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. Who cannot immediately discern depth and movement as someone who has had vision since birth?

2. What are those people called who sort out baby chickens by their gender?

3. What do most of us notice in the world around us?

4. When an action becomes automatic, what part of the brain is controlling it?

5. How do the eyes of blind people who recover their sight work compared to persons who are sighted since birth?

Short Essay Questions

1. How is our brain wired for performing complicated tasks and why?

2. What has to shift in order to fully appreciate the small role of the unconscious and to what does Eagleman compare that shift?

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

4. What gap does Eagleman explore in Chapter 3?

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

6. What does Eagleman say about the auditory sense?

7. What happens to a blind person who recovers his/her sight?

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

9. How does Eagleman offer an analogy of one's awareness to a newspaper headline?

10. What ways can our vision be fooled?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

What we like is also determined largely by unconscious thinking and a natural tendency to like ourselves, Eagleman claims. This is called "implicit egotism," and is a well-established phenomenon, he explains. It is illustrated by the fact, for example, that people marry others with first names that start with the same letter more often than would be expected by chance. Eagleman claims this is because we implicitly prefer others that are like ourselves in some way.

1. Discuss how you feel about yourself and whether you think your feelings stem from your unconscious. Use examples from your own life and Incognito to support your answer.

2. Do you think most people like themselves? Why or why not. Use examples from your own life and Incognito to support your answer.

3. Do you think it is a positive trait that a person likes him/herself? Why or why not? Use examples from your own life and Incognito to support your answer.

Essay Topic 2

Titles often play a vital role in making a person decide to read a particular book. Discuss the following:

1. Fully explain why you think Incognito is titled as such. Do you think it is the best title for the book? Why or why not? Can you think of a better title? Why would you choose it?

2. How important is a title in influencing you to consider reading a book? Explain your answer.

3. Do you think a title needs to have direct relevance to a book's content? Explain your answer.

4. Have you ever read a book that when you finished, you do not understand the relevance of the title? Does it discourage you from "trusting" that particular author again?

Essay Topic 3

Eagleman dismisses the assumption that all people are equally equipped to make sound and rational decisions. We are all at the mercy of the unconscious workings of our minds, and our ultimate behavior is a result of the biological balance within our brain. As an example, he points out that the overwhelming number of criminals are male. This suggests that there is a genetic component to the balance among the various rival parts of the brain.

1. Do you think that all people are equally equipped to make sound and rational decisions? Why or why not? Use examples from your own life and Incognito to support your answer.

2. Do you believe you are at the mercy of your unconscious mind? Why or why not? Use examples from your own life and Incognito to support your answer.

3. What kinds of balance between emotional and rational thoughts and feelings do you encounter in your life? Does the rational or emotional part of your brain have more sway over you? Why? Use examples from your own life and Incognito to support your answer.

(see the answer keys)

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