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 problem does Eagleman describe in illustrating how the mind may be divided?

2. What does Eagleman say we are at the mercy of?

3. Why does Eagleman think people find the second puzzle easier to solve?

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

5. How did Whitman die?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

3. How does a rat react to conflicting choices?

4. What comparison of thought to wavelengths does Eagleman make?

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

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

7. How does Eagleman interpret the incident?

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

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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.

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

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.

(see the answer keys)

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