Do You Have the Brain of a Detective?

Zoe Samuel

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?

What does it mean if you are questioning someone, and they suddenly cross their arms during questioning?

How well can you keep your emotions in check when the stakes are high?

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?

What do you think it means if someone seems uncomfortable while having a conversation through a doorway?

How well do you recognize the regional aspects of your own accent?

How do Bedouin culture and Chinese culture handle tea and guests differently?

What is the social significance of the person who pays the bill for a party in a restaurant?

Which of these do you see as the best cue indicating a subject is lying?

What is the most likely reason a mobile phone's plug hole is surrounded by scratches?

What detail would best indicate to you how recently a man's family immigrated to the USA?

Which of these activities is most visibly affected by anger?

Which of these signs points to someone having once been a ballet dancer?

Which of these is the best indicator that someone isn't just a Porsche owner, but an enthusiast?

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?

What is the single largest distinguishing feature separating most fountain pen inks from most rollerball inks?

What type of plant is deadly if consumed by a cat?

How reliable is fingerprinting as a means of criminal detection?

What is the easiest way one could escape handcuffs?

What does it mean when someone speaks of something in the passive voice?

What is the difference between a psychopath and a sociopath?

What is the most important factor in determining guilt?

What do immaculately shined men's shoes say to you about the owner?

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?

How would you find the address of a total stranger you knew only by name?

How facile are you with strangers?

How comfortable are you talking about awkward subjects with people you like or feel close to?

How do you react when an authority figure asserts a fact you know is not true?

What can autocorrect typos tell you about the phone's user?

About HowStuffWorks Play

How much do you know about dinosaurs? What is an octane rating? And how do you use a proper noun? Lucky for you, HowStuffWorks Play is here to help. Our award-winning website offers reliable, easy-to-understand explanations about how the world works. From fun quizzes that bring joy to your day, to compelling photography and fascinating lists, HowStuffWorks Play offers something for everyone. Sometimes we explain how stuff works, other times, we ask you, but we’re always exploring in the name of fun! Because learning is fun, so stick with us!

Explore More Quizzes