1. True or false:'Most people only use about 10 per cent of their brain'?

False. If Einstein really did mean to say that, he was wrong. Modern scanning confirms that there are no unused bits in our brains. Maybe we could use what we have more effectively, but that's a different matter.

2. Do handshakes really reveal our personality?

Yes. Researchers confirm that people with firm handshakes are more likely to be extraverted and express their emotions more openly than those with limp handshakes.

But here's the quirky bit: Firm handshakes also reveal the personality characteristic of openness, but only for women. Openness includes intellectual curiosity.

3. True or false: 'You can't teach an old dog new tricks'?

No. Not if you really mean humans. (You'll have to ask a dog trainer about how well old dogs learn, but one of our team has trained his old cat.) Older people learn just as effectively as younger people, but with some differences. Young people are generally better at picking up entirely new topics. Older people learn best when they can relate new ideas to their experience - and they have more experience to work with.

4. True or false: 'Generally, bullies have low self-esteem'?

False. The low self-esteem explanation is a myth. More often, bullies have a strong narcissistic streak. As one researcher puts it, deep down 'they know they are awesome!'

5. Do all the bacteria in the average human weigh 0.2 grams, 2 grams or 2 kilograms?

Two kilograms. If that seems gross, maybe you're looking at it the wrong way. Most of them are friendly. They help us extract energy and nutrients from our food. The most recent research suggests that they boost our immune systems - though at this stage scientists are not sure how.

6. You want to build a rapport with someone you have just met. Should you offer a cup of coffee or a sandwich?

A cup of coffee. Anything warm will do. Believe it or not, holding a warm object, for just a few seconds can make people feel warmer towards us. They even rate us as more generous and caring than people holding something cold.

7. Is it true that dogs resemble their owners?

Oddly enough, it's no myth, so yes. In a study in 2004, researchers found that people could match photographs of dogs and their owners better than chance. Now the quirky bit: It only worked with purebred dogs - not mutts of mixed parentage.

8. Does an average five year-old know 5,000 words?

Yes, and you can double that figure for their upper limit. Impressive? By 10 years they know 40,000 words.

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