Test: Reading Comprehension- 3


20 Questions MCQ Test Verbal for GMAT | Test: Reading Comprehension- 3


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QUESTION: 1

Recent studies on Native American languages point towards an alarming problem in the United States today. Language loss, a global phenomenon, is accelerating among indigenous groups in the United States.  A large majority of Native American vernaculars are spoken only by elders and the remainder are fast approaching that status, as growing numbers of children speak only English.

To many, the precedence of one “common” language seems like an achievement of globalisation and hence they argue that it would be wiser to spend resources on improving the English speaking skills of Native Americans rather than resuscitating fading tongues. However, no language is just a collection of words and, therefore, languages are not so simply substitutable for each other. Each language is a unique tool for analyzing and synthesizing the world and to lose such a tool is to forget a way of constructing reality, blotting out a perspective evolved over many generations. Native American languages express ideas on which Native American cultures are anchored; a native language does not just reflect a culture - in a functional sense it is the culture. These languages are based on entirely different histories, scientific and natural-world understandings, spiritual beliefs, and political and legal ideas. They capture concepts that do not exist in English. In essence, they are based on different realities.

Realising the magnitude of this language-loss, most indigenous tribes today are making some type of effort toward a language-comeback. These efforts include everything from instituting apprenticeship programs, which pair a fluent elder with a student, to using, what may seem like an unusual tool because of the inherent reservations in Native American communities to being photographed or recorded in any form, technology such as YouTube videos of native speakers or Google Hangout video chats for live, long-distance conversations. The idea is to engage the younger members of the tribe who, in their effort to fit in to the more popular culture, are quickly losing ties with their unique heritage.

Which of the following statements would the author most likely agree with?

Solution:

Passage Analysis

Summary and Main Point

Prethinking

This is an Inference question. Four out of the five given answer choices will not follow from what is stated in the passage; these answer choices are INCORRECT. Select the answer choice that is bolstered by specific facts/ideas mentioned in the passage. 

Answer Choices

A

Because some Native American communities are inherently averse to being photographed or recorded in any form, their languages are at an even greater risk of reaching extinction.

Incorrect: Out of Context

The author draws no such cause and effect relationship. Yes, the aversion to being photographed or recorded is mentioned but that is to highlight how the use of technology as tool to revive these languages might seem as a rather odd choice.

B

Same events can be understood differently across cultures, cultures which do not necessarily share the same contexts.

Correct

This can be derived from the following section of the passage:

Each language is a unique tool… do not exist in English.

 

In the above section of the passage, the author states that languages convey unique perceptions of events (world) and to lose a language is to lose this perspective. He/she also states that a native language is the foundation of the culture itself. The author then goes on to say that these Native American languages capture concepts that do not exist in English. From this analysis, we can understand that the author would agree that perspectives are context driven and accordingly, across cultures same events could be viewed/interpreted differently.

C

Globalization has had many unintended consequences such as the dominance of English as a language over some ethnic minorities.

Incorrect: Out of Scope

First of all, there is no given information to establish whether the dominance of English over some ethnic minorities is an “unintended” effect of globalization. Secondly, the author mentions globalization while presenting the opinion of people who think that the dominance of English as a language is an achievement of globalization. However, the author never gives any opinion confirming that it is indeed a result of globalization. Finally, this choice makes a broader statement about globalization that talks about more than one effect of the same.

D

Although language loss is a global phenomenon, the scale at which it has affected Native American languages is probably the most severe.

Incorrect: Inconsistent

The passage does mention that language loss is a global phenomenon and that it is accelerating among Native American languages; however, the author gives no information to support any comparison between the language loss in Native American languages and that in other languages.  

E

The younger generation of Native Americans is not as aware of the near extinct state of Native American languages as the older generation is.

Incorrect: Out of Scope

There is no information given to support any sort of comparison between the awareness levels of the two generations. All that we can infer is that the older generation of Native Americans is more likely to speak their language than the younger generation is.

 

QUESTION: 2

Recent studies on Native American languages point towards an alarming problem in the United States today. Language loss, a global phenomenon, is accelerating among indigenous groups in the United States.  A large majority of Native American vernaculars are spoken only by elders and the remainder are fast approaching that status, as growing numbers of children speak only English.

To many, the precedence of one “common” language seems like an achievement of globalisation and hence they argue that it would be wiser to spend resources on improving the English speaking skills of Native Americans rather than resuscitating fading tongues. However, no language is just a collection of words and, therefore, languages are not so simply substitutable for each other. Each language is a unique tool for analyzing and synthesizing the world and to lose such a tool is to forget a way of constructing reality, blotting out a perspective evolved over many generations. Native American languages express ideas on which Native American cultures are anchored; a native language does not just reflect a culture - in a functional sense it is the culture. These languages are based on entirely different histories, scientific and natural-world understandings, spiritual beliefs, and political and legal ideas. They capture concepts that do not exist in English. In essence, they are based on different realities.

Realising the magnitude of this language-loss, most indigenous tribes today are making some type of effort toward a language-comeback. These efforts include everything from instituting apprenticeship programs, which pair a fluent elder with a student, to using, what may seem like an unusual tool because of the inherent reservations in Native American communities to being photographed or recorded in any form, technology such as YouTube videos of native speakers or Google Hangout video chats for live, long-distance conversations. The idea is to engage the younger members of the tribe who, in their effort to fit in to the more popular culture, are quickly losing ties with their unique heritage.

The author is primarily concerned with

Solution:

Passage Analysis

Summary and Main Point

Prethinking

This is a Main Idea question. As seen in the summary and main point section, the first paragraph introduces the problem of language loss in Native American language. The second paragraph focuses on the author’s perspective on why languages are not substitutable, especially why English cannot replace Native American language. Finally, the third paragraph talks about the kind of efforts being made by the indigenous tribes to revive their languages. In all, the entire passage is geared towards explaining the nature of a problem and certain efforts being made to overcome it.

Answer Choices

A

To explain the nature of a problem and certain remedial measures being taken for it

Correct

This choice matches our pre-thinking analysis.

B

To present two contradictory perspectives on a problem

Incorrect: Partial Scope

In a sense, the two perspectives mentioned in the second paragraph are opposite to each other since one considers language as substitutable for each other and the other doesn’t; however, these perspectives form the content of only the second paragraph and not the whole passage.

C

To explain a problem while proposing a solution to it

Incorrect: Inconsistent

The author does explain a problem but does not propose any solution to it.

D

To corroborate the findings of certain recent studies

Incorrect: Out of Scope

We do get the sense that the author agrees with the findings of the studies mentioned in the first paragraph; however, the passage is not written from the point of view of validating these findings. 

E

To appreciate the efforts made to rectify a situation that is not normally seen as a problem

Incorrect: Out of Scope

First of all, we don’t know what the normal/general view is on the issue of language loss in Native American languages. Second of all, the author neither appreciates nor criticizes the mentioned effort. He/she simply states them while bringing out the underlying reason behind these efforts.

 

QUESTION: 3

Though the truism about Inuits having a hundred words for snow is an exaggeration, languages really are full of charming quirks that reveal the character of a culture. Dialects of Scottish Gaelic, for instance, traditionally spoken in the Highlands and, later on, in fishing villages, have a great many very specific words for seaweed, as well as names for each of the components of a rabbit snare and a word for an egg that emerges from a hen sans shell. Unfortunately for those who find these details fascinating, languages are going extinct at an incredible clip, - one dies every 14 days - and linguists are rushing around with tape recorders and word lists, trying to record at least a fragment of each before they go. The only way the old tongues will stick around is if populations themselves decide that there is something of value in them, whether for reasons of patriotism, cultural heritage, or just to lure in some language-curious tourists. But even when the general public opinion is for preservation of their linguistic diversity, linguists are finding it increasingly difficult to achieve such a task.

Mathematicians can help linguists out in this mission. To provide a test environment for programs that encourage the learning of endangered local languages, Anne Kandler and her colleagues decided to make a mathematical model of the speakers of Scottish Gaelic. This was an apposite choice because the local population was already becoming increasingly conscious about the cultural value of their language and statistics of the Gaelic speakers was readily available. The model the mathematicians built not only uses statistics such as the number of people speaking the languages, the number of polyglots and rate of change in these numbers but also figures which represent the economic value of the language and the perceived cultural value amongst people. These numbers were substituted in the differential equations of the model to find out the number of new Gaelic speakers required annually to stop the dwindling of the Gaelic population. The estimate of the number determined by Kandler’s research helped the national Gaelic Development Agency to formulate an effective plan towards the preserving the language.  

Many languages such as Quechua, Chinook and Istrian Vlashki can be saved using such mathematical models. Results from mathematical equations can be useful in strategically planning preservation strategies. Similarly mathematical analysis of languages which have survived against many odds can also provide useful insights which can be applied towards saving other endangered languages.

The passage is primarily concerned with which of the following?

Solution:
QUESTION: 4

Though the truism about Inuits having a hundred words for snow is an exaggeration, languages really are full of charming quirks that reveal the character of a culture. Dialects of Scottish Gaelic, for instance, traditionally spoken in the Highlands and, later on, in fishing villages, have a great many very specific words for seaweed, as well as names for each of the components of a rabbit snare and a word for an egg that emerges from a hen sans shell. Unfortunately for those who find these details fascinating, languages are going extinct at an incredible clip, - one dies every 14 days - and linguists are rushing around with tape recorders and word lists, trying to record at least a fragment of each before they go. The only way the old tongues will stick around is if populations themselves decide that there is something of value in them, whether for reasons of patriotism, cultural heritage, or just to lure in some language-curious tourists. But even when the general public opinion is for preservation of their linguistic diversity, linguists are finding it increasingly difficult to achieve such a task.

Mathematicians can help linguists out in this mission. To provide a test environment for programs that encourage the learning of endangered local languages, Anne Kandler and her colleagues decided to make a mathematical model of the speakers of Scottish Gaelic. This was an apposite choice because the local population was already becoming increasingly conscious about the cultural value of their language and statistics of the Gaelic speakers was readily available. The model the mathematicians built not only uses statistics such as the number of people speaking the languages, the number of polyglots and rate of change in these numbers but also figures which represent the economic value of the language and the perceived cultural value amongst people. These numbers were substituted in the differential equations of the model to find out the number of new Gaelic speakers required annually to stop the dwindling of the Gaelic population. The estimate of the number determined by Kandler’s research helped the national Gaelic Development Agency to formulate an effective plan towards the preserving the language.  

Many languages such as Quechua, Chinook and Istrian Vlashki can be saved using such mathematical models. Results from mathematical equations can be useful in strategically planning preservation strategies. Similarly mathematical analysis of languages which have survived against many odds can also provide useful insights which can be applied towards saving other endangered languages.

Which of the following best describes the relation of the first paragraph to the passage as a whole?

Solution:
QUESTION: 5

Though the truism about Inuits having a hundred words for snow is an exaggeration, languages really are full of charming quirks that reveal the character of a culture. Dialects of Scottish Gaelic, for instance, traditionally spoken in the Highlands and, later on, in fishing villages, have a great many very specific words for seaweed, as well as names for each of the components of a rabbit snare and a word for an egg that emerges from a hen sans shell. Unfortunately for those who find these details fascinating, languages are going extinct at an incredible clip, - one dies every 14 days - and linguists are rushing around with tape recorders and word lists, trying to record at least a fragment of each before they go. The only way the old tongues will stick around is if populations themselves decide that there is something of value in them, whether for reasons of patriotism, cultural heritage, or just to lure in some language-curious tourists. But even when the general public opinion is for preservation of their linguistic diversity, linguists are finding it increasingly difficult to achieve such a task.

Mathematicians can help linguists out in this mission. To provide a test environment for programs that encourage the learning of endangered local languages, Anne Kandler and her colleagues decided to make a mathematical model of the speakers of Scottish Gaelic. This was an apposite choice because the local population was already becoming increasingly conscious about the cultural value of their language and statistics of the Gaelic speakers was readily available. The model the mathematicians built not only uses statistics such as the number of people speaking the languages, the number of polyglots and rate of change in these numbers but also figures which represent the economic value of the language and the perceived cultural value amongst people. These numbers were substituted in the differential equations of the model to find out the number of new Gaelic speakers required annually to stop the dwindling of the Gaelic population. The estimate of the number determined by Kandler’s research helped the national Gaelic Development Agency to formulate an effective plan towards the preserving the language.  

Many languages such as Quechua, Chinook and Istrian Vlashki can be saved using such mathematical models. Results from mathematical equations can be useful in strategically planning preservation strategies. Similarly mathematical analysis of languages which have survived against many odds can also provide useful insights which can be applied towards saving other endangered languages.

The Author’s conclusion that ‘languages such as Quechua, Chinook, and Istrian Vlashki can be saved using such mathematical models’ (beginning of last para.) is most weakened if which of the following is found to be true?

Solution:
QUESTION: 6

The role of nurturing in determining one’s behavioral traits has been hotly contested. Historically, geneticists believed that behavioral traits are inherited. After all, many properties of the brain are genetically organized and don't depend on information coming in from the senses. Since active genes are essentially inherited, most traditional geneticists believe that nurturing environment plays little role in shaping one’s behavioral traits.

However, a new line of research indicated that methyl groups can activate dormant genes, bringing about a slew of changes much later in a person’s life. The methyl group works like a placeholder in a cookbook, attaching to the DNA within each cell to select only those recipes - er, genes - necessary for that particular cell’s proteins, telling the DNA what kind of cells to form.  The first such observation was in which methyl groups activated by causes ranging from exposure to certain chemicals to changes in diet set off a cascade of cellular changes resulting in cancer. Because methyl groups are attached to the genes, residing beside but separate from the double-helix DNA code, their study is dubbed epigenetics - “epi” referring to Greek for outer or above. 

Behavioral geneticists, encouraged by this discovery proved that traumatic experiences such as child neglect, drug abuse, or other severe stresses also set off epigenetic changes to the DNA inside the neurons of a person’s brain, permanently altering behavior.  Similarly, through multivariate analysis, they proved that identical twins, in scenarios where one twin has gone through a life altering event, can have vastly different reaction to a stressful situation.

The primary purpose of the passage is to

Solution:
QUESTION: 7

The role of nurturing in determining one’s behavioral traits has been hotly contested. Historically, geneticists believed that behavioral traits are inherited. After all, many properties of the brain are genetically organized and don't depend on information coming in from the senses. Since active genes are essentially inherited, most traditional geneticists believe that nurturing environment plays little role in shaping one’s behavioral traits.

However, a new line of research indicated that methyl groups can activate dormant genes, bringing about a slew of changes much later in a person’s life. The methyl group works like a placeholder in a cookbook, attaching to the DNA within each cell to select only those recipes - er, genes - necessary for that particular cell’s proteins, telling the DNA what kind of cells to form.  The first such observation was in which methyl groups activated by causes ranging from exposure to certain chemicals to changes in diet set off a cascade of cellular changes resulting in cancer. Because methyl groups are attached to the genes, residing beside but separate from the double-helix DNA code, their study is dubbed epigenetics - “epi” referring to Greek for outer or above. 

Behavioral geneticists, encouraged by this discovery proved that traumatic experiences such as child neglect, drug abuse, or other severe stresses also set off epigenetic changes to the DNA inside the neurons of a person’s brain, permanently altering behavior.  Similarly, through multivariate analysis, they proved that identical twins, in scenarios where one twin has gone through a life altering event, can have vastly different reaction to a stressful situation.

Why does the author state “After all, many properties of the brain are genetically organized, and don't depend on information coming in from the senses”:

Solution:

Answer Choices

A

to provide a reason for geneticists belief that behavioral traits are inherited.

CORRECT: This is what we deduced from our pre-thinking.

B

to prove that active genes and not dormant genes define key behavioral traits.

OUT OF SCOPE: This is not the reason why he states this sentence.

C

to describe the role played by genetic inheritance in determining one’s personality.

OUT OF SCOPE: This sentence does not describe but rather presents a reason.

D

to indicate that there have been few experiments in the past linking behavior and life experience.

OUT OF SCOPE: This is certainly not the reason.

E

to lay the foundation for the development of epigenetics.

OUT OF SCOPE: This is just opposite in connection to epigenetics.

QUESTION: 8

The role of nurturing in determining one’s behavioral traits has been hotly contested. Historically, geneticists believed that behavioral traits are inherited. After all, many properties of the brain are genetically organized and don't depend on information coming in from the senses. Since active genes are essentially inherited, most traditional geneticists believe that nurturing environment plays little role in shaping one’s behavioral traits.

However, a new line of research indicated that methyl groups can activate dormant genes, bringing about a slew of changes much later in a person’s life. The methyl group works like a placeholder in a cookbook, attaching to the DNA within each cell to select only those recipes - er, genes - necessary for that particular cell’s proteins, telling the DNA what kind of cells to form.  The first such observation was in which methyl groups activated by causes ranging from exposure to certain chemicals to changes in diet set off a cascade of cellular changes resulting in cancer. Because methyl groups are attached to the genes, residing beside but separate from the double-helix DNA code, their study is dubbed epigenetics - “epi” referring to Greek for outer or above. 

Behavioral geneticists, encouraged by this discovery proved that traumatic experiences such as child neglect, drug abuse, or other severe stresses also set off epigenetic changes to the DNA inside the neurons of a person’s brain, permanently altering behavior.  Similarly, through multivariate analysis, they proved that identical twins, in scenarios where one twin has gone through a life altering event, can have vastly different reaction to a stressful situation.

Which of the following may be inferred from the passage?

Solution:

Answer Choices

A

It is quite likely for twins to develop different personality traits.

OUT OF SCOPE: The phrase “quite likely” makes this choice extreme

B

Resetting the changes introduced by corresponding methyl groups can help cure cancer.

OUT OF SCOPE: The passage says that certain changes in methyl group can result in cancer but the reverse cannot be inferred.

C

Most cancers are caused due to one’s life experiences rather than due to one’s genetic make-up.

OUT OF SCOPE: This cannot be inferred.

D

Traumatic experiences that activate dormant genes can bring about behavioral changes.

This indeed is the CORRECT answer.

E

Identical twins who have led different lives are likely to have different behavioral traits.

OUT OF SCOPE: The word likely makes this choice incorrect.

QUESTION: 9

The role of nurturing in determining one’s behavioral traits has been hotly contested. Historically, geneticists believed that behavioral traits are inherited. After all, many properties of the brain are genetically organized and don't depend on information coming in from the senses. Since active genes are essentially inherited, most traditional geneticists believe that nurturing environment plays little role in shaping one’s behavioral traits.

However, a new line of research indicated that methyl groups can activate dormant genes, bringing about a slew of changes much later in a person’s life. The methyl group works like a placeholder in a cookbook, attaching to the DNA within each cell to select only those recipes - er, genes - necessary for that particular cell’s proteins, telling the DNA what kind of cells to form.  The first such observation was in which methyl groups activated by causes ranging from exposure to certain chemicals to changes in diet set off a cascade of cellular changes resulting in cancer. Because methyl groups are attached to the genes, residing beside but separate from the double-helix DNA code, their study is dubbed epigenetics - “epi” referring to Greek for outer or above. 

Behavioral geneticists, encouraged by this discovery proved that traumatic experiences such as child neglect, drug abuse, or other severe stresses also set off epigenetic changes to the DNA inside the neurons of a person’s brain, permanently altering behavior.  Similarly, through multivariate analysis, they proved that identical twins, in scenarios where one twin has gone through a life altering event, can have vastly different reaction to a stressful situation.

In the context of this passage, what is the importance of the example illustrating how cancer is caused?

Solution:

Answer Choices

A

It proved that life experiences can alter a person’s personality traits.

OUT OF SCOPE: The illustration does not prove this point.

B

It provided definitive proof of personality change in a person much later in his life.

OUT OF SCOPE:It does not prove anything about personality change. 

C

It showed that genes that may be dormant could be activated by external triggers many years after birth.

This indeed is the CORRECT answer. 

D

It led to the coining of the term - epigenetics.

OUT OF SCOPE: This is not the purpose of the illustration. 

E

It led to a boom in the study of Behavioral genetics.

OUT OF SCOPE: This is certainly not the purpose. 

QUESTION: 10

Proverbial wisdom states that “birds of a feather flock together.”  Studies have shown that people of similar geographical and educational backgrounds and functional experience are extremely likely to found companies together.  Not considering spousal teams in the dataset, it has been found that a founding team is five times more likely to be all-male or all-female team.  Also, it is more likely to find founding teams that are remarkably homogenous with regard to skills and functional backgrounds.  

Homogeneity has important benefits. For the founder struggling to meet the challenges of a growing startup, selecting cofounders from among the people with whom he or she probably has important things in common is often the quickest and easiest solution. Not only does it generally take less time to find such people, but it also generally takes less time to develop effective working relationships with such similar people.  When founders share a background, they share a common language that facilitates communication, ensuring that the team begins the work relationship with a mutual understanding and hence can skip over part of the learning curve that would absorb the energies of people with very different backgrounds.  Increasing homogeneity may therefore be a particularly alluring- and, in some ways, a particularly sensible - approach for novice founders heading into unfamiliar territory.  Certainly, studies have found that the greater the heterogeneity among executive team members, the greater the risk of interpersonal conflict and the lower the group-level integration.  Even though it is very appealing to opt for the “comfortable” and “easy” decision to found with similar cofounders, by doing so founders may be causing long-term problems.  Teams with a wide range of pertinent functional skills may be able to build more valuable and enduring startups.  Conversely, homogenous teams tend to have overlapping human capital, making it more likely that the team will have redundant strengths and be missing critical skills.

From the passage, which of the following cannot be inferred as a benefit of homogenous teams?

Solution:
QUESTION: 11

Proverbial wisdom states that “birds of a feather flock together.”  Studies have shown that people of similar geographical and educational backgrounds and functional experience are extremely likely to found companies together.  Not considering spousal teams in the dataset, it has been found that a founding team is five times more likely to be all-male or all-female team.  Also, it is more likely to find founding teams that are remarkably homogenous with regard to skills and functional backgrounds.  

Homogeneity has important benefits. For the founder struggling to meet the challenges of a growing startup, selecting cofounders from among the people with whom he or she probably has important things in common is often the quickest and easiest solution. Not only does it generally take less time to find such people, but it also generally takes less time to develop effective working relationships with such similar people.  When founders share a background, they share a common language that facilitates communication, ensuring that the team begins the work relationship with a mutual understanding and hence can skip over part of the learning curve that would absorb the energies of people with very different backgrounds.  Increasing homogeneity may therefore be a particularly alluring- and, in some ways, a particularly sensible - approach for novice founders heading into unfamiliar territory.  Certainly, studies have found that the greater the heterogeneity among executive team members, the greater the risk of interpersonal conflict and the lower the group-level integration.  Even though it is very appealing to opt for the “comfortable” and “easy” decision to found with similar cofounders, by doing so founders may be causing long-term problems.  Teams with a wide range of pertinent functional skills may be able to build more valuable and enduring startups.  Conversely, homogenous teams tend to have overlapping human capital, making it more likely that the team will have redundant strengths and be missing critical skills.

Which of the following can be inferred about start-ups that comprise of homogenous teams?

Solution:
QUESTION: 12

Proverbial wisdom states that “birds of a feather flock together.”  Studies have shown that people of similar geographical and educational backgrounds and functional experience are extremely likely to found companies together.  Not considering spousal teams in the dataset, it has been found that a founding team is five times more likely to be all-male or all-female team.  Also, it is more likely to find founding teams that are remarkably homogenous with regard to skills and functional backgrounds.  

Homogeneity has important benefits. For the founder struggling to meet the challenges of a growing startup, selecting cofounders from among the people with whom he or she probably has important things in common is often the quickest and easiest solution. Not only does it generally take less time to find such people, but it also generally takes less time to develop effective working relationships with such similar people.  When founders share a background, they share a common language that facilitates communication, ensuring that the team begins the work relationship with a mutual understanding and hence can skip over part of the learning curve that would absorb the energies of people with very different backgrounds.  Increasing homogeneity may therefore be a particularly alluring- and, in some ways, a particularly sensible - approach for novice founders heading into unfamiliar territory.  Certainly, studies have found that the greater the heterogeneity among executive team members, the greater the risk of interpersonal conflict and the lower the group-level integration.  Even though it is very appealing to opt for the “comfortable” and “easy” decision to found with similar cofounders, by doing so founders may be causing long-term problems.  Teams with a wide range of pertinent functional skills may be able to build more valuable and enduring startups.  Conversely, homogenous teams tend to have overlapping human capital, making it more likely that the team will have redundant strengths and be missing critical skills.

The author’s main purpose of writing the passage is to:

Solution:
QUESTION: 13

In the year 1885, the Eiffel firm, which was named after the French engineer and architect Gustave Eiffel and which had extensive experience in structural engineering, undertook a series of investigations of tall metallic piers based upon its recent experiences with several railway viaducts and bridges. The most spectacular of these was the famous Garabit Viaduct, which carries a railroad some 400 feet above the valley of the Truyere in southern France. The design of this structure was the inspiration for the design of a 395-foot pier, which, although never incorporated into a bridge, is said to have been the direct basis for the Eiffel Tower. Preliminary studies for a 300-meter tower were made with the intention of showcasing it in the 1889 fair called Exposition Universelle. With an assurance born of positive knowledge, Eiffel in June of 1886 approached the Exposition commissioners with the project. There can be no doubt that only the singular respect with which Eiffel was regarded not only by his profession but by the entire nation motivated the Commission to approve a plan which, in the hands of a figure of less stature, would have been considered grossly impractical.

Between this time and the commencement of the Tower’s construction at the end of January 1887, there arose one of the most persistently annoying of the numerous difficulties, both structural and social, which confronted Eiffel as the project advanced. In the wake of the initial enthusiasm—on the part of the fair’s Commission that was inspired by the desire to create a monument to highlight French technological achievement, and on the part of the majority of French people by the stirring of their imagination at the magnitude of the structure—there grew a rising movement of disfavor. At the center of this movement was, not surprisingly, the intelligentsia, but objections were made by prominent French people from all walks of life.

The most interesting point to be noted in a retrospection of this often violent opposition is that, although every aspect of the Tower was attacked, there was remarkably little criticism of its structural feasibility, either by the engineering profession or, as seems traditionally to be the case with bold and unprecedented undertakings, by large numbers of the technically uninformed population. True, there was an undercurrent of what might be characterized as unease by many property owners in the structure’s shadow, but the most obstinate element of resistance was that which deplored the Tower as a mechanistic intrusion upon the architectural and natural beauties of Paris. This resistance voiced its fury in a flood of special newspaper editions, petitions, and manifestos signed by such lights of the fine and literary arts as De Maupassant, Gounod, Dumas fils, and others.

Based on the discussion of public opinion regarding the Eiffel Tower's construction it can be inferred that

Solution:

Passage Analysis

Summary and Main Point

Pre-Thinking

This is an Inference question. The word "inferred" indicates the correct answer will follow closely from what is directly stated in the passage, but it may not itself be explicitly stated in the passage. Select the answer choice that is most strongly bolstered by specific facts mentioned in the passage.

Answer Choices

A

the poorer Parisians took to the Tower more readily than the educated classes

Incorrect: Out of Scope

There is no mention of the poorer Parisians in the passage and nothing to associate money with the Tower’s popularity.

B

early in its planning, the Tower was generally embraced by most of the French people

Correct 

The second paragraph states, “In the wake of the initial enthusiasm—on the part of the fair’s Commission that was then inspired by the desire to create a monument to highlight French technological achievement, and on the part of the majority of French people by the stirring of their imagination at the magnitude of the structure—there grew a rising movement of disfavor.” According the passage most Frenchmen were in fact initially supportive and enthusiastic. It was only later that “disfavor” began to grow.

C

those who disagreed with the plans for the Tower were mostly members of the intelligentsia

Incorrect: Inconsistent

The intelligentsia was at the center of the movement. It doesn't mean that majority of the people who objected to the plans were members of the same.

D

there was no disagreement about whether a 300-meter tower could be constructed

Incorrect: Inconsistent

The passage says, “there was remarkably little criticism of its structural feasibility” in the third paragraph. On the basis of this statement, one cannot infer that there was no criticism at all. The phrase “little criticism” could also imply insignificant criticism. 

E

those living closest to the tower's site were the most supportive of it

Incorrect: Opposite

In the final paragraph the passage mentions: “there was an undercurrent of what might be characterized as unease by many property owners in the structure’s shadow.” They were not supportive, but nervous at the idea of having such a tall structure so close to their homes and businesses.

QUESTION: 14

In the year 1885, the Eiffel firm, which was named after the French engineer and architect Gustave Eiffel and which had extensive experience in structural engineering, undertook a series of investigations of tall metallic piers based upon its recent experiences with several railway viaducts and bridges. The most spectacular of these was the famous Garabit Viaduct, which carries a railroad some 400 feet above the valley of the Truyere in southern France. The design of this structure was the inspiration for the design of a 395-foot pier, which, although never incorporated into a bridge, is said to have been the direct basis for the Eiffel Tower. Preliminary studies for a 300-meter tower were made with the intention of showcasing it in the 1889 fair called Exposition Universelle. With an assurance born of positive knowledge, Eiffel in June of 1886 approached the Exposition commissioners with the project. There can be no doubt that only the singular respect with which Eiffel was regarded not only by his profession but by the entire nation motivated the Commission to approve a plan which, in the hands of a figure of less stature, would have been considered grossly impractical.

Between this time and the commencement of the Tower’s construction at the end of January 1887, there arose one of the most persistently annoying of the numerous difficulties, both structural and social, which confronted Eiffel as the project advanced. In the wake of the initial enthusiasm—on the part of the fair’s Commission that was inspired by the desire to create a monument to highlight French technological achievement, and on the part of the majority of French people by the stirring of their imagination at the magnitude of the structure—there grew a rising movement of disfavor. At the center of this movement was, not surprisingly, the intelligentsia, but objections were made by prominent French people from all walks of life.

The most interesting point to be noted in a retrospection of this often violent opposition is that, although every aspect of the Tower was attacked, there was remarkably little criticism of its structural feasibility, either by the engineering profession or, as seems traditionally to be the case with bold and unprecedented undertakings, by large numbers of the technically uninformed population. True, there was an undercurrent of what might be characterized as unease by many property owners in the structure’s shadow, but the most obstinate element of resistance was that which deplored the Tower as a mechanistic intrusion upon the architectural and natural beauties of Paris. This resistance voiced its fury in a flood of special newspaper editions, petitions, and manifestos signed by such lights of the fine and literary arts as De Maupassant, Gounod, Dumas fils, and others.

Which faction does the author refer to when he mentions “undercurrent” in the last paragraph?

Solution:

Passage Analysis

Summary and Main Point

Pre-Thinking

This is a specific inference question.   The correct answer should be implied from the passage.  We should read the part of the passage that is around the word “undercurrent” i.e. the following part of the passage to determine which faction of people this term refers to. 

“The most interesting point to be noted in a retrospection of this often violent opposition is that, although every aspect of the Tower was attacked, there was remarkably little criticism of its structural feasibility, either by the engineering profession or, as seems traditionally to be the case with bold and unprecedented undertakings, by large numbers of the technically uninformed population. True, there was an undercurrent of what might be characterized as unease by many property owners in the structure’s shadow, but the most obstinate element of resistance was that which deplored the Tower as a mechanistic intrusion upon the architectural and natural beauties of Paris. This resistance voiced its fury in a flood of special newspaper editions, petitions, and manifestos signed by such lights of the fine and literary arts as De Maupassant…”

The term “undercurrent” refers to the concerns regarding the structural integrity.  The bolded portions of the paragraph imply that people who lived close to the tower (structure’s shadow) were concerned about the structural integrity of the tower.  Thus the correct answer should specify the above.

 

Answer Choices

A

those who lived around the Eiffel Tower and were concerned about the mechanical stability of Eiffel Tower

 

Correct

This choice can be inferred from the following parts of the passage:

1:  “...there was remarkably little criticism of its structural feasibility”

2:  “True, there was an undercurrent of what might be characterized as unease by many property owners in the structure’s shadow”

In statement 1, the author says that there was only a little criticism regarding the structural stability of the tower (mechanical stability).

In statement 2, the author indicates that this little criticism indeed came from the people who lived in close proximity of the tower.    Thus the term “undercurrent” refers to this segment of people.

B

those who lived around the Eiffel Tower and were technically uninformed

Incorrect: Out of Scope


There is little information in the passage regarding the technical competence of inhabitants who lived in the vicinity of Eiffel Tower.

C

those who voiced their concerns regarding Eiffel Tower through manifestos and petitions

Incorrect: Inconsistent


The term "undercurrent" refers to the concerns regarding the structural integrity. The group of people referenced in this choice was concerned about the mechanistic intrusion upon the beauty of Paris.

D

those who deplored the Eiffel Tower as a mechanistic intrusion upon the architectural and natural beauties of Paris

Incorrect: Out of Scope


As discussed in prethinking, the term "undercurrent" refers to the concerns regarding the structural integrity and not regarding the mechanistic intrusion on the beauty of Paris.

E

those belonging to engineering profession who were concerned about the structural feasibility of the Eiffel Tower

Incorrect: Out of Scope


This group of people has not been referred to by the term "undercurrent" as determined in prethinking.

QUESTION: 15

In the year 1885, the Eiffel firm, which was named after the French engineer and architect Gustave Eiffel and which had extensive experience in structural engineering, undertook a series of investigations of tall metallic piers based upon its recent experiences with several railway viaducts and bridges. The most spectacular of these was the famous Garabit Viaduct, which carries a railroad some 400 feet above the valley of the Truyere in southern France. The design of this structure was the inspiration for the design of a 395-foot pier, which, although never incorporated into a bridge, is said to have been the direct basis for the Eiffel Tower. Preliminary studies for a 300-meter tower were made with the intention of showcasing it in the 1889 fair called Exposition Universelle. With an assurance born of positive knowledge, Eiffel in June of 1886 approached the Exposition commissioners with the project. There can be no doubt that only the singular respect with which Eiffel was regarded not only by his profession but by the entire nation motivated the Commission to approve a plan which, in the hands of a figure of less stature, would have been considered grossly impractical.

Between this time and the commencement of the Tower’s construction at the end of January 1887, there arose one of the most persistently annoying of the numerous difficulties, both structural and social, which confronted Eiffel as the project advanced. In the wake of the initial enthusiasm—on the part of the fair’s Commission that was inspired by the desire to create a monument to highlight French technological achievement, and on the part of the majority of French people by the stirring of their imagination at the magnitude of the structure—there grew a rising movement of disfavor. At the center of this movement was, not surprisingly, the intelligentsia, but objections were made by prominent French people from all walks of life.

The most interesting point to be noted in a retrospection of this often violent opposition is that, although every aspect of the Tower was attacked, there was remarkably little criticism of its structural feasibility, either by the engineering profession or, as seems traditionally to be the case with bold and unprecedented undertakings, by large numbers of the technically uninformed population. True, there was an undercurrent of what might be characterized as unease by many property owners in the structure’s shadow, but the most obstinate element of resistance was that which deplored the Tower as a mechanistic intrusion upon the architectural and natural beauties of Paris. This resistance voiced its fury in a flood of special newspaper editions, petitions, and manifestos signed by such lights of the fine and literary arts as De Maupassant, Gounod, Dumas fils, and others.

De Maupassant, Gounod, Dumas fils are mentioned by the passage in order to

Solution:

Passage Analysis

Summary and Main Point

Pre-Thinking

This is a Function question. 

Ask yourself: how does this detail act within the larger context of the passage? These three artists have been mentioned in the last sentence of the passage: This resistance voiced its fury in a flood of special newspaper editions, petitions, and manifestos signed by such lights of the fine and literary arts as De Maupassant, Gounod, Dumas fils, and others.

We can deduce that the names of these three artists have been used in the passage to show that the construction of the Eiffel Tower faced main criticism from litterateur and artists such as those mentioned in the passage.

 

Answer Choices

A

overview the leadership structure of the fine and literary arts

Incorrect: Out of Scope

There is no mention of the leadership structure for these fields.

B

list the names of the Tower's most steadfast opponents

Incorrect: Out of Scope

We do not know if these three people were the "most steadfast" out of everyone who opposed the Tower. All we know is that these people were important in their fields.

C

explain who in French society was most interested in French architecture at that time

Incorrect: Inconsistent

While these people certainly had a significant interest in architecture, enough to be concerned about a new iconic building, we don't know that they were the "most interested" during the late 19th century.

D

reveal how the creative and scientific communities were at odds over the Tower

Incorrect: Inconsistent

Just because these people were part of the artistic community does not mean these two groups were necessarily "at odds" over the Tower.

E

clarify that distinguished members of the artistic community considered the Tower as a possible eye-sore

Correct

Since this is an informational passage, the author's goal is to educate the reader. Ask yourself: by including this detail, what ABOUT the Tower, specifically, is he trying to elucidate? The passage explains that "the most obstinate element of resistance was that which deplored the Tower as a mechanistic intrusion upon the architectural and natural beauties of Paris." In the next sentence, the author mentions these people as "lights of the fine and literary arts."

QUESTION: 16

In the year 1885, the Eiffel firm, which was named after the French engineer and architect Gustave Eiffel and which had extensive experience in structural engineering, undertook a series of investigations of tall metallic piers based upon its recent experiences with several railway viaducts and bridges. The most spectacular of these was the famous Garabit Viaduct, which carries a railroad some 400 feet above the valley of the Truyere in southern France. The design of this structure was the inspiration for the design of a 395-foot pier, which, although never incorporated into a bridge, is said to have been the direct basis for the Eiffel Tower. Preliminary studies for a 300-meter tower were made with the intention of showcasing it in the 1889 fair called Exposition Universelle. With an assurance born of positive knowledge, Eiffel in June of 1886 approached the Exposition commissioners with the project. There can be no doubt that only the singular respect with which Eiffel was regarded not only by his profession but by the entire nation motivated the Commission to approve a plan which, in the hands of a figure of less stature, would have been considered grossly impractical.

Between this time and the commencement of the Tower’s construction at the end of January 1887, there arose one of the most persistently annoying of the numerous difficulties, both structural and social, which confronted Eiffel as the project advanced. In the wake of the initial enthusiasm—on the part of the fair’s Commission that was inspired by the desire to create a monument to highlight French technological achievement, and on the part of the majority of French people by the stirring of their imagination at the magnitude of the structure—there grew a rising movement of disfavor. At the center of this movement was, not surprisingly, the intelligentsia, but objections were made by prominent French people from all walks of life.

The most interesting point to be noted in a retrospection of this often violent opposition is that, although every aspect of the Tower was attacked, there was remarkably little criticism of its structural feasibility, either by the engineering profession or, as seems traditionally to be the case with bold and unprecedented undertakings, by large numbers of the technically uninformed population. True, there was an undercurrent of what might be characterized as unease by many property owners in the structure’s shadow, but the most obstinate element of resistance was that which deplored the Tower as a mechanistic intrusion upon the architectural and natural beauties of Paris. This resistance voiced its fury in a flood of special newspaper editions, petitions, and manifestos signed by such lights of the fine and literary arts as De Maupassant, Gounod, Dumas fils, and others.

Which of the following is the author’s primary purpose behind this passage?

Solution:

Passage Analysis

Summary and Main Point

Pre-Thinking

This is a Main Idea question. The correct answer must be broad enough to encompass all of the paragraphs of the passage without veering outside the scope. Incorrect answer choices are often too narrow or focus only on one or two paragraphs.

Reviewing the individual paragraph summaries, we see that the first paragraph explains how the idea to construct Eiffel Tower was convinced and got approved. The second paragraph talks about the initial support for the Tower that turned into criticism.  The last paragraph talks about the specific class that was against the construction of the Tower. Hence, the main purpose of the author in writing this passage is to present how the idea of Eiffel Tower was conceived and the the criticism it faced.

 

Answer Choices

A

To discuss the feasibility of the Eiffel Firm's plan for the Tower.

Incorrect: Partial scope

This choice includes the discussion mentioned only in the first two paragraphs. The correct answer for a Main Idea question should include ALL of the paragraphs – even the final one.   

B

To teach the history of the Eiffel Tower's precursors

Incorrect: Partial scope

The precursors to the Eiffel Tower are only mentioned in the first paragraph – the bridges and viaduct. If this were the main goal, then more precursors would be discussed in subsequent paragraphs. 

C

To explain how the Tower would not have been approved without Eiffel's reputation and knowledge of structural engineering.

Incorrect: Partial scope

While this is a detail mentioned in the second paragraph only, look for an answer choice that best encapsulates ALL of the paragraphs. 

D

To detail how the public turned against the Tower in the months after the Exposition.

Incorrect: Out of Scope

The scope of the passage focuses only on the Tower’s planning, approval, and construction. We do not know how the public felt about the Tower after the Exposition. 

E

To give a general history of the Tower's construction and the public reaction to it.

Correct

The passage is a broad overview on the structural engineering that helped build the Tower, its approval, and how the public opinion on it evolved. 

QUESTION: 17

Over the past 20,000 years, the average volume of the human male brain has decreased from 1,500 cubic centimeters to 1,350 cc, losing a chunk the size of a tennis ball. The female brain has shrunk by about the same proportion. If our brain keeps dwindling at this rate over the next 20,000 years, it will start to approach the size of the brain found in Homo erectus, a relative that lived half a million years ago and had a brain volume of only 1,100 cc.

Some believe the erosion of our gray matter means that modern humans are indeed getting dumber.  A common measure of intelligence - the encephalization quotient or EQ, defined as the ratio of brain volume to body mass - has been found to be decreasing in the recent past.  Recent studies of human fossils suggest the brain shrank more quickly than the body in near-modern times. More importantly, analysis of the genome casts doubt on the notion that modern humans are simply daintier but otherwise identical versions of our ancestors, right down to how we think and feel. Another study concluded that our present EQ is the same as that of the Cro-Magnons -  our ancestors who lived 30,000 years ago in Europe and were known more for brawniness rather than brilliance.

On the other hand, other anthropologists such as Hawks believe that as the brain shrank, its wiring became more efficient, transforming us into quicker, more agile thinkers.  They explain the shrinking by arguing that over the very period that the brain shrank, our DNA accumulated numerous adaptive mutations related to brain development and neurotransmitter systems—an indication that even as the organ got smaller, its inner workings changed.

This explanation may be plausible, considering that the brain is such a glutton for fuel that it globs up to 20% of all the calories. To optimize this, the evolution may be moving towards a more efficient smaller brain that yields the most intelligence for the least energy. A boom in the human population in the last 20,000 years ago greatly improved the odds of such a fortuitous development since the more the individuals, the bigger the gene pool, and the greater the chance for an unusual advantageous mutation to happen.

The man-made product that is closest to the brain, the microprocessor, has seen similar evolution.  A microprocessor consists of transistors- the human equivalent of neuron that participates in decision making – connected with wires that act as messengers between neurons.  The first microprocessors had extremely simple architectures and were not optimized for a certain set of tasks but were more general purpose.  Consequently, a lot of the power they consumed was dissipated in internal wiring and not in decision making.  With refinements, the architectures became more and more attuned to the tasks that the microprocessor most commonly needed to do. Consequently, for the same number of transistors the amount of wiring decreased by a factor of 3 while the microprocessor’s processing speed increased by a factor of 10. While active research is still to conclude whether the same holds true in case of the
  brain, one can only hope that the results are along the lines of the microprocessor.

The passage suggests that the modern microprocessor is more efficient because:

Solution:
QUESTION: 18

Over the past 20,000 years, the average volume of the human male brain has decreased from 1,500 cubic centimeters to 1,350 cc, losing a chunk the size of a tennis ball. The female brain has shrunk by about the same proportion. If our brain keeps dwindling at this rate over the next 20,000 years, it will start to approach the size of the brain found in Homo erectus, a relative that lived half a million years ago and had a brain volume of only 1,100 cc.

Some believe the erosion of our gray matter means that modern humans are indeed getting dumber.  A common measure of intelligence - the encephalization quotient or EQ, defined as the ratio of brain volume to body mass - has been found to be decreasing in the recent past.  Recent studies of human fossils suggest the brain shrank more quickly than the body in near-modern times. More importantly, analysis of the genome casts doubt on the notion that modern humans are simply daintier but otherwise identical versions of our ancestors, right down to how we think and feel. Another study concluded that our present EQ is the same as that of the Cro-Magnons -  our ancestors who lived 30,000 years ago in Europe and were known more for brawniness rather than brilliance.

On the other hand, other anthropologists such as Hawks believe that as the brain shrank, its wiring became more efficient, transforming us into quicker, more agile thinkers.  They explain the shrinking by arguing that over the very period that the brain shrank, our DNA accumulated numerous adaptive mutations related to brain development and neurotransmitter systems—an indication that even as the organ got smaller, its inner workings changed.

This explanation may be plausible, considering that the brain is such a glutton for fuel that it globs up to 20% of all the calories. To optimize this, the evolution may be moving towards a more efficient smaller brain that yields the most intelligence for the least energy. A boom in the human population in the last 20,000 years ago greatly improved the odds of such a fortuitous development since the more the individuals, the bigger the gene pool, and the greater the chance for an unusual advantageous mutation to happen.

The man-made product that is closest to the brain, the microprocessor, has seen similar evolution.  A microprocessor consists of transistors- the human equivalent of neuron that participates in decision making – connected with wires that act as messengers between neurons.  The first microprocessors had extremely simple architectures and were not optimized for a certain set of tasks but were more general purpose.  Consequently, a lot of the power they consumed was dissipated in internal wiring and not in decision making.  With refinements, the architectures became more and more attuned to the tasks that the microprocessor most commonly needed to do. Consequently, for the same number of transistors the amount of wiring decreased by a factor of 3 while the microprocessor’s processing speed increased by a factor of 10. While active research is still to conclude whether the same holds true in case of the
  brain, one can only hope that the results are along the lines of the microprocessor.

In paragraph 4 - lines 1 and 2, the author talks about the brain being a glutton for
fuel to:

Solution:
QUESTION: 19

Over the past 20,000 years, the average volume of the human male brain has decreased from 1,500 cubic centimeters to 1,350 cc, losing a chunk the size of a tennis ball. The female brain has shrunk by about the same proportion. If our brain keeps dwindling at this rate over the next 20,000 years, it will start to approach the size of the brain found in Homo erectus, a relative that lived half a million years ago and had a brain volume of only 1,100 cc.

Some believe the erosion of our gray matter means that modern humans are indeed getting dumber.  A common measure of intelligence - the encephalization quotient or EQ, defined as the ratio of brain volume to body mass - has been found to be decreasing in the recent past.  Recent studies of human fossils suggest the brain shrank more quickly than the body in near-modern times. More importantly, analysis of the genome casts doubt on the notion that modern humans are simply daintier but otherwise identical versions of our ancestors, right down to how we think and feel. Another study concluded that our present EQ is the same as that of the Cro-Magnons -  our ancestors who lived 30,000 years ago in Europe and were known more for brawniness rather than brilliance.

On the other hand, other anthropologists such as Hawks believe that as the brain shrank, its wiring became more efficient, transforming us into quicker, more agile thinkers.  They explain the shrinking by arguing that over the very period that the brain shrank, our DNA accumulated numerous adaptive mutations related to brain development and neurotransmitter systems—an indication that even as the organ got smaller, its inner workings changed.

This explanation may be plausible, considering that the brain is such a glutton for fuel that it globs up to 20% of all the calories. To optimize this, the evolution may be moving towards a more efficient smaller brain that yields the most intelligence for the least energy. A boom in the human population in the last 20,000 years ago greatly improved the odds of such a fortuitous development since the more the individuals, the bigger the gene pool, and the greater the chance for an unusual advantageous mutation to happen.

The man-made product that is closest to the brain, the microprocessor, has seen similar evolution.  A microprocessor consists of transistors- the human equivalent of neuron that participates in decision making – connected with wires that act as messengers between neurons.  The first microprocessors had extremely simple architectures and were not optimized for a certain set of tasks but were more general purpose.  Consequently, a lot of the power they consumed was dissipated in internal wiring and not in decision making.  With refinements, the architectures became more and more attuned to the tasks that the microprocessor most commonly needed to do. Consequently, for the same number of transistors the amount of wiring decreased by a factor of 3 while the microprocessor’s processing speed increased by a factor of 10. While active research is still to conclude whether the same holds true in case of the
  brain, one can only hope that the results are along the lines of the microprocessor.

According to the passage, the relationship between encephalization quotient and brain volume is:

Solution:
QUESTION: 20

Over the past 20,000 years, the average volume of the human male brain has decreased from 1,500 cubic centimeters to 1,350 cc, losing a chunk the size of a tennis ball. The female brain has shrunk by about the same proportion. If our brain keeps dwindling at this rate over the next 20,000 years, it will start to approach the size of the brain found in Homo erectus, a relative that lived half a million years ago and had a brain volume of only 1,100 cc.

Some believe the erosion of our gray matter means that modern humans are indeed getting dumber.  A common measure of intelligence - the encephalization quotient or EQ, defined as the ratio of brain volume to body mass - has been found to be decreasing in the recent past.  Recent studies of human fossils suggest the brain shrank more quickly than the body in near-modern times. More importantly, analysis of the genome casts doubt on the notion that modern humans are simply daintier but otherwise identical versions of our ancestors, right down to how we think and feel. Another study concluded that our present EQ is the same as that of the Cro-Magnons -  our ancestors who lived 30,000 years ago in Europe and were known more for brawniness rather than brilliance.

On the other hand, other anthropologists such as Hawks believe that as the brain shrank, its wiring became more efficient, transforming us into quicker, more agile thinkers.  They explain the shrinking by arguing that over the very period that the brain shrank, our DNA accumulated numerous adaptive mutations related to brain development and neurotransmitter systems—an indication that even as the organ got smaller, its inner workings changed.

This explanation may be plausible, considering that the brain is such a glutton for fuel that it globs up to 20% of all the calories. To optimize this, the evolution may be moving towards a more efficient smaller brain that yields the most intelligence for the least energy. A boom in the human population in the last 20,000 years ago greatly improved the odds of such a fortuitous development since the more the individuals, the bigger the gene pool, and the greater the chance for an unusual advantageous mutation to happen.

The man-made product that is closest to the brain, the microprocessor, has seen similar evolution.  A microprocessor consists of transistors- the human equivalent of neuron that participates in decision making – connected with wires that act as messengers between neurons.  The first microprocessors had extremely simple architectures and were not optimized for a certain set of tasks but were more general purpose.  Consequently, a lot of the power they consumed was dissipated in internal wiring and not in decision making.  With refinements, the architectures became more and more attuned to the tasks that the microprocessor most commonly needed to do. Consequently, for the same number of transistors the amount of wiring decreased by a factor of 3 while the microprocessor’s processing speed increased by a factor of 10. While active research is still to conclude whether the same holds true in case of the
  brain, one can only hope that the results are along the lines of the microprocessor.

Which of the following if true would weaken the assertion that humans are getting dumber with the erosion of brain volume?

Solution:

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