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编辑:万学海文   时间:2021-03-10 11:30


Fair and square

Some monkeys seem to have a highly developed sense of fairness

EVERYBODY loves a fat pay rise. Yet pleasure at your own can vanish if you learn that a colleague has been given a bigger one. Indeed, if he has a reputation for slacking, you might even be outraged. Such behaviour is regarded as “all too human”, with the underlying assumption that other animals would not be capable of this finely developed sense of grievance. But a study by Sarah Brosnan and Frans de Waal of Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, which has just been published in Nature, suggests that it is all too monkey, as well.

The researchers studied the behaviour of female brown capuchin monkeys, which have all the necessary ingredients to capture the public imagination. They look cute. They are good-natured, co-operative creatures, and they share their food readily. Above all, like their finicky female human counterparts, they tend to pay much closer attention to the value of “goods and services” than males (although why this is so remains a mystery).

Such characteristics make them perfect candidates for Dr Brosnan's and Dr de Waal's study. The researchers spent two years teaching their monkeys to exchange tokens for food. Normally, the monkeys were happy enough to swap pieces of rock for slices of cucumber. However, when two monkeys were placed in separate but adjoining chambers, so that each could observe what the other was getting in return for its rock, their behaviour became markedly different.

In the world of capuchins, grapes are luxury goods (and much preferable to cucumbers). So when one monkey was handed a grape in exchange for her token, the second was reluctant to hand hers over for a mere piece of cucumber. And if one received a grape without having to provide her token in exchange at all, the other either tossed her own token at the researcher or out of the chamber, or refused to accept the slice of cucumber. Indeed, the mere presence of a grape in the other chamber (in the absence of an actual monkey able to eat it) was enough to induce sullen behaviour in a female capuchin.

Dr Brosnan and Dr de Waal report that such behaviour is unusual in their trained monkeys. During two years of bartering prior to these experiments, failure to exchange tokens for food occurred in fewer than 5% of trials. And what made the behaviour even more extraordinary was that these monkeys forfeited food that they could see—and which they would have readily accepted in almost any other set of circumstances.

The researchers suggest that capuchin monkeys, like humans, are guided by social emotions. In the wild, they are a co-operative, group-living species. Such co-operation is likely to be stable only when each animal feels it is not being cheated. Feelings of righteous indignation, it seems, are not the preserve of people alone. Refusing a lesser reward completely makes these feelings abundantly clear to other members of the group. However, whether such a sense of fairness evolved independently in capuchins and humans, or whether it stems from the common ancestor that the species had 35m years ago, is, as yet, an unanswered question.


这是2003年9月18日刊登在《经济学家》(The Economist)杂志上的一篇科技类文章。文中主要论述猴子的公平感---像人一样,对不公平待遇有怨恨。从文章的题材上讲,科技类的文章是考研英语阅读的四大题材之一(另外三类是经济评论、文化教育和社会生活),而且这篇文章谈论的是较新的科学研究成果(《自然》杂志刚发表的文章),以简介的形式出现于《经济学家》杂志,自然很适合做考研英语阅读的出题文章。从体裁上看,这是一篇典型的说明文,属于考研英语阅读的常见体裁之一。这篇文章共有6段,520词,如果用作考研英语阅读理解的一篇,则段落和字数都有些偏多。因为该部分的文章一般要求将字数控制在400词左右;文章段落数一般为4-5段,便于出题。




一、删去文章标题。文章标题概括文章的主题,如果出现,文章大意就未睹先知。为了测试对文章主题和其他内容的理解,阅读理解原文的标题都要删去,让考生根据文章的内容去总结和把握。如这篇文章的副标题Some monkeys seem to have a highly developed sense of fairness在考题中就未出现。


三、替换超纲词汇。为了将超纲词汇控制在要求的范围内(全文的3%),也为了便于考生真正发挥阅读水平,有些超纲词汇被替换。如这篇文章第四段末句中的sullen behaviour(sullen为超纲词汇)在考题中被替换为纲内词汇resentment。





21.In the opening paragraph, the author introduces his topic by

[A] posing a contrast.

[B] justifying an assumption.

[C] making a comparison.

[D] explaining a phenomenon.

[剖析] 这是一道主旨题,难度很大。难度系数为0.246(即只有24.6%的考生答对此题)。问题是“作者一段引出主题的方式”是什么,这等于问一段的写作方法和文章结构。一段先给出一个现象:一个人了解到懒散的(slack)同事比自己得到的加薪更多时,会大发雷霆(outraged),而且一般人认为只有人对于这种不公平待遇有怨恨感(sense of grievance)。作者接着指出一个研究表明猴子也有这种心理(it is all too monkey, as well)。由此可见作者通过人和猴子的类比引出文章的主题。C“比较(人和猴子)二者的相似之处”符合此意,为正确答案。A“提出一个对比”与作者的写作方法相反。B“证明一个假设合理”和D“解释一个现象”都与作者在一段运用的写作方法不符,所以都是干扰选项。

22.The statement “it is all too monkey” (Last line, Paragraph 1) implies that

[A] monkeys are also outraged by slack rivals.

[B] resenting unfairness is also monkeys’ nature.

[C] monkeys, like humans, tend to be jealous of each other.

[D] no animals other than monkeys can develop such emotions.

[剖析] 这是一道句子理解题。问题对应一段末句:但是一个研究…表明这种情感(指上文所说的sense of grievance---不平感)也是“猴之常情”(it is all too monkey)。作者在文章开始指出人对不公平待遇有委屈感,接着指出猴子也具有这种感觉。B“怨恨不公平也是猴子的本性”符合此意,为正确答案。A“猴子对于懒散的对手也会狂怒”只是说到了表面现象,并未指出与人的类比所揭示的更深的道理---这也是猴子的本性。C“猴子像人一样,也常常相互嫉妒”与原文不符,因为原文说的是委屈感,而不是嫉妒这种心理。D选项与原文相矛盾,因为人也有这种感觉。本题较难,难度系数为0.368。

23.Female capuchin monkeys were chosen for the research most probably because they are

[A] more inclined to weigh what they get.

[B] attentive to researchers’ instructions.

[C] nice in both appearance and temperament.

[D] more generous than their male companions.

[剖析] 这是一道事实细节题。问题是“选用female capuchin monkeys做研究,最有可能是因为它们具有什么特点”。根据问题中的关键词female capuchin monkeys定位原文二段,二段描述了female capuchin monkeys适合于做研究的特点,其中二段末句指出了它们最重要的特点:最重要的是,它们像人类的雌性一样,比雄性更仔细地关注“产品和服务”的价值。A“更倾向于权衡它们所获得的东西”符合此意,为正确答案。注意:A选项中的more inclined对应二段末句中的tend to,weigh对应原文中的pay attention to,what they get 对应原文中的goods and services。C“外表和脾气都很好”在二段中提过,但不是female capuchin monkeys的主要特点,与题意不符,所以是干扰选项。本题难度也较大,难度系数为0.383。

24.Dr. Brosnan and Dr. de Waal have eventually found in their study that the monkeys

[A] prefer grapes to cucumbers.

[B] can be taught to exchange things.

[C] will not be co-operative if feeling cheated.

[D] are unhappy when separated from others.

[剖析] 这是一道事实细节题。问题是“Dr. Brosnan和Dr. De Waal最终在研究中发现了猴子的什么特点”。eventually(最终)这个词提示这道题实际上是问该研究的结论。本文三段和四段论述研究的具体内容,末段总结了研究结论。C“猴子如果感觉被骗就不再合作”对应末段第三句“只有当每只猴子感觉没有被骗时,这类合作才有可能保持稳定”,为正确答案。A选项和B选项都不是研究人员的发现,而是作者在四段陈述的事实。D选项在原文没有明确提到,更不是研究人员的发现。本题难度较小,难度系数为0.805(即有80.5%的考生答对此题)。

25.What can we infer from the last paragraph?

[A] Monkeys can be trained to develop social emotions.

[B] Human indignation evolved from an uncertain source.

[C] Animals usually show their feelings openly as humans do.

[D] Cooperation among monkeys remains stable only in the wild.

[剖析] 这是一道推理题。问题对应末段。针对文章一段提出的猴子也有公平感(sense of fairness)这一点,作者在中间三段以实验加以证明,末段指出这种公平感是进化而来的。末段最后一句指出这种公平感的进化过程尚未确定(an unanswered question)。B“人类的义愤感(indignation)的进化来源不确定”符合此意,为正确答案。注意:B选项中的indignation(义愤感)对应末句中的sense of fairness(公平感),uncertain source对应末句中的unanswered question。A“可以训练猴子培养社会情感”与原文不符,因为原文末段指出猴子的社会情感是进化而来的。C选项在原文没有提到。D“猴子之间的合作只有在野外时才保持稳定”与原文不符,因为末段第三句明确指出猴子之间的合作只有在感觉受到公平对待时才保持稳定。本题难度一般,难度系数为0.584。












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