Do You Have the Brain of a Detective?
By: Zoe Samuel
Estimated Completion Time
Image: PeopleImages / E+ / Getty Images
About This Quiz
Being a good detective isn't just about passing an exam. Being a detective is about latent talent and learned skill. The learned skills of the detective are the easy part, requiring only the discipline to commit to memory all the subtleties of basic crime scene examination, be that "crime scene" an actual crime scene, or be it a marriage where one half of the couple is suspected of cheating. Knowing what stand out details mean and which are important means knowing a lot about how the world of the detective behaves when everything is normal. Then, depending on the detective's specialty, he or she needs to learn the investigative procedures required to separate the clues from the noise and parse out truth.
The other qualities needed to be a detective are more complicated. They consist of a combination of IQ (raw mental processing power) and EQ (emotional sensitivity). It is one thing to know what to do, but quite another to know when it is the time to do it. EQ means noticing when the subject of questioning starts to make self-soothing gestures and being able to triangulate that with the other facts available. It means being able to empathize with people to understand their motives. This quiz will take stock of your skills and abilities, assess your talents and determine if you have the brain of a detective!
You've found a deck of playing cards. The box was opened with the clean stroke of a knife, and the deck is used, but immaculate. What does this tell you about the owner?
They do card magic, but they don't gamble.
They are a meticulous neat freak.
They think the deck is lucky.
They own a knife and a deck of cards.
What does it mean if you are questioning someone, and they suddenly cross their arms during questioning?
They are uncomfortable about the subject of conversation.
They are soothing themselves with a sort of self-hug.
They are trying to make themselves feel stronger.
They are closing themselves off, physically.
How well can you keep your emotions in check when the stakes are high?
It is difficult, but I am capable of doing it.
It depends on the specifics, but I do my best.
I can't say I'll always remain cool, but I'll try.
I can take anything! Just try me! Just try me!
There is a closed laptop on a table. To the right sits a wristwatch. What does this scene tell you about the owner of these objects?
They have an allergy to stainless steel.
They are working on something on the computer so intense, it means they don't want to have to pull up the computer's clock to check the time.
It means they are willing to leave two very valuable objects just laying around.
What do you think it means if someone seems uncomfortable while having a conversation through a doorway?
They are worried about who might be listening.
They feel awkward and want to be a good host.
They are worried about earthquakes.
How well do you recognize the regional aspects of your own accent?
Some of it is clear to me.
Not only can I totally see all the regional details in my accent, I can do any other accent very easily.
How do Bedouin culture and Chinese culture handle tea and guests differently?
If the Bedouins make you tea that is very, very sweet, it's their polite way of saying "Please stay." If the Chinese make you tea that is very, very sweet, it's their way of saying "Please leave."
If you are a guest in China and your cup of tea is not filled to the brim, it's a subtle way of being impolite. To the Bedouins, this is normal.
The Bedouins will serve a guest tea immediately upon their arrival, but the Chinese may not.
Trick question! The Bedouins and the Chinese just like coffee these days!
What is the social significance of the person who pays the bill for a party in a restaurant?
This is the person whose word is viewed as final.
This is the person who others likely depend on for their livelihoods.
This is the oldest person in the group.
This is the sucker who always gets stuck with the bill.
Which of these do you see as the best cue indicating a subject is lying?
Sudden self-soothing behaviors when forced to talk about the subject about which they would lie
They fidget constantly when you ask them direct questions.
They tell you something you know they think is untrue, based on other evidence.
Their eyes move up and to the left.
What is the most likely reason a mobile phone's plug hole is surrounded by scratches?
It means the phone is slightly old, since until USB-C and Lightning connectors, phone cables were asymmetrical and everyone had to fiddle with them to get the plug to fit.
It means that the phone was likely left in an upright position in the owner's pocket, on top of keys.
It can mean anything, and therefore nothing.
It means the owner is a drunk who struggles to plug in their phone every night.
What detail would best indicate to you how recently a man's family immigrated to the USA?
Holdover cultural traditions and turns of phrase
The number of children in the household
The geographic location of the home
Which of these activities is most visibly affected by anger?
Which of these signs points to someone having once been a ballet dancer?
Standing in third position without realizing it
Hair back and up in a bun
Which of these is the best indicator that someone isn't just a Porsche owner, but an enthusiast?
The casual use of the phrase "naturally aspirated" in conversation
A spouse more than 20 years younger
Wearing a Porsche Design Studio wrist watch
How can you tell if someone is trained in the use of swords, and is keeping up with their training, by only looking at their hands?
They will have callouses on their palms below the pinkies and middle fingers.
They will have small scars on the webbing between the index finger and thumb of their left hand.
They will have bulging forearms.
They will have cool tattoos of samurai and ninjas on their hands and arms.
What is the single largest distinguishing feature separating most fountain pen inks from most rollerball inks?
The more permanent the fountain pen ink, the lower its pH.
Fountain pen inks tend to wash away more easily, and can be readily removed from bank checks.
Fountain pen ink will likely be more beautifully applied, as users usually have better penmanship, and choose fountain pens to enhance their writing experience.
What type of plant is deadly if consumed by a cat?
Anything with calcium oxalate, including spinach and tea leaves
How reliable is fingerprinting as a means of criminal detection?
The existence of fingerprints can reliably prove someone touched a thing, but science shows they are not as reliable as we have been led to believe when it comes to positive identification.
Given that there is a set of a little less than 60 fingerprints that can, if all of them are tried, unlock any iPhone that uses fingerprint ID, not all that useful.
Fingerprints may lead to other clues, but cannot be relied upon on their own.
Fingerprints are a totally reliable way of proving who touched what, end of story.
What is the easiest way one could escape handcuffs?
By pressing a wire into the ratchet, through the movable section of the cuff rather than the lock
By hiding a key someplace one's captors will not locate in a strip search
By using a small amount of thermite on the chain, lit with a sprinkling of magnesium metal and a lighter
By using a lockpick set like one would use on any Yale-style lock
What does it mean when someone speaks of something in the passive voice?
It usually means they are avoiding responsibility.
It usually means they feel unworthy to speak up.
It usually means they aren't sure of events.
It means they are an assertive go-getter!
What is the difference between a psychopath and a sociopath?
There isn't one, really. They're just two ways of describing a personality disorder too personal and complex to be so simply categorized.
Sociopaths are better at hiding their depravities.
Psychopaths are amoral, sociopaths are immoral.
Psychopaths favor sharp objects, but sociopaths are my boss.
What is the most important factor in determining guilt?
Eye patches and mustaches you can twirl
What do immaculately shined men's shoes say to you about the owner?
They are not very high status, but aspire to that.
They are likely a supplicant.
They serve a much more powerful person.
They are the boss and can afford to have awesome shoes all the time.
On balance, which of these types of people is least likely to kill someone on purpose?
How important are contracts between friends who go into business with each other?
It's not that important, if the business has no chance of growth.
It is of paramount importance, if they want to remain friends.
It's totally unimportant!
How would you find the address of a total stranger you knew only by name?
Find where they live via Facebook and then do a web search including their location.
I'd find a phone book website and look them up.
Ask around with my friends about who might know them
Put it out into the universe
How facile are you with strangers?
I tend to get people to open up.
I crack people open like an egg, savoring their truths like a fine wine.
I impress them with my awesome brain and they tell me the truth about everything.
How comfortable are you talking about awkward subjects with people you like or feel close to?
It can be painful, but I get through it.
It's never nice, but it's not hard.
It's difficult, but you get through it with practice.
I find it nearly impossible, and I passive-aggressively try to get out of doing it.
How do you react when an authority figure asserts a fact you know is not true?
Say nothing but disregard them
Contradict them, and make my position known
Wait to cross the line until absolutely necessary
What can autocorrect typos tell you about the phone's user?
If they are a criminal fiend!
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