1. Is it really true that courtesy is contagious?

Yes. Considering others, especially random acts of kindness is not only contagious, but the givers benefit as well as the receivers. A recent American study revealed that even after a month, employees who received small acts of consideration or kindness were happier than those who didn’t. They were also paying forward. The givers reported being more satisfied with their lives and their jobs. They also reported fewer depressive symptoms.

2. Do people who dodge questions but remain calm in media interviews usually get away with it?

No. Researchers have found that audiences spot dodges easily. Audiences even spot the cunning ‘adapt the question’ dodge. ‘Adapt the question’? Perhaps an example will do. ‘Is it the President’s intention to fire the Attorney General?’ Answer ‘The President’s intention is always to make America great again. Voters chose him for that intention. There’s no doubt about that.’

3. Is it true that learners do best when using their preferred learning style?

Nah. It’s a myth. Many people, including many trainers, believe that we are either, visual, auditory or kinaesthetic learners (who learn best by doing). The evidence and reasoning are against that idea. The task we are learning is the issue, not the learner’s preference. Try explaining to a pre-schooler how to tie shoe laces without giving her a chance to do it. Try teaching a complex technical process by just describing it.

4. A six year-old reverses letters and numbers. What does that suggest? A) Dyslexia B) Dyspepsia C) Neither

Neither. Sure, most people think mirror writing is a sure sign of dyslexia, but that’s normal for children and in adults it’s not confirmation of dyslexia either. Dyslexia means ‘difficulty with words’ – in practice, it means difficulty with processing written words. People with dyslexia often have difficulty recognising words in print or ‘sounding out’ words. Dyslexia has nothing to do with intelligence.

5. What harm could you do by suggesting a colleague is talented or intelligent?

You would be encouraging a fixed mindset – the belief that talent and intelligence are fixed. A fixed mindset encourages people to fear failure, avoid challenges, avoid practice and to give up when things don’t go well. Instead, encourage a growth mindset by praising people for things they can change – like effort, strategies or determination. Would it work for the kids? Absolutely.

6. Parents and teachers promote self-control as a virtue, but is there a downside to self-control?

If there is a downside, researchers involved in six studies involving 5,000 children, graduates and adults up the age of 55 couldn’t find it. Some people have suggested that too much self-control could turn us into anxious perfectionists. It’s not so, say the researchers. They see self-control as a ‘master virtue’ leading to more perseverance and selflessness and greater health and wealth. They make only one concession. Self-control often means giving up short-term pleasures for long-term rewards. Obvious really - and not a biggie.