoting. As if that isn't bad enough news for the humiliated East Asians, through the last 5,000 years of recorded history East Asians haven't produced a single, solitary man whose intellectual achievements have come close to approximating the achievements of men the intelligence of which is beyond what's required to win mere Nobel prizes and mathematics medals, for example, the unparalleled creative genius of a Newton, Mozart, da Vinci, Michelangelo, Aristotle, Tesla, Galileo, Lavoisier, Shakespeare, Homer, and hundreds of other white European males of equal genius. 5,000 years is long enough for any experiment. So, I think it's safe to say that the intelligence of East Asians, their notorious lack of creativity, is not distributed as greatly among them as it is among European men. This leads to the second correction. You went on about the scientific and technological advancement of East Asian societies. What you didn't divulge is that all that science and technology was and continues to be stolen from the white man. We don't send tens of thousands of our graduate students in mathematics and the sciences and scientific researchers to China to vacuum up all their ideas and inventions, as they do every year to America. Why? Because all the science, technology, and mathematics in China was ours to begin with. The modus operandi of the humiliated Chinese is to beg, borrow, and steal all the white man's ideas and inventions they can get their swarthy paws on, make infinite adaptations to it, and then sell the products made from it back to us. We don't have banks of hackers in America working in some government agency hacking into China's research labs, as the Chinese do our labs. Why? Because all their lab research was ours to begin with. They have nothing to offer us. Okay, a third correction, albeit I make it at the risk of seeming petty. But you said that Einstein developed his General Theory of Relativity in Bern, Switzerland. Actually, he developed his Special Theory while working at the patent office in Bern. His General Theory he worked out in Berlin where he was invited to become a university professor after publishing his Special Theory. And now an interesting Factoid. The great German mathematician Hilbert attended a lecture of Einstein's in 1915 during which he divulged his work on the General Theory, confessing that he had been working on it for 10 years but had run up against a brick wall. Hilbert went home that night and immediately began working on busting through that wall. In two weeks he had solved all the mathematical issues and completed the General Theory prior to Einstein doing so, which Einstein finally succeeded in doing days later. Hilbert graciously allowed Einstein to take bows for it, that it was his theory and he should get the credit. How many academics today would be so generous?

  9. Singapore is basically small China, and so is Taiwan. If we tested only the Chinese Malaysians, Malaysia will also be on the list. Chinese, Korean, Japanese are basically very similar.

  10. Why do you say that because countries are rich they get high i.qs? Rather than the opposite, which nakes more sense, they are rich because the have high iqs. This channel is dumb. 8 000 000 000 people dont live in austria.

  11. I've recently read quite a lot about I.Q. Results based on country and race …Britains average figure was quoted as 100 with Italy European top at 101 ….northern China , Japan and Korea average was 107 and the top average result was a Jewish branch of 110 …..are we saying that these results are diluted by immigration ( hope so ) but l bet you won't say it … Intelligence Is the most important factor but if that intelligence isn't focussed by application it is wasted !!….this is where competition is critical …..the driver is competition ….to be the best , to earn the most , to be successful . And yet in all cities in the UK there is a movement within schools to ban sports competition and not reward winning …it's the taking part that's important , utter bullshite

  12. "IQ and wealth tend to go hand in hand" Yeah right. I guess Kuwaitis are geniuses and Argentinians lost a lot of their IQ after an economic crash. Try again IQ soothe-sayers! You're so scientific!

  13. What's this Race and IQ? You'll get banned for this we can't have this getting out to the mainstream. Ho wait he ignorantly starts to say wealth and speaking many languages might explain the IQ. It's colder climates my friend, it is well known, do some proper research. Colder temporal climates create more survival problems, over many thousands of years it impacts on the IQ that people.

  14. It’s all in your genes intellect was more important to survive in Europe and east Asia than in Africa in Africa only the most athletic people could survive that’s why Africans everywhere excel at sports and why all European countries and their colonies are flourishing since the end of the dark ages same thing for East Asians because you need to be very smart to survive winter

  15. ive been to mongolia
    it was a dump
    i didnt find any smart person there
    big surly drunks , not very friendly
    there are 15 million mongolians
    in china and only 3 million in mongolia

  16. I don't honestly believe that Singapore and Hong Kong are smarter than Japan. Compare the research and technological innovations coming out of both places, and it's not even close. South Korea I could believe as close to Japan, but HK and Singapore? No way.

  17. You seem to imply that high IQ is a consequence of high economic development. It makes more sense to say that a high level of development/revenue/safety is a consequence of a high IQ population. It's called reverse causality. I do understand that it's not as politically correct to say it in the logical way.

  18. Malaysia is actually brain drained by Singapore. A lot of talents go there cause of their much higher currency.

  19. China has a large number of nationalities, some of which are very average, saying that it is not correct to administer politics. However, for the Han nationality alone, many regions can be ranked among the top in the world, with the highest average of 110 or more in Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces.

  20. LoL, Only white and asian countries made the list. Not one South American, African, or Mid-Eastern country. We're shocked!

  21. well European and Asian yep smart ; now why is it no one talks about the 3 people that had a IQ of 200 , there were 3 of us : a 200 me a 210 and a 215 and we all had white skin European Japan/Asian and a Jew ; oh and we are all born in the 1960's ; guess it is all down hill from now on because of the tech and pc

  22. I’m Korean and I can personally attest to the fact that the educational system in Korea is crap. Compared to the U.S. educational system which are the only two that I have experienced. IQ is genetic and has nothing to do with the educational system. Which is why most wealthy Korean parents send their kids to study abroad in the U.S. for example

  23. Mongolia and China are poor (because of communism) but still high-IQ.
    Bahrain, Qatar, UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and Oman are rich (because of fossil fuels) but still low-IQ.
    Median IQ of a nation is mostly a function of evolution, not GNI per capita.

  24. These peoples' high average IQ leads to high GDP and investment in education, not the other way around. Simon is so close to the truth.

  25. No Germany? No Finland? The sources for the IQs this guy is getting is highly dubious. And putting places like Singapore and Taiwan on the list are unfair because both are basically small territories where only the educated and wealthy Chinese can afford to live there so of course the people are gonna have higher IQs. And the IQs of mainland China and Mongolia ate also higher than almost all the IQ studies I've read. China's is usually at 100 (the same as the US and most European countries) while Mongolia's IQ is usually between 95 and 98.

  26. Which country gave the world the agricultural revolution, the industrial revolution, Shakespeare and the internet? Which country gave the world science (Isaac Newton) and penicillin? Which country gave the world the telephone and trains? Which country had the largest empire in history? Which country has a language that every country uses? Which country is the best country in the world?…The answer is ……send on a postcard (Royal mail standard delivery).

  27. China had a high median IQ in the 1980s and 1990s when only a small percentage of the population was college educated.

  28. NOT any where in Africa, Burma, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Latin America (Excluding descendants of Europeans, Chinese, Koreans, and Japanese). The rest of the people enjoy less than average IQ (100). I believe it has a lot to do with diet that consist of fat. Fat is vitally important for brains development, and brains size. Fxing Africans, Southeast Asians, and Latin Americans are NOT SO SMART. ….Thais average IQ = 91. Filipinos = 87… No wonder, both countries are PATHETIC.

  29. Maybe it's okay that he did not consider Germany, France and England. There are so many new "Germans", "English" and "French" from Africa and Arab countries that the calculation would be completely distorted.

  30. Although East Asians have the highest IQ in the world, their traditional education teaches them that they can't be different, otherwise they will be excluded from their peers in companies or schools. So Chinese, Koreans and Japanese, they are always unable to create new inventions.

  31. Give the rest of the Euro Countries, ect enough time they are going to become dumbed-down like England!

  32. Asian Americans’s high score unfortunately was pulled down by others!
    Chinese were for the past +200 years was bullied, threatened, robbed, etc by drug pusher country, thugs, etc. Chinese has to work very hard to become great again. Those countries that suppressed China hated this fact and still try to pull China down! The score is still not settled yet. China will retaliate sooner or later!

  33. Nothing racist but statistics. Obviously, all countries and peoples experience their fair share of ups and downs throughout history. Political correctness aside, this difference in IQ fundamentally explains why most northeastern and eastern cultures (mainland China, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Singapore under Chinese Confucian culture) are now highly prosperous and technologically advanced economies and why western civilisations were and are continuing to be leaders in terms of science, politics, culture, art, design, fashion, education, and technology (e.g. Italy, Spain and other Germanic people such as the British, Germans, Canadians, Americans, Norwegians, Swedish, Australians and Kiwis). In contrast, people in places like the Indian subcontinent, the middle east and North African (despite having created and developed rich civilisations and religious cultures) are more religiously oriented and afterlife-focused and are less able to think critically (e.g. to think outside the box and devote to economic development and scientific advances in this current life). These places also tend to fall into the trap of constant religions, ethnic and sectarian tensions and fightings. Similarly, despite their unbelievable athletic talents, physical strengths and musical aptitudes, ethnic groups in sub-Saharan Africa are least creative, educated, driven and disciplined but are prone to famine, diseases, low life expectancy, and violence (who as a result have contributed least to human scientific, technological, philosophical and sociopolitical developments but have contributed significantly in terms of music and sports).

  34. LOL. Entertaining take on a topic best replied "it is inconclusive" when asked for one's opinion on. (You don't want to lose your job.).

  35. IQ tests are a ridiculous measurement of intelligence, seems to be granted much greater importance than it deserves,specially by racists.
    From a guy who went from 60, 1st IQ test, to 140 (PISA) 4th IQ test.
    Given enough time, everyone not damaged can become a "genius",there is not much to this.

  36. Coincidentally the top 5 smartest countries/economies are within the Sinospere influence and are basically the oriental (Chinese. Japanese and Korean) people.
    Races or genes are the key factors in ones' IQ and performance in SAT.
    And if we include Mongolia, the 6 out top 10 are oriental races.

  37. Believe me, if you are not smarter in mongolia, you could not survive in this harsh environment

  38. The South Koreans not only very smart, and work very very hard, work 100-120 hr a week is normal for them.
    I email one South Korean guy in the middle of 2 a.m. he replied it right away, he wasn't sleeping he still working.
    And I was get up for a glass of water.

  39. my IQ and my wife's IQ is around 135, my daughter is 9 years old and the IQ is 145, she plays GO game very well, my son is 5 years old, but not IQ tested yet, we just feel he is smarter than us, it's possible human race is becoming smarter than their parents. The IQ actually means few thing, lower IQ always brings you more happiness in life. Isn't it?

  40. The basis of the modern world was created along the line that goes from Rome to France into Britain. I call it the Julius Caesar line.

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