Cutting-Edge Leadership

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What's Your Psychological I.Q.?

15 questions to discover what you really know.

Here are some questions concerning common misconceptions:

1. Schizophrenia is:

  • a. possessing multiple personalities.
  • b. associated with violent outbursts and huge mood swings.
  • c. a breakdown in the relation between thought, emotion, and behavior.

2. Which saying best represents the research on physical attraction and dating?

  • a. Opposites attract.
  • b. Birds of a feather flock together.
  • c. My strengths compensate for your weaknesses (and vice versa).

3. Lie detector tests (polygraphs) are:

  • a. 90% accurate.
  • b. can only be beaten by psychopaths.
  • c. are prone to error, particularly for innocent people who are viewed as guilty.

4. When it comes to our brains:

  • a. everything we experience is stored in it, but we can’t retrieve much of it.
  • b. we only use about 10%; much of the rest of our brain is silent.
  • c. research shows that there are no silent areas of the brain.

5. Hypnotized people are most like:

  • a. people who are asleep.
  • b. people who are awake and alert.
  • c. robots who are unaware of what is going on around them.


True or False?

6. The best way to get rid of anger and aggression is through sports or hitting a punching bag.

7. Human memory works like a video camera, recording everything we experience.

8. The happy worker is the productive worker.

9. The insanity defense is used in less than 1% of criminal trials.

10. Attractive people are believed to be smarter and more successful than unattractive people.


Here are the really tough questions: 

11. A researcher finds a correlation between children’s TV viewing and lowered reading scores. This means that:

  • a. TV viewing is harmful and causes students to be lazy.
  • b. Poor parenting is the likely explanation.
  • c. Less intelligent children are more likely to watch TV than to read.
  • d. The correlation does not allow us to make a causal determination.

12. Young children are often unable to distinguish others' perspectives from their own. According to developmental psychologist Jean Piaget, this is an example of:

  • a. concrete-operational thinking.
  • b. limits to short-term memory.
  • c. poor ego development.
  • d. pervasive egocentrism.

13. A farmworker is paid for every bushel of fruit that is picked. In terms of reinforcement theory, the worker is being paid on:

  • a. an intermittent reinforcement schedule.
  • b. a fixed interval schedule.
  • c. a fixed ratio schedule.
  • d. a variable interval schedule.

14. In a darkened room, a fixed pinpoint of light appears to move. This is called:

  • a. the Purkinje reflex.
  • b. the Ponzo illusion.
  • c. the autokinetic effect.
  • d. the optic motion theory.

15. A lesion in the Broca’s area of the frontal cortex of the brain will likely result in:

  • a. expressive aphasia.
  • b. apraxia.
  • c. alexia.
  • d. visual agnosia.




1. C, 2. B, 3. C, 4. C, 5. B

6. F, 7. F, 8. F, 9. T, 10. T

11. D, 12. D, 13. C, 14. C, 15. A.



  • Less than 8: Time to retake Psychology 101
  • 8-10: Pretty good; you're ready for an upper-level course
  • 11-12: You may be smarter than a freshman psychology major
  • More than 13: You're a genius—of course, we’re not using “genius” in the scientific sense...


Take another psychology quiz here.

Follow me on Twitter!/ronriggio

Ronald E. Riggio, Ph.D., is the Henry R. Kravis Professor of Leadership and Organizational Psychology at Claremont McKenna College.


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