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

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

Short Answer Questions

1. What does Eagleman think some people would have said about Whitman had he lived?

2. How does Eagleman then change the puzzle?

3. What was one routine in charge of?

4. How is the problem solved?

5. What is an animal's ability to choose a course from among competing options and act accordingly?

Essay Topics

Essay Topic 1

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.

Essay Topic 2

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.

Essay Topic 3

Eagleman presents the example of an experiment where men were shown photographs of the faces of several women and asked to rate their attractiveness. Photographs where the women's eyes had been dilated were consistently ranked as more attractive. When asked why they had chosen some women as more attractive than others, the subjects did not mention the dilated eyes as a factor, yet they clearly were. Eagleman adds that dilated pupils in a woman indicate a state of sexual arousal, suggesting that the subjects who found these photos more attractive were acting on a natural impulse of their unconscious minds.

1. Do you think attraction is a conscious choice or and unconscious one? Why or why not? Use examples from your own life and Incognito to support your answer.

2. Discuss one situation in which you were attracted to something, e.g. a person, a food dish, a car, etc. but were not sure why you felt the way you did and relate it to Eagleman's idea of unconscious attraction. Use examples from your own life and Incognito to support your answer.

3. If Eagleman is correct about why men might be attracted to a woman, what do you think that might mean about most marriages? Use examples from your own life and Incognito to support your answer.

(see the answer keys)

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