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CAT 2021 Reading Comprehension Solution 02


Direction for Reading Comprehension: The passages 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.

Cuttlefish are full of personality, as behavioral ecologist Alexandra Schnell found out while researching the cephalopod's potential to display self-control. . . . " Self-control is thought to be the cornerstone of intelligence, as it is an important prerequisite for complex decision-making and planning for the future," says Schnell . . .

[Schnell's] study used a modified version of the " marshmallow test " . . . During the original marshmallow test, psychologist Walter Mischel presented children between age four and six with one marshmallow. He told them that if they waited 15 minutes and didn't eat it, he would give them a second marshmallow. A long-term follow-up study showed that the children who waited for the second marshmallow had more success later in life. . . . The cuttlefish version of the experiment looked a lot different. The researchers worked with six cuttlefish under nine months old and presented them with seafood instead of sweets. (Preliminary experiments showed that cuttlefishes' favorite food is live grass shrimp, while raw prawns are so-so and Asian shore crab is nearly unacceptable.) Since the researchers couldn't explain to the cuttlefish that they would need to wait for their shrimp, they trained them to recognize certain shapes that indicated when a food item would become available. The symbols were pasted on transparent drawers so that the cuttlefish could see the food that was stored inside. One drawer, labeled with a circle to mean "immediate," held raw king prawn. Another drawer, labeled with a triangle to mean "delayed," held live grass shrimp. During a control experiment, square labels meant "never."

"If their self-control is flexible and I hadn't just trained them to wait in any context, you would expect the cuttlefish to take the immediate reward [in the control], even if it's their second preference," says Schnell . . . and that's what they did. That showed the researchers that cuttlefish wouldn't reject the prawns if it was the only food available. In the experimental trials, the cuttlefish didn't jump on the prawns if the live grass shrimp were labeled with a triangle - many waited for the shrimp drawer to open up. Each time the cuttlefish showed it could wait, the researchers tacked another ten seconds on to the next round of waiting before releasing the shrimp. The longest that a cuttlefish waited was 130 seconds.

Schnell [says] that the cuttlefish usually sat at the bottom of the tank and looked at the two food items while they waited, but sometimes, they would turn away from the king prawn "as if to distract themselves from the temptation of the immediate reward." In past studies, humans, chimpanzees, parrots and dogs also tried to distract themselves while waiting for a reward.

Not every species can use self-control, but most of the animals that can share another trait in common: long, social lives. Cuttlefish, on the other hand, are solitary creatures that don't form relationships even with mates or young. . . . "We don't know if living in a social group is important for complex cognition unless we also show those abilities are lacking in less social species," says . . . comparative psychologist Jennifer Vonk.

Question: 1

Which one of the following, if true, would best complement the passage's findings?

  1. Cuttlefish are equally fond of live grass shrimp and raw prawn.

  2. Cuttlefish wait longer than 100 seconds for the shrimp drawer to open up.

  3. Cuttlefish live in big groups that exhibit sociability.

  4. Cuttlefish cannot distinguish between geometrical shapes.

Option: 3
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Question: 2

All of the following constitute a point of difference between the "original" and "modified" versions of the marshmallow test EXCEPT that:

  1. the former was performed over a longer time span than the latter.

  2. the former correlated self-control and future success, while the latter correlated self-control and survival advantages.

  3. the former had human subjects, while the latter had cuttlefish.

  4. the former used verbal communication with its subjects, while the latter had to develop a symbolic means of communication.

Option: 2
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Question: 3

Which one of the following cannot be inferred from Alexandra Schnell's experiment?

  1. Cuttlefish exercise choice when it comes to food.

  2. Cuttlefish exert self-control with the help of diversions.

  3. Like human children, cuttlefish are capable of self-control.

  4. Intelligence in a species is impossible without sociability.

Option: 4
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Question: 4

In which one of the following scenarios would the cuttlefish's behaviour demonstrate self-control?

  1. Asian shore crabs and raw prawns are simultaneously released while a live grass shrimp drawer labelled with a triangle is placed in front of the cuttlefish, to be opened after one minute.

  2. raw prawns are released while a live grass shrimp drawer labelled with a square is placed in front of the cuttlefish.

  3. live grass shrimp are released while two raw prawn drawers labelled with a circle and a triangle respectively are placed in front of the cuttlefish; the triangle-labelled drawer is opened after 50 seconds.

  4. raw prawns are released while an Asian shore crab drawer labelled with a triangle is placed in front of the cuttlefish, to be opened after one minute.

Option: 1
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