首页 > 雅思考试报名学习 > 正文

[阅读练习]雅思考试阅读模拟试题4(含答案)
2014-03-19 15:44:03   来源:   评论:0 点击:

  2012年雅思考试阅读模拟试题(含答案)  The Triumph of Unreason  A   Neoclassical economics is built on theassumptio

  2012年雅思考试阅读模拟试题(含答案)

  The Triumph of Unreason

  A.

  Neoclassical economics is built on theassumption that humans are rational beings whohave a clear idea of their best interests and strive toextract maximum benefit (or “utility”, in economist-speak) from any situation. Neoclassical economicsassumes that the process of decision-making isrational. But that contradicts growing evidencethat decision-making draws on the emotions—even when reason is clearly involved.

  B.

  The role of emotions in decisions makes perfect sense. For situations met frequently in thepast, such as obtaining food and mates, and confronting or fleeing from threats, the neuralmechanisms required to weigh up the pros and cons will have been honed by evolution toproduce an optimal outcome. Since emotion is the mechanism by which animals are proddedtowards such outcomes, evolutionary and economic theory predict the same practicalconsequences for utility in these cases. But does this still apply when the ancestral machineryhas to respond to the stimuli of urban modernity?

  C.

  One of the people who thinks that it does not is George Loewenstein, an economist atCarnegie Mellon University, in Pittsburgh. In particular, he suspects that modern shopping hassubverted the decision-making machinery in a way that encourages people to run up debt. Toprove the point he has teamed up with two psychologists, Brian Knutson of Stanford Universityand Drazen Prelec of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, to look at what happens in thebrain when it is deciding what to buy.

  D.

  In a study, the three researchers asked 26 volunteers to decide whether to buy a series ofproducts such as a box of chocolates or a DVD of the television show that were flashed on acomputer screen one after another. In each round of the task, the researchers first presentedthe product and then its price, with each step lasting four seconds. In the final stage, whichalso lasted four seconds, they asked the volunteers to make up their minds. While thevolunteers were taking part in the experiment, the researchers scanned their brains using atechnique called functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). This measures blood flowand oxygen consumption in the brain, as an indication of its activity.

  E.

  The researchers found that different parts of the brain were involved at different stages ofthe test. The nucleus accumbens was the most active part when a product was beingdisplayed. Moreover, the level of its activity correlated with the reported desirability of theproduct in question.

  F.

  When the price appeared, however, fMRI reported more activity in other parts of the brain.Excessively high prices increased activity in the insular cortex, a brain region linked toexpectations of pain, monetary loss and the viewing of upsetting pictures. The researchersalso found greater activity in this region of the brain when the subject decided not to purchasean item.

  G.

  Price information activated the medial prefrontal cortex, too. This part of the brain isinvolved in rational calculation. In the experiment its activity seemed to correlate with avolunteer’s reaction to both product and price, rather than to price alone. Thus, the sense of agood bargain evoked higher activity levels in the medial prefrontal cortex, and this oftenpreceded a decision to buy.

  H.

  People’s shopping behaviour therefore seems to have piggy-backed on old neural circuitsevolved for anticipation of reward and the avoidance of hazards. What Dr Loewenstein foundinteresting was the separation of the assessment of the product (which seems to beassociated with the nucleus accumbens) from the assessment of its price (associated with theinsular cortex), even though the two are then synthesised in the prefrontal cortex. Hishypothesis is that rather than weighing the present good against future alternatives, asorthodox economics suggests happens, people actually balance the immediate pleasure of theprospective possession of a product with the immediate pain of paying for it.

  I.

  That makes perfect sense as an evolved mechanism for trading. If one useful object isbeing traded for another (hard cash in modern time), the future utility of what is being given upis embedded in the object being traded. Emotion is as capable of assigning such a value asreason. Buying on credit, though, may be different. The abstract nature of credit cards,coupled with the deferment of payment that they promise, may modulate the “con” side of thecalculation in favour of the “pro”.

  J.

  Whether it actually does so will be the subject of further experiments that the threeresearchers are now designing. These will test whether people with distinctly different spendingbehaviour, such as miserliness and extravagance, experience different amounts of pain inresponse to prices. They will also assess whether, in the same individuals, buying with creditcards eases the pain compared with paying by cash. If they find that it does, then credit cardsmay have to join the list of things such as fatty and sugary foods, and recreational drugs, thatsubvert human instincts in ways that seem pleasurable at the time but can have a long andmalign aftertaste.

相关热词搜索: 雅思考试 模拟试题