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

2. What does Chapter 4 explore?

3. What does the nature of the debate about the drunken actor illustrate according to Eagleman?

4. What happens when a rat is presented with a similar dilemma as the one in question 129?

5. How does Eagleman compare thinking with seeing?

Short Essay Questions

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

2. What does Chapter 4 explore?

3. What happens when the frontal cortex is damaged?

4. What does Eagleman suggest about our culpability in our actions, particularly males?

5. How does Eagleman compare the conscious mind to our senses?

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

7. How does a rat react to conflicting choices?

8. What does Eagleman say about the abilities of a bloodhound?

9. What does Eagleman say about our ability to perceive light versus that of insects?

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Titles often play a vital role in making a person decide to read a particular book. Discuss the following:

1. Fully explain why you think Incognito is titled as such. Do you think it is the best title for the book? Why or why not? Can you think of a better title? Why would you choose it?

2. How important is a title in influencing you to consider reading a book? Explain your answer.

3. Do you think a title needs to have direct relevance to a book's content? Explain your answer.

4. Have you ever read a book that when you finished, you do not understand the relevance of the title? Does it discourage you from "trusting" that particular author again?

Essay Topic 2

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.

Essay Topic 3

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.

(see the answer keys)

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