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 is the orbitofrontal cortex?

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

3. At what do babies tend to look?

4. How does Eagleton support his statement about what is or is not hard wired into our brains?

5. What does Eagleman say is difficult?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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 2

Another set of conflicting motivations in the human mind is the rivalry between short term and long term desires, Eagleman argues. He presents several examples of people acting in ways that serve a long-term interest and protect them from the their short-term tendencies. A Christmas club is one such example, where people put money aside each month and then have it returned at Christmas time for purchasing gifts. These kinds of self-bargains are called "Ulysses contracts" after the classical figure Ulysses who had himself lashed to the mast of his boat so he would not be persuaded by the beautiful song of the sirens to steer his boat into the rocks.

1. Why do you think it is important to learn how to delay gratification? Use examples from your own life and Incognito to support your reasoning.

2. What do you think might be the difference in delaying short term goals between a child of 10 and an adult? Use examples from your own life and Incognito to support your reasoning.

3. Discuss an example in your own life where you did or did not delay an immediate desire in order to achieve a long term goal. How did this incident relate to one of the examples Eagleman gave?

Essay Topic 3

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.

(see the answer keys)

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