1. Who is more likely to avoid a confrontation - a man or a woman?

A man. Women generally want to resolve a disagreement and get the relationship back on track. Men think that talking will only make things worse, so they withdraw. They think it's constructive. Women think it's annoying. If you are not convinced, ask one. (Any one.)

2. You have a problem at work and need to be creative. Should you go for a walk, sit in a chair or lie down on a couch?

Lie down on a couch. In one study, volunteers solved puzzles about 10 per cent faster lying down. If you want to persuade your boss, explain that it's probably caused by chemical changes in your brain's locus coeruleus. (Good luck with that.)

3. True or false: 'Our intelligence is fixed at birth'?

False. Our ability to excel at intellectual and creative tasks has more to do with motivation and practice. Even Mozart, who is often thought of as a child genius, didn't produce anything noteworthy until he had been composing for 10 years. It's very unhelpful to think of intelligence as fixed. People who believe they can become smarter, do. Those who don't, don't.

4. True or false: 'The moon affects our behaviour'?

Probably false. A study of 1500 patients admitted to an emergency ward with various forms of trauma showed no connection between accidents or violence and phases of the moon. Even so, more than two thirds of the medical staff were sure there was a connection.

5. Which philosopher warned against laughter?

Plato. He saw feeling superior is a major theme in humour and he felt it was wrong to laugh at others. There are other implications too.

Researchers have shown that put-down jokes can be damaging because such humour intensifies negative stereotypes. (We're going to carry on laughing anyway - all in the best possible taste, of course.)

6. Who would have the most accurate idea of our chances of having an accident on the road this weekend: someone feeling depressed, someone moderately happy, someone very happy?

The depressed person. Ask depressed to estimate the chances of something bad happening such as a road accident or catching a serious disease and they'll be closer to measurable reality.

Everyone else has a very healthy, rose-tinted, slightly less realistic view of the world. Even moderately happy people believe they are safer, more popular, influential and competent than they are by any objective measure. More than half of motorists believe they have above average driving skills. 85 percent of American men believe their social skills are above average. That's not possible.

7. True or false: 'Finding a compromise is the key to successful negotiation'?

False. A compromise usually leaves neither party satisfied. Top level negotiators around the world aim for a true win/win outcome by collaborating to discover each others' needs and meet those needs as closely as possible.

8. Generally speaking, are women or men better able to read the 'atmosphere' in a room?

Women. They are far more skilled at picking up emotional nuances and use a larger vocabularly to describe their own and other people's feelings. Neuroscientists suggest that women are hardwired in the womb with neural pathways that make them more sensitive to the physical cues that reveal other people's emotions - cues as subtle as changes in blinking and breathing.

9. True or false: 'happiness is genetic'?

True - well about 50 per cent of it anyway. Our genes influence our natural range of happiness - what we return to after winning Lotto or dropping our icecream on the footpath. Only about 10 per cent is the result of what happens to us. The remaining 40 per cent is within our control. It's a choice.

10. Rank these creatures for their sense of humour: cats, dogs, fish, reptiles, horses.

Weird question? Professor Richard Wiseman of Britain asked 2,000 pet owners as part of an on-line survey. (He thought it was a weird question too.)

Dogs topped the ranking. 68 per cent of owners thought their dogs had a good sense of humour. Cats next? No, it was fish - a close second. (How many one-liners does your goldfish know?) Cats third, then horses.

Nobody thought reptiles had a sense of humour. That would be ridiculous.

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