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Mind-reading is the process of attempting to figure out where a bad quizbowl question is going based solely on known aspects of the question writer. It differs from lateral thinking in that the player relies not on past factual knowledge or deductive thinking but rather from heuristics like "The only Romanian leader they ask about is Ceausescu" to buzz in after a question starts "This Romanian leader."

Questions that reward mind-reading are the worst kind of speed checks in that they often punish players who might know about more about a subject (e.g. Romanian leaders other than Ceausescu).

Other uses

The concept of mind-reading can also be applied to good quizbowl questions: a player who has knowledge of a set's writers and their strengths may be able to make inferences about which subjects they would be more or less likely to write about.

Colloquially, mind-reading can refer to the process of quickly deciphering the theme of a complicated question. This idea appears very literally in Wanggories, the vanity sets written by Andrew Wang, where particularly vague questions may conclude with simply "For 10 points, read my mind."