CAT 2020 Reading Comprehension Solution 09

[PASSAGE]

Direction for Reading Comprehension: The pass ages given here are followed by some questions that have four answer choices; read the passage carefully and pick the option whose answer best aligns with the passage

 [There is] a curious new reality: Human contact is becoming a luxury good. As more screens appear in the lives of the poor, screens are disappearing from the lives of the rich. The richer you are, the more you spend to be off-screen. . . .

The joy — at least at first — of the internet revolution was its democratic nature. Facebook is the same Facebook whether you are rich or poor. Gmail is the same Gmail. And it’s all free. There is something mass market and unappealing about that. And as studies show that time on these advertisement-support platforms is unhealthy, it all starts to seem déclassé, like drinking soda or smoking cigarettes, which wealthy people do less than poor people. The wealthy can afford to opt out of having their data and their attention sold as a product. The poor and middle class don’t have the same kind of resources to make that happen.

Screen exposure starts young. And children who spent more than two hours a day looking at a screen got lower scores on thinking and language tests, according to early results of a landmark study on brain development of more than 11,000 children that the National Institutes of Health is supporting. Most disturbingly, the study is finding that the brains of children who spend a lot of time on screens are different. For some kids, there is premature thinning of their cerebral cortex. In adults, one study found an association between screen time and depression. . . .

Tech companies worked hard to get public schools to buy into programs that required schools to have one laptop per student, arguing that it would better prepare children for their screenbased future. But this idea isn’t how the people who actually build the screen-based future raise their own children. In Silicon Valley, time on screens is increasingly seen as unhealthy. Here, the popular elementary school is the local Waldorf School, which promises a back-to nature, nearly screen-free education. So as wealthy kids are growing up with less screen time, poor kids are growing up with more. How comfortable someone is with human engagement could become a new class marker.

Human contact is, of course, not exactly like organic food . . . . But with screen time, there has been a concerted effort on the part of Silicon Valley behemoths to confuse the public. The poor and the middle class are told that screens are good and important for them and their children. There are fleets of psychologists and neuroscientists on staff at big tech companies working to hook eyes and minds to the screen as fast as possible and for as long as possible. And so human contact is rare. . . .

There is a small movement to pass a “right to disconnect” bill, which would allow workers to turn their phones off, but for now a worker can be punished for going offline and not being available. There is also the reality that in our culture of increasing isolation, in which so many of the traditional gathering places and social structures have disappeared, screens are filling a crucial void.


Question: 1

The author is least likely to agree with the view that the increase in screen-time is fuelled by the fact that:

  1. there is a growth in computer-based teaching in public schools.
  2. some workers face punitive action if they are not online.
  3. with falling costs, people are streaming more content on their devices.
  4. screens provide social contact in an increasingly isolating world.
Option: 3
Solution:

 This is an overall easy passage to read. This question is a sort of factual question, the answer of which can be indirectly seen in this passage, but since the question is based on ‘the author least likely to agree’, the choice that is not there in the passage or the choice that is against the author’s contention is likely to be the right choice.  The question asks us to find the least likely reason for ‘the increase in screen-time”. The ones that are stated or implied in the passage are not the right choices, but the one that is not stated or implied will become the right choice.  

The evidence for choice 1 can be seen in the fourth paragraph of the passage: “Tech companies worked hard to get public schools to buy into programs that required schools to have one laptop per student, arguing that it would better prepare children for their screen-based future”

The evidence for choice 2 can be seen in the last paragraph of the [passage: “There is a small movement to pass a “right to disconnect” bill, which would allow workers to turn their phones off, but for now a worker can be punished for going offline and not being available”.

The evidence for choice 4 can be seen in the last sentence of the passage: “There is also the reality that in our culture of increasing isolation, in which so many of the traditional gathering places and social structures have disappeared, screens are filling a crucial void”

In the passage, we don’t have any evidence for choice 3. Thus 3 is the best choice.


Question: 2

The author claims that Silicon Valley tech companies have tried to “confuse the public” by:

  1. promoting screen time in public schools while opting for a screen-free education for their own children.
  2. pushing for greater privacy while working with advertisement-support platforms to mine data.
  3. concealing the findings of psychologists and neuroscientists on screen-time use from the public.
  4. developing new work-efficiency programmes while lobbying for the “right to disconnect” bill.
Option: 1
Solution:

Since the question asks us a specific detail about Silicon Valley tech, we can go to the part of the passage where we have the noun ‘Silicon Valley’. The second last and the third last para are likely to have the answers. Two things about Silicon Valley are mentioned, one in the third last para and one in the second last para.

The third last para says “…Tech companies worked hard to get public schools to buy into programs that required schools to have one laptop per student, arguing that it would better prepare children for their screen-based future. But this idea isn’t how the people who actually build the screen-based future raise their own children”. From this we can derive option 1 as the right choice because this is precisely how Silicon Valley tech companies have confused the public.

Some of us may feel like marking choice 3 as the right answer, but what is given in choice 3 is a complete distortion of what is given in the passage. The passage says “There are fleets of psychologists and neuroscientists on staff at big tech companies working to hook eyes and minds to the screen as fast as possible and for as long as possible.”

The above sentence tells us that neuroscientists and the psychologists are working to do something, not to hide something. Nowhere does the sentence imply that they are deliberately trying to conceal findings of something.   In fact, they are trying to find ways to hook our mind and attention to the screen. Thus option 3 is not the right choice. 

Options 2 and 4 in no way can be connected to Silicon Valley tech companies.


Question: 3

The statement “The richer you are, the more you spend to be off-screen” is supported by which other line from the passage?

  1. “Gmail is the same Gmail. And it’s all free.”
  2. “. . . screens are filling a crucial void.”
  3. “How comfortable someone is with human engagement could become a new class marker.”
  4. “. . . studies show that time on these advertisement-support platforms is unhealthy.
Option: 3
Solution:

To answer this question correctly there is no need to read the passage. The options have enough evidence using which we can mark the right answer.  The statement in the question seems to be making a comparison between “the richer, and the not so richer”. In other words, option 3 which mentions the phrase ‘new class marker’ is the right match for the statement given in the question.   Moreover, “…comfortable with human engagement”, and “the more you spend to be off-screen” are closely connected because “time spent off-screen=time spend in human engagement”, as per the passage. The other choices are nowhere so closely connected with the statement given in the question as option 3 is.


Question: 4

Which of the following statements about the negative effects of screen time is the author least likely to endorse?

  1. It is designed to be addictive.
  2. It is shown to have adverse effects on young children’s learning.
  3. It increases human contact as it fills an isolation void.
  4. It can cause depression in viewers.
Option: 3
Solution:

This question is one of the easiest question of the paper. You can mark option 3 even without looking at the other choices.  The author is in favour of real-time human contact, not virtual human contact. So if choice 3 speaks positively about on-screen time, the author will definitely not agree with it. 

Psychologists and neuroscientists are working to make on-time engagement addictive. The passage does not say that directly but this is definitely implied from the second last para of the passage. The evidence for option 4 and 2 can be seen in the passage. Thus 3 is the best choice.


CAT 2020 RC passage with solution