Tips on how to approach CAT Reading Comprehension passages
- Don’t get into the minor details of the passage; just focus on what each paragraph has to say
- As you read, create a map of the passage; you must remember what thing is located where in the passage
- Once you read the question, come back to the part of the passage that is likely to have the answer
- Compare the options and eliminate the incorrect choices based on the evidence that you see in the passage
- Choose the answer once you are convinced of the right choice
PassagePsychology has reflected and contributed to the cultural bias of exalting motherhood at the expense of fatherhood. Sigmund Freud considered the mother, but not the father, to have a prominent role in infant development. Gadpaille argues that maternalism is instinctual to females, not only in the species but in mammals generally. He warns that anyone advocating “male mothering may bring harm to everyone concerned.” Strongly influenced by such psychological theory, our culture has been taken in by the “superiority of mother” theory.
Benjamin Spock, in a six-hundred-page book on child care, devotes just three pages to the role of fathers. While he admits that a man does not sacrifice his masculinity, Spock thinks child care is something the father should do only occasionally—just to help the mother out. Fathers who win custody of children in divorce proceedings are often advised that they should immediately hire full-time housekeepers to function as surrogate mothers.
But, alas, mothers who win custody are not told to provide surrogate fathers for them. Margaret Mead, the famous anthropologist, once remarked that “fathers are a biological necessity but a social accident.” Throughout the nineteenth and much of the twentieth century, our culture has been quite comfortable with this stereotypical view of fathers. “Less than ten percent of the scientific studies of parents have taken the father’s role into account, in spite of the fact that half of all parents are fathers.” Society has not yet changed in any major ways with regard to fathers as nonparents. However, researchers have finally realized that “the motherhood role is not an inherited behavior pattern, but a learned set of social skills.”
Female children begin learning these social skills at a very early age; society makes no effort to see that boys learn these same social skills. Theories of “maternal instinct” and attachment or bonding as being exclusively maternal are now being called into question. Infants bond with both the mother and the father. A growing body of literature now reveals that fathers do have potential nurturance just as mothers do. Men are increasingly demanding to be accepted as nurturant parents rather than just the provider and protector.
Young men are beginning to reject the models of parenting provided by their fathers and are searching for ways to become parents as well as fathers. A radical restructuring of maleness and fatherhood is currently under way. Fathering and mothering are two distinct parental roles. When a male is nurturant, he is fathering, not mothering. Both mothering and fathering are valid roles, but they are by no means identical.
Question: Fathers who exhibit which of the following actions could count on the author of this passage to give them his greatest support?
[A] Buying educational toys for their children
[B] Reading bedtime stories to their children
[C] Leaving their children with female babysitters
[D] Working in order to pay for family expenses
Question: Suppose that different studies each brought out one of the following findings respectively. The existence of which of the findings would most strongly challenge Sigmund Freud’s opinion as it is presented in the passage?
[A] The personality of infants is strongly influenced by their mothers
[B] The personality of infants is strongly influenced by their fathers
[C] The personality of infants is weakly influenced by their siblings
[D] The personality of infants is weakly influenced by their grandparents
Question: For which of the following claims does the passage provide some supporting evidence or explanation?
[A] Mothers are teaching their male children to become nurturing parents.
[B] Fathers are rejecting the advice to hire surrogate mothers.
[C] Mothers are turning over more child-rearing responsibilities to fathers.
[D] Fathers are becoming more involved in raising their children.
Question: In the context of the passage, the phrase “maternal instinct” (used in the fourth paragraph) refers to:
[A] the argument that motherhood is based on role reversal.
[B] the argument that motherhood is based on learned behavior.
[C] the argument that motherhood is based on inherited behavior.
[D] the argument that motherhood is based on mother-infant bonding.
Question: Based on information provided by the author in the passage, which of the following statements is NOT true?
[A] The author contends that both males and females should participate in raising children.
[B] Gadpaille asserts that females do not have to learn about raising children.
[C] Benjamin Spock argues that males should not be heavily involved in raising children.
[D] Margaret Mead believed that males have a major role to play in raising children.
Question: All of the following statements about men and their role in parenting and the family would be consistent with the author’s attitude toward young men in today’s society EXCEPT:
[A] men can enjoy the role of parenting equally with women.
[B] young men are rejecting traditional ideologies concerning parenthood.
[C] men have the capacity to learn the qualities that allow women to be “maternal.”
[D] young men are resistant to leaving the workplace in order to provide care in the home.