I don’t normally write much about the social sciences, apart from education. But some of the research results in these sciences are strange and interesting, and it seems a shame to do nothing with them. So I’ve devised a little quiz. I’m going to leave it up here for a week, before posting the answers and where they come from.

I'll also offer a prize to one person who gets all twenty answers correct. This is a copy of The Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook 2007, which has eight hundred pages of contacts and advice on getting started in newspapers, magazines, books, online and broadcast media.

It’s a good book. So good I bought it twice.

Right, here we go:

1. Teenagers take drugs, have unprotected sex and ride with drunk drivers because
a) they feel nothing can hurt them
b) they just don’t think about the risks
c) they assess the risks and decide it’s worth it

2. Low fat foods
a) make it easier to cut down on calories
b) make it harder to cut down on calories
c) have no effect on calorie cutting

3. Loneliness is the price we pay for being social animals. But which age-group tends to feel most lonely?
a) the young
b) the middle-aged
c) the elderly

4. Fear of violence is common nowadays, and ways of avoiding it not always obvious. Which of these makes it less likely you will be attacked?
a) smiling at an aggressor
b) sharing the same star-sign as him
c) shouting at him

5. Two centuries ago the average western mother had eight children, while today the figure is just two. Most of this fall in family size took place
a) before modern contraceptives became available
b) after they became available
c) while they were becoming available

6. Members of the Internet generation can spend how many years of their life at a computer?
a) one
b) five
c) twenty

7. Many of us grumble about our bosses, and with good reason. What percentage of bosses fail to keep their promises, according to those who work for them?
a) 20%
b) 40%
c) 60%

8. People can reach the end of their tether at any time of year. But suicides are highest in which season?
a) spring
b) autumn
c) winter

9. Which method of birth control is over a hundred times as effective as condoms, but used by only two women in a hundred?
a) the rhythm method
b) coitus interruptus
c) intra-uterine devices

10. Children with high IQ at the age of 10 are more likely to become
a) Christians
b) vegetarians
c) Scientologists

11. People who enjoy surprise endings to mystery stories tend to have
a) low self-esteem
b) boring lives
c) nervous breakdowns

12. Courses on unusual people skills are becoming popular. The University of Haifa has just launched a degree course in
a) group telepathy
b) medical clowning
c) pet bereavement counselling

13. The best gifts for ensuring your child has a head start in life are
a) educational toys
b) clay and crayons
c) a kids’ computer

14. Families can affect us in unexpected ways. If you have lots of younger brothers and sisters, you are likely to be more
a) intelligent than average
b) fun-loving than average
c) creative than average

15. Men with masculine looks are usually judged to be
a) aggressive
b) good parents
c) faithful to their wives

16. Which of these has been shown by brain scans to rapidly reduce anxiety?
a) having a stiff drink
b) visualising a warm colour
c) holding a loving partner’s hand

17. People who own pets are more likely to
a) smoke less
b) exercise regularly
c) be overweight

18. Human behaviour can now be investigated by studying how
a) people respond to virtual humans in cyberspace
b) chimpanzees and humans react to each other
c) chimps behave towards monkeys

19. Danes came top in a world map of happiness last year. One of the main reasons is that Danish
a) footballers won the European Championship in 1992
b) women are very good-natured
c) men are excellent lovers

20. Surgeons differ physically from other doctors because on average they
a) have shorter legs
b) are better looking
c) weigh more