Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain Test | Mid-Book Test - Hard

David Eagleman
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This test consists of 5 short answer questions, 10 short essay questions, and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. What was disorienting for May?

2. How do sorters learn to do their job?

3. How does one blind rock climber use a mechanical device to help climb?

4. What indicates a state of sexual arousal in women?

5. How many connections does a typical neuron make to neighboring neurons?

Short Essay Questions

1. What gap does Eagleman explore in Chapter 3?

2. Who is Mike May and what happens to him?

3. How is one's conscious mind limited and how does this make the mind more difficult to understand?

4. What does Eagleman say the experiment with the photographs of women illustrates?

5. What is another illustration of how one reacts to something before the person is even aware of the situation?

6. What is the simple experiment Eagleman asks the reader to perform?

7. What does Eagleman describe in the opening chapter?

8. Explain the example of the chicken sexers that Eagleman discusses.

9. What is the point of the experiment that Eagleman suggests the reader try?

10. What does Eagleman say Sigmund Freud understood?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

This kind of social hard-wiring affects our thinking in some interesting ways, Eagleman claims. He gives an example of a difficult logic puzzle involving colors and numbers and asks the reader to solve it. He then presents a different puzzle that has the same underlying logical solution but has been rephrased to make it about people and their ages. He claims that most people find the second puzzle easier to solve than the first, even though they are essentially the same puzzle. The reason, he argues, is that we can more easily process information if we can frame it in a social context.

1. Give an example of a problem that can be put into a social context and easily solved. Use examples from your own life and Incognito to support your answer.

2. What you think the fact that social context is more real to most humans means to us as animals? Use examples from your own life and Incognito to support your answer.

3. Discuss the idea that humans are hard wired to be social and that is why married people tend to live longer than single people. Use examples from your own life and Incognito to support your answer.

Essay Topic 2

Incognito belongs to the non-fiction genre. Discuss the following:

1. Define the literary term "genre" and give several examples of three other genres in addition to the non-fiction genre.

2. Discuss two reasons why it might be useful to label a text by genre and two reasons it might be disadvantageous to label a text by genre.

3. What do you think is the difference between a nonfiction book and a novel?

Essay Topic 3

Our intuition tells us that we experience the world as it actually exists, Eagleman explains in chapter two. But we are actually unaware of most of what is happening. We can move an arm and be aware that it has moved, but we are unconscious of the flurry of neural impulses that caused the arm to move. Eagleman proposes an analogy that consciousness is like a newspaper, where complicated processes have been compressed into headlines. We read these "headlines" with our conscious minds while remaining unaware of the full "story."

1. Why do you think our intuition tells us the world we experience actually exists? Use examples from your own life and Incognito to support your answer.

2. Thinking back to yesterday, discuss ideas, actions or thoughts of which you may not have been aware. Use examples from your own life and Incognito to support your answer.

3. Do you think humans need to be more aware of the "behind the scenes" of any behavior or action? Why or why not? Use examples from your own life and Incognito to support your answer.

(see the answer keys)

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