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 does an experiment that has people associate words such as "like" or "dislike" measure?

2. When does Arthur Alberts travel from New York to Africa?

3. What does Eagleman say has happened to complicated processes in his analogy of consciousness?

4. What were men asked to rate in an experiment the author cites?

5. How do photographs of different races reveal something about the mind?

Short Essay Questions

1. What does Eagleman describe in the opening chapter?

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

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

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

5. Why is it an advantage to be able to do things without the use of the conscious mind?

6. What does Eagleman say about how vision works?

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

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

9. How does Mike May adjust to his regained sight?

10. What does Eagleman say our intuition tells us about our experience of the world and is the intuition accurate?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Much of what motivates us and drives our behavior is hard wired into our brains, Eagleman claims, and he provides several examples to support his argument. Experiments on babies indicate they show a tendency to look at faces. Humans seem to be predisposed, without any prior experience or learning, to be attracted to faces. Newborns also show evidence of recognizing and being attracted to the smell of their mother.

1. Do you think you are motivated by your thoughts or by something hard wired into your brain? Why or why not? Use examples from your own life and Incognito to support your answer.

2. If motivation is hard wired into us, what do you think is the reason some people force themselves to do something they do not want to do because they think it is the right thing to do? Use examples from your own life and Incognito to support your answer.

3. Discuss a situation in which you think you were driven or motivated to do something you did not want to do. Do you think it was you genes that drove you? Why or why not? Use examples from your own life and Incognito to support your answer.

Essay Topic 2

This time that it takes for us to process sensory input is not sensed by us, Eagleman claims. We imagine we are living and perceiving the outside world in the present, but because of this delay required to make sense of what we experience we are actually living a few milliseconds in the past. Time, like vision and the other senses, he argues, is a construct of the brain. It is a "rich illusion" (p. 54) that we cannot completely uncover.

1. Do you think time is fluid? In other words, is a minute always the same length of time? Why or why not? Use examples from your own life and Incognito to support your answer.

2. Discuss the idea that if Eagleman is correct about the present moment that in reality a present moment never exists. Use examples from your own life and Incognito to support your answer.

3. What do you think is meant by the statement that time is a construct of the brain? Use examples from your own life and Incognito to support your answer.

Essay Topic 3

Eagleman gives the reader an overview of his ideas about success in Incognito. Discuss one of the following:

1. Discuss Eagleman's opinions of three topics he discussed in relation to the brain. Do you agree or disagree with him? Why? Use examples from Incognito to support your answer.

2. Compare and contrast Eagleman's opinions from Incognito with what you might imagine Eagleman's opinion might be had he lived 100 years ago. How do you think his opinions would change? Would they remain the same? Explain fully. Use examples from Incognito to support your answer.

3. Discuss how you think Eagleman's view on several topics from this essay informs his life as a researcher. Use examples from Incognito to support your answer.

(see the answer keys)

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