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 did Whitman indicate in some writings he left behind?

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

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

4. What creature does Eagleman use as an example of one with an excellent sense of smell?

5. What did others say about the incident?

Short Essay Questions

1. What happens when the frontal cortex is damaged?

2. What example does Eagleman cite to demonstrate the difference between the rational and emotional mind?

3. Explain the study that was performed on how men rate a woman's attractiveness.

4. How does a rat react to conflicting choices?

5. Who is Charles Whitman and what did he do and what may have contributed to his actions?

6. How does Eagleman use an example of early robotics to illustrate how the mind may be divided?

7. What does Chapter 4 explore?

8. What does Eagleman have readers consider about Whitman?

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

10. How does Eagleman see many of the small sub-routines of the mind and what example does he give?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

This kind of social hard-wiring affects our thinking in some interesting ways, Eagleman claims. He gives an example of a difficult logic puzzle involving colors and numbers and asks the reader to solve it. He then presents a different puzzle that has the same underlying logical solution but has been rephrased to make it about people and their ages. He claims that most people find the second puzzle easier to solve than the first, even though they are essentially the same puzzle. The reason, he argues, is that we can more easily process information if we can frame it in a social context.

1. Give an example of a problem that can be put into a social context and easily solved. Use examples from your own life and Incognito to support your answer.

2. What you think the fact that social context is more real to most humans means to us as animals? Use examples from your own life and Incognito to support your answer.

3. Discuss the idea that humans are hard wired to be social and that is why married people tend to live longer than single people. Use examples from your own life and Incognito to support your answer.

Essay Topic 2

This assembly of competing routines is what makes up most of the activity of our brains, and our conscious mind, as is demonstrated in brains where these competing processes have been interrupted or disconnected, is mostly at the mercy of our unconscious processes. Eagleman presents the results of experiments that suggest that our conscious mind will even fabricate reasons for our actions after the fact when we cannot tell what our true motivations are.

1. There is a saying that we do not really look at pros and cons for a decision but instead make the decision unconsciously and then justify our decision with pros and cons. Discuss this idea bringing in the examples Eagleman gives.

2. Do you think most of the time a person does not know his or her true motivations for behavior? Why or why not? Use examples from your own life and Incognito to support your reasoning.

3. Discuss an incident in your life where after it happen you could not understand why you said or did what you said or did. How does that incident relate to Eagleman's assertion about unconscious control of people's lives? Use examples from your own life and Incognito to support your reasoning.

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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