You should spend about 20 minutes on Questions 1-13 which are based on Reading Passage 1 below.

The Connection Between Culture and Thought


The world’s population has surpassed 7 billion and continues to grow. Across the globe, humans have many differences. These differences can be influenced by factors such as geography, climate, politics, nationality, and many more. Culture is one such aspect that can change the way people behave.


Your culture may influence your clothing, your language, and many aspects of your life. But is culture influential enough to change the way an individual thinks? It has long been believed that people from different cultures would think differently. For example, a young boy from a farm would talk about cows while a boy from New York will talk about cars. If two young children from different countries are asked about their thoughts about a painting, they would answer differently because of their cultural backgrounds.


In recent years, there has been new research that changed this long-held belief; However, this new research is not the first to explore the idea that culture can change the way we think. Earlier research has provided valuable insight to the question. One of the earliest research projects was  carried out in the Soviet Union. This project was designed to find out whether culture would affect peopled way of thought processing. The researchers focused on how living environment and nationality might influence how people think. The experiment led by Bessett aimed to question such awareness of cognitive psychology. Bessett conducted several versions of the experiment to test different cognitive processes.


One experiment led by Bessett and Masuku showed an animated video picturing a big fish swimming among smaller fish and other sea creatures. Subjects were asked to describe the scene. The Japanese participants tended to focus on the aquatic background, such as the plants and colour of the water, as well as the relationship between the big and small fish. American participants tended to focus on individual fishes, mainly the larger, more unique looking fish. The experiment suggested that members of Eastern cultures focus more on the overall picture, while members of Western culture focus more on the individuals.


In another experiment performed by Bessett and Choi, the subjects were presented with some very convincing evidence for a position. Both the Korean and the American showed strong support. And after they were given some evidence opposing the position, the Korean started to modified or decreased their support. However, the American began to give more support to the former argument. This project suggested that in Korean culture, support for arguments is based on context. Ideas and conclusions are changeable and flexible, so an individual may be more willing to change his or her mind. For Americans, they were less willing to change their original conclusion.


Bessett and Ara devised an experiment to test the thought processing of both oriental and occidental worlds. Test subject was given an argument “All animals with furs hibernate. Rabbit has fur. Therefore, rabbit hibernate”. People from the eastern world questioned the argument as not being logical, because in their knowledge some furry animals just don’t hibernate. But the American think the statement is right. They assume the logic deduction is based on a correct argument, thus the conclusion is right since the logic is right.


From these early experiments in the Soviet Union, one might conclude that our original premise— that culture can impact the way we think—was still correct. However, recent research criticises this view, as well as Bessett’s early experiments. Though these experiments changed the original belief on thought processing, how much does it result from all factors needs further discussion. Fischer thinks Bessett’s experiments provide valuable information because his research only provides qualitative descriptions, not results from controlled environment. Chang partly agrees with him, because there are some social factors that might influence the results.


Another criticism of Bessett’s experiments is that culture was studied as a sub-factor of nationality. The experiments assumed that culture would be the same among all members of a nationality. For example, every American that participated in the experiments could be assumed to have the same culture. In reality, culture is much more complicated than nationality. These early experiments did not control for other factors, such as socioeconomic status, education, ethnicity, and regional differences in culture. All of these factors could have a big effect on the individual’s response.


A third criticism of Bessett’s experiment is that the content itself should have been more abstract, such as a puzzle or an IQ test. With objective content, such as nature and animals, people from different countries of the world might have different pre-conceived ideas about these animals. Prior knowledge based on geographic location would further complicate the results. A test that is more abstract, or more quantitative, would provide a more controlled study of how cognitive processing works for different groups of people.


The research on culture’s effect on cognitive processing still goes on today, and while some criticisms exist of Bessett’s early studies, the projects still provide valuable insight. It is important for future research projects to control carefully for the variables, such as culture. Something like culture is complex and difficult to define. It can also be influenced by many other variables, such as geography or education styles. When studying a variable like culture, it is critical that the researcher create a clear definition for what is—and what is not—considered culture.


Another important aspect of modern research is the ethical impact of the research. A researcher must consider carefully whether the results of the research will negatively impact any of the groups involved. In an increasingly globalised job economy, generalisations made about nationalities can be harmful to prospective employees. This information could also impact the way tests and university admissions standards are designed, which would potentially favor one group or create a disadvantage for another. When conducting any research about culture and nationality, researchers should consider all possible effects, positive or negative, that their conclusions may have when published for the world to see.

Questions 1-5

Reading Passage 1 has eleven paragraphs, A-K.
Which paragraph contains the following information?
Write the correct letter, A-K, in boxes 1-5 on your answer sheet.

NB You may use any letter more than once.

1   All people have the same reaction to a certain point of view.

2   Qualitative descriptions are valuable in exploring thought processing.

3   Different cultures will affect the description of the same scene.

4   We thought of young people as widely different at different geographical locations.

5   Eastern people are less likely to stick to their argument.

Questions 6-9

Look at the following statements (Questions 6-9) and the list of researchers below.
Match each statement with the correct researcher, A-C.
Write the correct letter, A-C, in boxes 6-9 on your answer sheet.

NB You may use any letter more than once.

List of Researchers

A          Bessett & Masuku
B          Bessett & Choi
C          Bessett & Ara

6   Geographical location affects people’s position on certain arguments.

7   Animated images reveal different process strategies.

8   Eastern people challenge a deduction because they knew it is not true.

9   Eastern people find more difficulty when asked to identify the same object.

Questions 10-13

Complete the sentences below.
Choose NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS from the passage for each answer
Write your answers in boxes 10-13 on your answer sheet. 

10   Researchers in the Soviet Union wanted to find out how ……………………. and nationality will control the way people think.

11   Bessett and Ara’s experiment shows, for Americans, so long as the logic deduction is based on a correct argument, the ………………………. should be right.

12   Fischer thinks Bessett’s research is quite valuable because it is conducted in a …………………….. way rather than in controlled environment.

13   Future researchers on culture’s effect on cognitive processing should start with a …………………….. of culture as a variable.



You should spend about 20 minutes on Questions 14-26 which are based on Reading Passage 2 below. 

How Well Do We Concentrate?


Do you read while listening to music? Do you like to watch TV while finishing your homework? People who have these kinds of habits are called multi-taskers. Multitaskers are able to complete two tasks at the same time by dividing their focus. However, Thomas Lehman, a researcher in Psychology, believes people never really do multiple things simultaneously. Maybe a person is reading while listening to music, but in reality, the brain can only focus on one task. Reading the words in a book will cause you to ignore some of the words of the music. When people think they are accomplishing two different tasks efficiently, what they are really doing is dividing their focus. While listening to music, people become less able to focus on their surroundings. For example, we all have experience of times when we talk with friends and they are not responding properly. Maybe they are listening to someone else talk, or maybe they are reading a text on their smart phone and don’t hear what you are saying. Lehman called this phenomenon “email voice”


the world has been changed by computers and its spin offs like smart-phones or cellphones. Now that most individuals have a personal device, like a smart-phone or a laptop, they are frequently reading, watching or listening to virtual information. This raises the occurrence of multitasking in our day to day life. Now when you work, you work with your typewriter, your cellphone, and some colleagues who may drop by at any time to speak with you. In professional meetings, when one normally focuses and listens to one another, people are more likely to have a cell phone in their lap, reading or communicating silently with more people than ever, liven inventions such as the cordless phone has increased multitasking. In the old days, a traditional wall phone would ring, and then the housewife would have to stop her activities to answer it. When it rang, the housewife will sit down with her legs up. and chat, with no laundry or sweeping or answering the door. In the modern era, our technology is convenient enough to not interrupt our daily tasks.


Earl Miller, an expert at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, studied the prefrontal cortex, which controls the brain while a person is multitasking. According to his studies, the size of this cortex varies between species, He found that for humans, the size of this part constitutes one third of the brain, while it is only 4 to 5 percent in dogs, and about 15% in monkeys. Given that this cortex is larger on a human, it allows a human to be more flexible and accurate in his or her multitasking.. However, Miller wanted to look further into whether the cortex was truly processing information about two different tasks simultaneously. He designed an experiment where he presents visual stimulants to his subjects in a wax that mimics multi-tasking. Miller then attached sensors to the patients ” heads to pick up the electric patterns of the brain. This sensor would show if ” the brain particles, called neurons, were truly processing two different tasks. What he found is that the brain neurons only lit up in singular areas one at a time, and never simultaneously.


Davis Meyer, a professor of University of Michigan, studied the young adults in a similar experiment. He instructed them to simultaneously do math problems and classify simple words into different categories. For this experiment. Meyer found that when you think you are doing several jobs at the same time, you are actually switching between jobs. Even though the people tried to do the tasks at the same time, and both tasks were eventually accomplished, overall, the task look more time than if the person focused on a single task one at a time.


People sacrifice efficiency when multitasking, Gloria Mark set office workers as his subjects. He found that they were constantly multitasking. He observed that nearly every 11 minutes people at work were disrupted. He found that doing different jobs at the same time may actually save time. However, despite the fact that they are faster, it does not mean they are more efficient. And we are equally likely to self-interrupt as be interrupted by outside sources. He found that in office nearly every 12 minutes an employee would stop and with no reason at all, cheek a website on their computer, call someone or write an email. If they concentrated for more than 20 minutes, they would feel distressed. He suggested that the average person may suffer from a short concentration span. This short attention span might be natural, but others suggest that new technology may be the problem. With cellphones and computers at our sides at all times, people will never run out of distractions. The format of media, such as advertisements, music, news articles and TV shows are also shortening, so people are used to paying attention to information for a very short time


So even though focusing on one single task is the most efficient way for our brains to work, it is not practical to use this method in real life. According to human nature, people feel more comfortable and efficient in environments with a variety of tasks, Edward Hallowell said that people are losing a lot of efficiency in the workplace due to multitasking, outside distractions and self-distractions. As it matter of fact, the changes made to the workplace do not have to be dramatic. No one is suggesting we ban e-mail or make employees focus on only one task. However, certain common workplace tasks, such as group meetings, would be more efficient if we banned cell-phones, a common distraction. A person can also apply these tips to prevent self-distraction. Instead of arriving to your office and checking all of your e-mails for new tasks, a common workplace ritual, a person could dedicate an hour to a single task first thing in the morning. Self-timing is a great way to reduce distraction and efficiently finish tasks one by one, instead of slowing ourselves down with multi-tasking.


Questions 14-18

Reading Passage 2 has six paragraphs, A-F.
Which paragraph contains the following information?
Write the correct letter, A-F, in boxes 14-18 on your answer sheet.

14   a reference to a domestic situation that does not require multitasking

15   a possible explanation of why we always do multitask together

16   a practical solution to multitask in work environment

17   relating multitasking to the size of prefrontal cortex

18   longer time spent doing two tasks at the same time than one at a time


Questions 19-23

Look at the following statements (Questions 19-23) and the list of scientists below.
Match each statement with the correct scientist, A-E.
Write the correct letter, A-E, in boxes 19-23 on your answer sheet.

NB You may use any letter more than once.

List of Scientists

A          Thomas Lehman
B          Earl Miller
C          David Meyer
D          Gloria Mark
E          Edward Hallowell

19   When faced multiple visual stimulants, one can only concentrate on one of them.

20   Doing two things together may be faster but not better.

21   People never really do two things together even if you think you do.

22   The causes of multitask lie in the environment.

23   Even minor changes in the workplace will improve work efficiency.

Questions 24-26

Complete the sentences below.
Choose NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS from the passage for each answer.
Write your answers in boxes 24-26 on your answer sheet.

24   A term used to refer to a situation when you are reading a text and cannot focus on your surroundings is …………………………..

25   The ……………………… part of the brain controls multitasking.

26   The practical solution of multitask in work is not to allow use of cellphone in …………………….



You should spend about 20 minutes on Questions 27-40 which are based on Reading Passage 3 below.

Robert Louis Stevenson

A Scottish novelist, poet, essayist, and travel writer, Robert Louis Stevenson was born at 8 Howard Place, Edinburgh, Scotland, on 13 November 1850. It has been more than 100 years since his death. Stevenson was a writer who caused conflicting opinions about his works. On one hand, he was often highly praised for his expert prose and style by many English-language critics. On the other hand, others criticised the religious themes in his works, often misunderstanding Stevenson’s own religious beliefs. Since his death a century before, critics and biographers have disagreed on the legacy of Stevenson’s writing. Two biographers, KF and CP , wrote a biography about Stevenson with a clear focus. They chose not to criticise aspects of Stevenson’s personal life. Instead, they focused on his writing, and gave high praise to his writing style and skill.

The literary pendulum has swung these days. Different critics have different opinions towards Robert Louis Stevenson’s works. Though today, Stevenson is one of the most translated authors in the world, his works have sustained a wide variety of negative criticism throughout his life. It was like a complete reversal of polarity—from highly positive to slightly less positive to clearly negative; after being highly praised as a great writer, he became an example of an author with corrupt ethics and lack of moral. Many literary critics passed his works off as children’s stories or horror stories, and thought to have little social value in an educational setting. Stevenson’s works were often excluded from literature curriculum because of its controversial nature. These debates remain, and many critics still assert that despite his skill, his literary works still lack moral value.

One of the main reasons why Stevenson’s literary works attracted so much criticism was due to the genre of his writing. Stevenson mainly wrote adventure stories, which was part of a popular and entertaining writing fad at the time. Many of us believe adventure stories are exciting, offers engaging characters, action, and mystery but ultimately can’t teach moral principles. The plot points are one-dimensional and rarely offer a deeper moral meaning, instead focusing on exciting and shocking plot twists and thrilling events. His works were even criticised by fellow authors. Though Stevenson’s works have deeply influenced Oscar Wilde, Wilde often joked that Stevenson would have written better works if he wasn’t born in Scotland. Other authors came to Stevenson’s defence, including Galsworthy who claimed that Stevenson is a greater writer than Thomas Hardy.

Despite Wilde’s criticism, Stevenson’s Scottish identity was an integral part of his written works. Although Stevenson’s works were not popular in Scotland when he was alive, many modern Scottish literary critics claim that Sir Walter Scott and Robert Louis Stevenson are the most influential writers in the history of Scotland. While many critics exalt Sir Walter Scott as a literary genius because of his technical ability, others argue that Stevenson deserves the same recognition for his natural ability to capture stories and characters in words. Many of Scott’s works were taken more seriously as literature for their depth due to their tragic themes, but fans of Stevenson praise his unique style of story-telling and capture of human nature. Stevenson’s works, unlike other British authors, captured the unique day to day life of average Scottish people. Many literary critics point to this as a flaw of his works. According to the critics, truly important literature should transcend local culture and stories. However, many critics praise the local taste of his literature. To this day, Stevenson’s works provide valuable insight to life in Scotland during the 19th century.

Despite much debate of Stevenson’s writing topics, his writing was not the only source of attention for critics. Stevenson’s personal life often attracted a lot of attention from his fans and critics alike. Some even argue that his personal life eventually outshone his writing. Stevenson had been plagued with health problems his whole life, and often had to live in much warmer climates than the cold, dreary weather of Scotland in order to recover. So he took his family to a south pacific island Samoa, which was a controversial decision at that time. However, Stevenson did not regret the decision. The sea air and thrill of adventure complimented the themes of his writing, and for a time restored his health. From there, Stevenson gained a love of travelling, and for nearly three years he wandered the eastern and central Pacific. Much of his works reflected this love of travel and adventure that Stevenson experienced in the Pacific islands. It was as a result of this biographical attention that the feeling grew that interest in Stevenson’s life had taken the place of interest in his works. Whether critics focus on his writing subjects, his religious beliefs, or his eccentric lifestyle of travel and adventure, people from the past and present have different opinions about Stevenson as an author. Today, he remains a controversial yet widely popular figure in Western literature.


Questions 27-31

Choose the correct letter, A, B, C or D.
Write the correct letter in boxes 27-31 on your answer sheet.

27   Stevenson’s biographers KF and CP

A  underestimated the role of family played in Stevenson’s life.

B  overestimated the writer’s works in the literature history.

C  exaggerated Stevenson’s religious belief in his works.

D  elevated Stevenson’s role as a writer.

28   The main point of the second paragraph is

A  the public give a more fair criticism to Stevenson’s works.

B  recent criticism has been justified.

C  the style of Stevenson’s works overweigh his faults in his life.

D  Stevenson’s works’ drawback is lack of ethical nature.

29   According to the author, adventure stories

A  do not provide plot twists well.

B  cannot be used by writers to show moral values.

C  are more fashionable art form.

D  can be found in other’s works but not in Stevenson’s.

30   What does the author say about Stevenson’s works?

A  They describe the life of people in Scotland.

B  They are commonly regarded as real literature.

C  They were popular during Stevenson’s life.

D  They transcend the local culture and stories.

31   The lifestyle of Stevenson

A  made his family envy him so much.

B  should be responsible for his death.

C  gained more attention from the public than his works.

D  didn’t well prepare his life in Samoa.


Questions 32-35

Do the following statements agree with the information given in Reading Passage 3?
In boxes 32-35 on you answer sheet, write

TRUE                 if the statement is true

FALSE                if the statement is false

NOT GIVEN      if the information is not given in the passage

32   Although Oscar Wilde admired Robert Louis Stevenson very much, he believed Stevenson could have written greater works.

33   Robert Louis Stevenson encouraged Oscar Wilde to start writing at first.

34   Galsworthy thought Hardy is greater writer than Stevenson is.

35   Critics only paid attention to Robert Louis Stevenson’s writing topics.


Questions 36-40

Complete the notes using the list of words, A-I, below.
Write the correct letter, A-I, in boxes 36-40 on your answer sheet.

Sir Walter Scott and Robert Louis Stevenson

A lot of people believe that Sir Walter Scott and Robert Louis Stevenson are the most influential writer in the history of Scotland, but Sir Walter Scott is more proficient in 36………………………., while Stevenson has better 37……………………….. Scott’s books illustrate 38………………………. especially in terms of tragedy, but a lot of readers prefer Stevenson’s 39………………………. What’s more, Stevenson’s understanding of 40………………………. made his works have the most unique expression of Scottish people.

A          natural ability
B          romance
C          colorful language
D          critical acclaim
E          humor
F          technical control
G         storytelling
H         depth
I           human nature

Passage 1

1. E

2. G

3. D

4. B

5. E

6. B

7. A

8. C

9. A

10. living environment

11. conclusion

12. qualitative

13. clear definition

Passage 2

14. B

15. E

16. F

17. C

18. D

19. B

20. D

21. A

22. E

23. E

24. email voice

25. prefrontal cortex

26. group meetings

Passage 3

27. D

28. D

29. B

30. A

31. C

32. TRUE




36. F

37. A

38. H

39. G

40. I

Share This