The Need to Belong
No one likes to feel left out, ignored by colleagues at meetings or not be invited to the big party that everyone is talking about Imagine not being part of a joke, or worse still, if the joke is on you. For most people, living the life of an outsider can have a negative effect on selfesteem and mood. It can even lead to negative behaviour. The pull to belong is extremely strong. Scientists believe that, in part, there is an evolutionary explanation for why we have this need to belong.
In the past, people hunted and cooked together in tribes and each member of the group would be assigned a role. As each member had a purpose, it meant that in the event of the loss of one person, the group as a whole would suffer. For this reason, they had a vested interest in protecting each other. To our prehistoric ancestors, membership of a group meant the difference between survival and death. Those who were rejected and excluded from joining a group had to fend for themselves and struggled to stay alive alone in the wild. Apart from protection, being part of a group also ensured that genes could be passed on to future generations. Although it is very different now from the way our primitive ancestors lived, our brains have not had time to evolve to fit today’s lifestyles. In this day and age, it is no longer a matter of survival to be affiliated to a tribe or group, but the evolutionary instinct to find protection still lingers.
This inherent feeling of security that comes with being part of a group is powerful enough to make people employ both conscious and unconscious strategies to gain membership. One obvious way people try to be accepted into a group is self-presentation, which is the act of portraying yourself in the best possible light An individual will attempt to outwardly display the characteristics which are important to the group’s advancement At the same time, they will conceal any parts of their personality that may be seen as undesirable or not useful to a group. An example of self-presentation is the job application process. A candidate applying for a job will promote themselves as motivated, but is likely to hide the fact that they are disorganised. These conscious tactics that people use are not a surprise to anyone, but we also use other strategies unknowingly.
Psychologists Jessica Larkin, Tanya Chartrand and Robert Arkin suggested that people often resort to automatic mimicry to gain affiliation into groups, much like our primitive ancestors used to do. Before humans had the ability to speak, physical imitation was a method of begging for a place in the group. Most will be unaware they are doing it Larkin and her co-workers decided to test this hypothesis.
They took a group of student volunteers and had them play a game called Cyberball, a balltossing arcade game that resembled American football. The volunteers were led to believe they were all playing against each other, but in actual fact they were not The computer was manipulating the game by passing the ball to some volunteers and excluding others.
The ‘accepted’ and ‘rejected’ students were then asked if they enjoyed the game and about their opinions of the other players. Participants were then put alone in a room and their natural foot movements were filmed. Then a female entered the room under the pretence of conducting a fake photo description task. The female deliberately moved her foot during the task, but not in a way that would be noticeable to the volunteer. It turned out that the rejected students mimicked the female’s foot movements the most This revealed that after exclusion, people will automatically mimic to affiliate with someone new.
However, Larkin and her colleagues wanted to go further. They believed that more often than not, in the real world, we actually know the people that reject us. How do we behave towards the group that we know has excluded us? The experiment was repeated with this question in mind. In the second experiment, only female volunteers played the Cyberball game, during which they experienced rejection by either men or women. Then each volunteer did the fake photo task, but this time with a man and then a woman. The results clearly indicated that the female students that felt rejected would unconsciously make more of an effort to mimic members of their own in-group – that is, other women – rather than men. This deep-wired instinct to mimic was not only directed towards random people, as initially thought, but targeted to specific groups, the particular group that did the rejecting in the first place.
To some, it is inconceivable why people will go to great lengths to be accepted into one of life’s social groups or clubs, enduring rejection and sometimes humiliation in order to be accepted. You only have to look at college campuses, which are notorious for strict initiations inflicted on candidates desperately seeking membership. But it happens and will continue to happen, because the desire to belong is a very powerful force and a fundamental part of human nature.
Complete the summary. Choose NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS from the passage for each answer.
Modern mans basic need to belong to clubs and groups dates back to early history. Each person within the group had a (1)…………………….to play and was considered integral to the entire groups dynamics and success. For an individual, belonging to a group could affect their chances of (2)……………………..In those times, few could avoid death living alone in (3)………………………. Living with other humans offered (4)…………………….from danger. Staying in a group also meant that (5)…………………….could be passed down to descendants.
Complete the flow chart below. Use NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS from the passage for each answer.
PROCEDURE FOR LARKIN’S EXPERIMENT
• Volunteers believed they were playing a computer game, similar to (6)……………………….
• The computer was controlling the gameplay, (7)………………………to some and not others.
• The volunteers gave their (8)…………………….after the game.
• Each volunteer first sat on their own in a room and had their foot movements (9)……………….
• The volunteer took part in a task with a woman who (10)……………………on purpose
Choose the correct letter A, B, C or D.
11. Which of the following is NOT mentioned in the first paragraph?
A one experts view on evolution
B the consequences of being excluded
C being made fun of by the people around you
D a social event that people are eagerly awaiting
12. According to the article, which method do people consciously use to obtain membership into their chosen group?
A They tell the group they are strongly motivated.
B They convey the best parts of their personality to the group.
C They show how the group will be important to their lives. They show how the group will be important to their lives.
D They alter aspects of their personality to suit others.
13. The writers main purpose in writing this article is to
A explain how people feel when they face rejection.
B encourage people to go it alone and not be part of a group.
C show the unconscious drive behind the need to belong.
D compare how the modern lifestyle is different to the past.
Is Technology Harming our Children’s Health?
Technology is moving at such a breakneck speed that it is enough to make your head spin. It can be difficult to keep up. However, with each new technological marvel come consequences. Much of the research conducted has shown the extent of the damage being done to our health by technology. It is a scary thought, and with teenagers and children being heavy consumers and users of these gadgets, they run the risk of being harmed the most.
The digital revolution in music has enabled people to download, store and listen to songs on a tiny, portable device called an MP3 player. The process is quick and afterwards you can have access to a library of thousands of songs that can fit into your palm. But experts say that continuously listening to loud music on these small music players can permanently damage hair cells in the inner ear, resulting in hearing loss. Tor instance, old-fashioned headphones have been replaced with smaller ones that fit neatly into the ear, instead of over them, which intensifies the sound. In addition to that, digital music does not distort and keeps its crystal clear sound, even on loud settings, which encourages children to crank up the volume. Combine that with the fact that many children will spend hours listening to their iPods, and you have the recipe for hearing loss. Put into further perspective, most MP3 players can reach levels of 120 decibels, which is louder than a chainsaw or lawnmower. When you consider 85 decibels is the maximum safe decibel level set by hearing experts over the course of a working day, and that children will listen to music at higher decibel levels than that for long periods of time, hearing will invariably suffer.
Apart from hearing damage, there are other serious health risks. We are living in a wireless age. Calls can be made and received on mobiles from anywhere and the internet can be accessed without the need for cables. The advantages are enormous, bringing ease and convenience to our lives. It is clear that mobiles and wireless technology are here to stay but are we paying the price for new technology? Studies have shown that the rapid expansion in the use of wireless technology has brought with it a new form of radiation called ‘electropollution’.
Compared to two generations ago, we are exposed to 100 million times more radiation. The human body consists of trillions of cells which use faint electromagnetic signals to communicate with each other, so that the necessary biological and physiological changes can happen. It is a delicate, natural balance. But this balance is being upset by the constant exposure to electromagnetic radiation (EMR) that we face in our daily lives and it is playing havoc with our bodies. EMR can disrupt and alter the way in which our cells communicate and this can result in abnormal cell behaviour. Some studies have shown that exposure to wireless technology can affect our enzyme production, immune systems, nervous system and even our moods and behaviour. The most dangerous part of the phone is around the antenna. This area emits extremely potent radiation which has been shown to cause genetic damage and an increase in the risk of cancer.
Research shows that teenagers and young adults are the largest group of mobile phone users. According to a recent Eurobarometer survey, 70 per cent of Europeans aged 12-13 own a mobile phone and the number of children five to nine years old owning mobiles has greatly increased over the years. Children are especially vulnerable because their brains and nervous systems are not as immune to attack as adults. Sir William Stewart, chairman of the National Radiological Protection Board, says there is mounting evidence to prove the harmful effects of wireless technologies and that families should monitor their children’s use of them.
Besides the physical and biological damage, technology can also have serious mental implications for children. It can be the cause of severe, addictive behaviour. In one case, two children had to be admitted into a mental health clinic in Northern Spain because of their addiction to mobile phones. An average of six hours a day would be spent talking, texting and playing games on their phones. The children could not be separated from their phones and showed disturbed behaviour that was making them fail at school. They regularly deceived family members to obtain money to buy phone cards to fund their destructive habit. There have been other cases of phone addiction like this. Technology may also be changing our brain patterns. Professor Greenfield, a top specialist in brain development, says that, thanks to technology, teenage minds are developing differently from those of previous generations. Her main concern is over computer games. She claims that living in a virtual world where actions are rewarded without needing to think about the moral implications makes young people lose awareness of who they are’. She claims that technology brings a decline in linguistic creativity.
As technology keeps moving at a rapid pace and everyone clamours for the new must- have gadget of the moment, we cannot easily perceive the long-term effects on our health. Unfortunately, it is the most vulnerable members of our society that will be affected.
Complete the table below. Write NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS AND/OR A NUMBER from the passage for each answer.
Do the following statements agree with the claims of the writer in Reading Passage 2? Write
YES if the statement agrees with the views of the writer
NO if the statement contradicts the views of the writer
NOT GIVEN if it is impossible to say what the writer thinks about this
19. There are considerable benefits to our wireless world.
20. Wireless technology is a permanent part of our lives.
21. Exposure to EMR can lead to criminal behaviour.
22. It is possible to become obsessed with technology.
23. Using technology always helps with academic success.
Answer the questions below using NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS for each answer.
24. According to Professor Greenfield, what kind of world do children occupy when playing computer games?
25. What does Professor Greenfield feel children don’t pay attention to when playing computer games?
26. According to Professor Greenfield, what may be lower in teenagers who play a lot of computer games?
A History of Fingerprinting
A To detectives, the answers lie at the end of our fingers. Fingerprinting offers an accurate and infallible means of personal identification. The ability to identify a person from a mere fingerprint is a powerful tool in the fight against crime. It is the most commonly used forensic evidence, often outperforming other methods of identification. These days, older methods of ink fingerprinting, which could take weeks, have given way to newer, faster techniques like fingerprint laser scanning, but the principles stay the same. No matter which way you collect fingerprint evidence, every single person’s print is unique. So, what makes our fingerprints different from our neighbour’s?
B A good place to start is to understand what fingerprints are and how they are created. A fingerprint is the arrangement of skin ridges and furrows on the tips of the fingers. This ridged skin develops fully during foetal development, as the skin cells grow in the mother’s womb. These ridges are arranged into patterns and remain the same throughout the course of a person’s life. Other visible human characteristics, like weight and height, change over time whereas fingerprints do not. The reason why every fingerprint is unique is that when a baby’s genes combine with environmental influences, such as temperature, it affects the way the ridges on the skin grow. It makes the ridges develop at different rates, buckling and bending into patterns. As a result, no two people end up having the same fingerprints. Even identical twins possess dissimilar fingerprints.
C It is not easy to map the journey of how the unique quality of the fingerprint came to be discovered. The moment in history it happened is not entirely dear. However, the use of fingerprinting can be traced back to some ancient civilisations, such as Babylon and China, where thumbprints were pressed onto clay tablets to confirm business transactions. Whether people at this time actually realised the full extent of how fingerprints were important for identification purposes is another matter altogether. One cannot be sure if the act was seen as a means to confirm identity or a symbolic gesture to bind a contract, where giving your fingerprint was like giving your word.
D Despite this uncertainty, there are those who made a significant contribution towards the analysis of fingerprinting. History tells us that a 14th century Persian doctor made an early statement that no two fingerprints are alike. Later, in the 17th century, Italian physician Marcello Malpighi studied the distinguishing shapes of loops and spirals in fingerprints.
In his honour, the medical world later named a layer of skin after him. It was, however, an employee for the East India Company, William Herschel, who came to see the true potential of fingerprinting. He took fingerprints from the local people as a form of signature for contracts, in order to avoid fraud. His fascination with fingerprints propelled him to study them for the next twenty years. He developed the theory that fingerprints were unique to an individual and did not change at all over a lifetime. In 1880 Henry Faulds suggested that fingerprints could be used to identify convicted criminals. He wrote to Charles Darwin for advice, and the idea was referred on to Darwin’s cousin, Sir Francis Galton. Galton eventually published an in-depth study of fingerprint science in 1892.
E Although the fact that each person has a totally unique fingerprint pattern had been well documented and accepted for a long time, this knowledge was not exploited for criminal identification until the early 20th century. In the past branding, tattooing and maiming had been used to mark the criminal for what he was. In some countries, thieves would have their hands cut off. France branded criminals with the fleur-de-lis symbol. The Romans tattooed mercenary soldiers to stop them from becoming deserters.
F For many years police agencies in the Western world were reluctant to use fingerprinting, much preferring the popular method of the time, the Bertillon System, where dimensions of certain body parts were recorded to identify a criminal. The turning point was in 1903 when a prisoner by the name of Will West was admitted into Leavenworth Federal Penitentiary. Amazingly, Will had almost the same Bertillon measurements as another prisoner residing at the very same prison, whose name happened to be William West. It was only their fingerprints that could tell them apart. From that point on, fingerprinting became the standard for criminal identification.
G Fingerprinting was useful in identifying people with a history of crime and who were listed on a database. However, in situations where the perpetrator was not on the database and a crime had no witnesses, the system fell short. Fingerprint chemistry is a new technology that can work alongside traditional fingerprinting to find more clues than ever before. From organic compounds left behind on a print, a scientist can tell if the person is a child, an adult, a mature person or a smoker, and much more. It seems, after all these years, fingers continue to point the way.
Reading Passage 3 has seven paragraphs, A-G. Choose the correct heading for paragraphs B-G from the list of headings below.
List of Headings
i Key people that made a difference
ii An alternative to fingerprinting
iii The significance of prints
iv How to identify a criminal
v Patterns in the making
vi Family connections
vii Exciting new developments
viii A strange coincidence
ix Punishing a criminal
x An uncertain past
Example Paragraph A iii
27. Paragraph B
28. Paragraph C
29. Paragraph D
30. Paragraph E
31. Paragraph F
32. Paragraph G
Complete the sentences. Choose NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS from the passage for each answer.
Unlike other (33)…………………….that you can see, fingerprints never change.
Although genetically the same, (34)…………………….do not share the same fingerprints.
A fingerprint was a substitute for a (35)………………………..in Indian contracts.
Do the following statements agree with the information given in Reading Passage 3? Write
TRUE if the statement agrees with the information
FALSE if the statement contradicts the information
NOT GIVEN If there is no information on this
36. Fingerprinting is the only effective method for identifying criminals.
37. The ridges and patterns that make up fingerprints develop before birth.
38. Malpighi conducted his studies in Italy.
39. Roman soldiers were tattooed to prevent them from committing violent crimes.
40. Fingerprint chemistry can identify if a fingerprint belongs to an elderly person.
Academic Reading Practice Tests
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 111 112 113 114 115 116 117 118 119 120 121 122 123 124 125 126 127 128 129 130 131 132 133 134 135 136 137 138 139 140 141 142 143 144 145 146 147 148 149 150 151 152 153 154 155 156 157 158 159 160 161 162 163 164 165 166 167 168 169 170 171 172 173 174 175 176 177 178 179 180 181 182 183 184 185 186 187 188 189 190 191 192 193 194 195 196 197 198 199 200 201 202 203 204 205 206 207 208 209 210 211 212 213 214 215 216 217 218 219 220 221 222 223 224 225 226 227 228 229