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, 10 short essay questions, and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. What do we perceive about the limits of our conscious knowledge?

2. What assumption is at the core of the American legal system?

3. What had people noticed about Whitman in some months before his death?

4. How does Eagleman answer the question about whether the actor is racist or not?

5. What do some brain scientists propose?

Short Essay Questions

1. What does a team of rivals have to do with the brain?

2. What does Eagleman have readers consider about Whitman?

3. Explain the physical division in the brain and what can happen if the two hemispheres are severed.

4. What does Eagleman say is hard wired into our brains?

5. What does Eagleman say about a man named Alex?

6. To what part of the body are newborns drawn and what does this imply about human beings' predisposition?

7. What does Chapter 4 explore?

8. Does Eagleman think genetics or upbringing has more to bear on one's actions and does he think it is an important question?

9. What does Eagleman write about Kenneth Parks?

10. How does Eagleman interpret the incident?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

While there are many competing aspects of the brain Eagleman argues, he focuses on two which he labels the "rational" and "emotional." The rational mind is focused on analyzing the outside world while the emotional mind looks inward. He presents the results of an experiment that pits these two rivals against one another. Subjects are presented with a fictional situation where allowing one person to die would save the lives of five others. In one version of the situation, the person would have to pull a lever to move a runaway train onto a track where it would kill one person but miss killing five. In this version, most people agree they would pull the lever, as the loss of one life is preferable to the loss of five. In another version, however, the situation is presented so that the person would actually have to push one person from an overhanging bridge to stop the train that would otherwise kill five people. Subjects found this version more difficult. The experimenters concluded that the emotional aspect of actually touching a person and pushing them to their deaths overrode the rational computation that it was better to lose one life than five lives.

1. Which mind do you think is more reliable, the rational or the emotional? Why? Use examples from your own life and Incognito to support your answer.

2. Discuss a situation where you made a decision with your emotions rather than your logic. Use examples from your own life and Incognito to support your answer.

3. Do you think you would have the same problem with pushing a person off a bridge as the people in this experiment? Why or why not? Use examples from your own life and Incognito to support your answer.

Essay Topic 2

Eagleman in writing about Mel Gibson cites anti-Semitism was demonstrated by Gibson. Discuss one of the following:

1. Define anti-Semitism and give examples of it from both Incognito and other sources.

2. Do you think anti-Semitism still exists in the United States? Explain.

3. Discuss the idea put forth by Eagleman that Mel Gibson may have two brains, one not prejudice and one that is. Use examples from Incognito to support your answer.

Essay Topic 3

Wilson has cited a number of people in this book. Discuss he following:

1. Choose three people whom Eagleman mentions positively and give a brief idea of his opinions about those three people (or stereotypes). Use examples from Incognito to support your answer.

2. Choose three people whom Eagleman mentions negatively and give a brief idea of his opinions about those three people (or stereotypes). Use examples from Incognito to support your answer.

3. Judging what Eagleman says about different people in his text, how would you characterize him as a friend? As a colleague? Use examples from Incognito to support your answer.

(see the answer keys)

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