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

David Eagleman
This set of Lesson Plans consists of approximately 141 pages of tests, essay questions, lessons, and other teaching materials.
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Final Test - Hard

Name: _________________________ Period: ___________________

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

Short Answer Questions

1. What is exceptional about the creature mentioned in question 89?

2. What does Eagleman think is a good model for how the brain works?

3. What studies does Eagleman look at in this chapter?

4. Who is Charles Whitman?

5. What does Eagleton think many sub-routines of our mind are doing?

Essay 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

Our conscious minds represent only a small part of the activity of our brains. As evidence, Eagleman refers to the common experience of reacting to something before a person is fully aware of what is happening, such as when a car backs out in front of a driver and the driver has already stepped on the brakes before he fully "sees" the other car. Major league baseball players are able to hit 100-mph fastballs even though they must begin their swing before their brains have had time to visually process the image of the approaching ball.

1. Discuss an incident in your life in which you reacted to a situation before you fully realized what the situation was and relate this to Eagleman's ideas of the unconscious reacting. Use examples from your own life and Incognito to support your answer.

2. Do you think Eagleman is correct that our conscious minds only represent a small part of the activity of our brains? Why or why not? Use examples from your own life and Incognito to support your answer.

3. Discuss the ways in which Eagleman's assertion about the unconscious has changed the way you view your behavior. 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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