This passage is taken from a book titled Welcome to Your Brain by Sandra Aamodt and Sam Wang (© 2008 by Sandra Aamodt and Sam Wang).
- If you want to see what happens
- when the brain goes out of whack,
- please don’t go to the movies.
- Movie characters are continually
- getting themselves into
- neurological “scrapes“, losing
- their memories, changing
- personalities, and getting
- schizophrenia or Parkinson’s
- disease (not to mention sociopathy
- and other psychiatric disorders).
- The brain goes haywire in
- Hollywood far more often than in
- real life, and sometimes it can be
- hard to tell science from science
- fiction. Movie depictions of mental
- disorders span the spectrum from
- mostly accurate to totally wrong.
- At their worst, movie depictions
- of neurological illness can
- reinforce common, but wrong,
- ideas about how the brain works.
- By far the most common mental
- disorder in the movies is amnesia.
- Memory loss in the movies
- constitutes its own genre, as
- predictable as boy meets girl,
- boy loses girl, and boy gets girl
- back. But instead of losing a love
- interest, the thing lost might
- instead be, to pick an example,
- the awareness that one is a
- trained assassin, as in
- The Bourne Identity (2002) or
- Total Recall (1990).
- Neuropsychologist Sallie Baxendale
- conducted an extensive survey
- of memory loss in the movies,
- going all the way back to the
- silent era. She sorted incidents
- into categories, most of which are
- filled with wrong science but all
- of which are entertaining.
- A common dramatic theme is
- a physical trauma that triggers
- memory loss, typically followed
- by a new start of some kind.
- Our hero or heroine then has a
- series of adventures and
- misadventures, but is able to live
- normally and form new memories.
- Another common cause of amnesia
- in the movies is a psychologically
- traumatic event. These events,
- which satisfy the dramatic need
- to drive the plot, include anything
- from killing someone to getting
- married. As a final twist, a
- character might regain his or
- her memory by getting whacked
- in the head a second time, or
- through a brilliant act of
- neurosurgery, hypnosis, or
- the sight of a significant and
- well-loved object from the past.
- Roll credits.
- Perhaps we have unfairly
- mocked these depictions of
- memory loss. After all, psychiatric
- disorders show more diverse
- symptoms than the strictly
- neurological disorders stemming
- from physical injury or disease.
- For instance, a psychiatric patient
- might show selective amnesia in
- very specialized ways. Also,
- transient memory loss is known
- to occur spontaneously,
- possibly because of miniature
- stroke-like events.
- But Hollywood usually tells us
- that the memory loss started
- with an injury or traumatic event,
- and in this regard the targets of
- our criticism are fair game.
- Cinema may be ripe for scientific
- criticism, but it does provide
- insight into how people think the
- brain works.
- A conceptual underpinning to
- many cinematic misconceptions is
- an idea we will call
- “brains are like old televisions.”
- Consider a common dramatic
- convention: after a blow to the
- head induces memory loss,
- memory can be restored by a
- second blow to the head.
- The existence of this myth points
- to unspoken assumptions
- we make about how the
- brain works. For the second-blow
- hypothesis to be true, damage to
- the brain would have to
- be reversible. Since the likeliest
- cause of amnesia from a head
- injury would be a fluid
- accumulation that pushes on the
- brain, a therapeutic benefit from
- a second injury would be pretty
- unlikely, to say the least.
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The authors’ purpose in writing this passage is most likely to:CorrectIncorrect
The authors use of the phrase “Roll credits” in line 66 to comment on the resolution of a typical film indicates their:CorrectIncorrect
According to the passage, Sallie Baxendale discovered that most movies portray memory loss as the result of:CorrectIncorrect
The main purpose of the final paragraph is to:CorrectIncorrect
As it is used in the sixth line of the first paragraph, the word scrapes most nearly means:CorrectIncorrect
The authors of the passage cite The Bourne Identity and Total Recall (lines 34-35) primarily as examples of films that:CorrectIncorrect
It is reasonable to infer that the authors question whether they have “unfairly mocked” (lines 67-68) depictions of amnesia in the movies because:CorrectIncorrect
It can be reasonably inferred from the passage that amnesia has been a common cinematic theme since:CorrectIncorrect
According to the passage, movies often include plots relating to psychological trauma in an effort to:CorrectIncorrect
Which of the following statements best summarizes the “unspoken assumption” (line 100) mentioned in the final paragraph?CorrectIncorrect