If you've ever been screened for a focus group, you may have encountered an imagination question. These are the weird questions that appear in the screener, designed to test the creativity of the respondent, and to give some idea of the overall brain power available. A successful focus group needs respondents who are creative, bright, and (possibly most importantly) outgoing.

A classic imagination question (for telephone recruitment) is, "What are three uses for a paper clip, other than the obvious?"

The respondent must come up with the answers quickly. A good response would be: "Sculpture, self-defense, cleaning my nails." Some bad responses would be: "Uh... I don't know. Damn me and my slow wit." or "Holding pieces of paper together."

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