MUET 2018 Session 1 – Paper 3 Reading – Part 3

Question 30 to 37 are based on the following passage.

Few things in life are as traumatic as the end of a long-term, romantic relationship. Nonetheless, many people are able to eventually recover and move on relatively unscathed. Others aren’t so lucky. Even years later, they remain mired in the pain of the experience. Any reminder of their former partner – whether it’s a casual mention in conversation or a Facebook photo – can elicit profound feelings of sadness, anger and resentment. Why is it that some people continue to be haunted by the ghosts of their romantic pasts, struggling to let go of the pain of rejection?

In a new research, my colleague Carol Dweck and I found that rejection actually makes some people redefine themselves – and their future romantic prospects.

In one study, we asked people to write about any lessons they’d taken away from a past romantic rejection. Analysing their responses, we realised that a number of respondents thought the rejection unmasked a basic negative truth about themselves – one that would also sabotage their future relationships. Some said they’d realised that they were too “clingy”. Others thought they’d been “too sensitive” or “bad at communicating”.

Another study explored the consequences of believing that rejection had revealed a fundamental flaw. By linking rejection to some aspects of their core identity, people found it more difficult to move on from experience. Some said they “put up walls” and became warier about new relationships. Others were afraid to disclose the rejection to a new partner, tearing that this person would change their opinion of them, thinking they had “baggage”. This might explain why some people hide past rejections, treating them like a scar or sigma.

When we wondered: What makes someone more likely to link a romantic rejection to some aspect of “who they really are?” After all, other respondents wrote that rejection was merely a part of life, that it was an important part of growing up and actually caused them to become better people.

It turns out that your belief about personality can play a big role in how you’ll respond to romantic rejection. Past research found that people hold divergent views about their personal characteristics, whether it’s their intelligence or shyness. Some people have a “fixed mindset”, believing that these qualities are unchangeable. In contrast,those who have a “growth mindset” believe that their personality is something that can evolve and develop throughout their lives. These basic beliefs shape how people respond to failure. For example, when people believe that intelligence is fixed, they’ll feel worse about themselves – and are less likely to persist – after experiencing a setback.

We thought that beliefs about personality might determine whether people see rejection as a piece of evidence about who they really are – as a sign of whether they are a flawed  and undesirable person.

In yet another study, we divided people into two groups, those who think personality is fixed, and those who think personality is malleable. Participants then read one of two stories, In one, we asked them to imagine being left, out of the blue, by a long-term partner. In the other, we asked them to imagine meeting someone at a party, feeling a spark and then later overhearing that person telling a friend that they would never be romantically interested in her or him.

We might expect that only a severe rejection from a serious relationship would have the power to make people question who they are. Instead, a pattern emerged. For people with a fixed view personality, we found that even a rejection from a relative stranger could prompt them to wonder what this rejection unveiled about their core self. These people might worry that there was something so obviously undesirable about them that a person would reject them outright – without even getting to know them.

So what can we do to prevent people from linking rejection to the self in this negative way? One promising piece of evidence shows that changing someone’s beliefs about personality can shift his or her reaction to rejections.

In a final study, we created articles that described personality as something that can evolve throughout the course of a lifetime, rather than as something that’s predetermined. When we asked people with a fixed view of personality to read these articles, they become less likely to interpret rejections as an indication of a permanent, fatal deficiency. By encouraging the belief that personality can change and develop over time, we may be able to help people exorcise the ghosts of their romantic pasts – and move on to satisfying relationships in the future.

30. In paragraph 1, the writer develops the ideas by using

  1. compare and contrast
  2. problem  and solution
  3. time and chronology
  4. cause and effect

31. In paragraph 3, some words are in quotation marks (“…”) because they

  1. are someone else’s words
  2. have special meaning
  3. are colloquial words
  4. are important

32. In paragraph 3, the writer focuses on

  1. the aim of the study
  2. the cause of breakups
  3. the respondents’ comments
  4. how the study was conducted

33. baggage (paragraph 4) refers to 

  1. previous experiences
  2. responses to failure
  3. personal beliefs
  4. long held ideas

34. Which of the following individuals is likely to respond positively to rejection?

  1. Those who are intelligent
  2. Those who are more mature
  3. Those who are more open about their relationships.
  4. Those who believe that one’s personality is not fixed.

35. What can be done to help people move on after a romantic rejection?

  1. Get them to talk about their failed relationships
  2. Get them to read articles about changes in personality
  3. Help them to forget the pain from their failed relationships
  4. Help them to see romantic rejections as part of growing up

36. How many studies did the writer and her colleague carry out?

  1. 2
  2. 3
  3. 4
  4. 5

37. What is the central idea of the passage?

  1. How to survive a breakup
  2. There is life after a breakup
  3. Why breakups are harder on some people
  4. The causes and consequences of breakups

Questions 38 to 45 are based on the following passage.

There are bones hidden away in almost every cupboard in many of the rooms of New York  University’s primatology department, and James Higham is keen to explain explain to me what they can tell us about an important part of our evolution: Why we have such big, heavy brains. He shows me hordes of lemur skulls, as well as casts of our extinct relatives. Of particular interest to him are the sizes of their braincases. After studying this feature in primates including monkeys, lemurs and humans, he and his colleagues have presented an intriguing new idea as to why our brains are so large.

The reason why some primates have bigger brains that others is often said to be their social behaviour. That is, primates that move around in bigger and more complex social groups require bigger brains in order to efficiently manage all of those social relations.

The new analysis found that diet – not social group size – was the key factor linked to brain size. This theory has been around for over two decades, and is called “the social brain hypothesis”. Following a large-scale analysis of primates, Higham and his colleague Alex DeCasien are confident that the social brain theory does not tell the whole story.

Rather, brain size is more accuratly predicted by primates’ diet, accoring to their new study published in the journal Nature, Ecology and Evolution. To come to his conclusion, the team , led by DeCasien, put together a dataset of 140 primate species, including animals like the aye-aye and several other species of gibbon. This allowed them to compare the size of primate brains and several social behavioural factors, such as group size and social structure.

They tell me that this is the first time such a large dataset has been used to explore the idea. When the social brain hyptthesis was formulated, it did not consider primates like orang-utans, which have large brains despite often living solitary lives. The new analysis found that diet – not social group size – was the key factor linked to brain size.

That is not to say that social group size plays no role in the evolution of large brains. It has been long known that fruit-eating primates (frugivores) tend to have bigger brains than leaf-eating primated (folivores), says Higham. This might be because there are benefits to eating fruit. It has a higher nutritional value and is far easier to digest than leaves.

However, it is also a more demanding diet in some ways. For instance, fruit is more patchily distributed in both space and time, which makes the tasks of finding food more complex, says Higham. That is not ot say that the social group size plays no role in evolution of large brains, says the authors. Because fruit can be less abundant than leaves, frugivores often travel across larger ranges. They tend to form larger social groups for those long journeys.

“If there’s another group in that fruit tree, what determines which group ends up holding the fruit is usually just about group size,” says Higham.

DeCasien and Higham are aware that their findings will have their critics. I put their conclusions to the research behind the social brain hypothesis, Robin Dunbar of the University of Oxford in the UK. He contests the findings.

First, Dunbar says that t is not overall brain size that is the important factor. Instead, it is the size of a particular part of the brain called the neocortex, which plays an important role in cognition, spatial reasoning and language.

“There is an important distinction between neocortex volume and brain volume,” says Dunbar. “The original social brain analyses showed that social group size does not correlate especially well (if at all) with total brain size, but only with neocortex size. That would be difficult to reconcile with their claim.”

Second, Dunbar points out that social group size and diet need not be two alternative explanations of brain evolution. “Both are necessarily true,” he says. In line with DeCasien and Higham, Dunbar thinks these features must be connectedat a deep level. “You cannot evolve a large brain to handle anything, social or otherwise, unless you change your diet allow greater nutrient acquisition, so as to grow a larger brain,” he says.

However, Dunbar still maintains that social group size, not diet, is the key driving force.

38. What is the best substitute for an intriguing new idea (paragraph 1)?

  1. A captivating new idea
  2. A mysterious new idea
  3. A refreshing new idea
  4. A peculiar new idea

39. A criticism of the ‘social brain hypothesis’ by DeCasien and associates is that

  1. there is no comparison between brain size and nutrition
  2. too much emphasis was given to fruit eating primates
  3. there was insufficient sampling of primates
  4. social behaviour is difficult to study

40. Fruit is more patchily distributed (paragraph 7) means 

  1. in greater variety
  2. in demand
  3. seasonal
  4. scarce

41. Which of the following conclusions from paragraph 6 and 7 is made by the researchers in New York University?

  1. Fruit eating primates develop heavier brains.
  2. Social group size does play a role in brain size.
  3. Getting enough food is a challenge for primates.
  4. Traveling long distances for food is common among folivores.

42. In paragraph 8, Higham’s statement can be paraphrased as

  1. fruit eating primates compete for food which is scarce
  2. primates in the competing larger group will get the food
  3. group size is of utmost importance in determining food ownership 
  4. strong competition exists between primate groups in the search for food

43. DeCasien and Higham’s findings were conveyed to Dunbar because he

  1. was a critic of both theories
  2. developed the social brain theory
  3. worked at a prestigious university
  4. was not satisfied with their findings

44. What is Dunbar’s stand on DeCasien and Higham’s finding?

  1. He partially agrees with them
  2. He disagrees with them
  3. He concurs with them
  4. He remains neutral

45. What is the purpose of the passage?

  1. To explain the debate of the theory of evolution
  2. To present findings on the effects of group size
  3. To report on alternative theories on brain size
  4. To discuss differences in diets of primates


30. D

31. A

32. C

33. A

34. D

35. B

36. C

37. B

38. A

39. C

40. D

41. B

42. B

43. A

44. A

45. A

—–Paper Ends—–

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