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A Neuroscientist Reveals How To Think Differently Reading Answer: IELTS Reading Practice Test

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Updated on Jun 15, 2024, 16:46

The IELTS Reading section is designed to assess your reading skills through a variety of question types based on different kinds of texts. You will encounter 40 questions that you must answer within 60 minutes, testing your ability to understand and interpret information, identify main ideas, and recognise writers’ opinions, attitudes, and purposes. This section is crucial for evaluating your proficiency in reading English and your capability to manage time effectively.

 

In the passage "A Neuroscientist Reveals How To Think Differently," you will explore insights from a neuroscientist on how to break free from conventional thinking patterns and cultivate innovative thought processes. This text will provide you with scientific perspectives on enhancing cognitive flexibility and creativity.

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1. A Neuroscientist Reveals How To Think Differently Reading Passage

You should spend approximately 20 minutes answering Questions 1 - 14 based on the Reading Passage below. This approach can help manage time effectively during a reading comprehension activity or exam. 

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2. A Neuroscientist Reveals How To Think Differently Reading Question & Answers

Discover exciting and informative IELTS reading answers about A Neuroscientist Reveals How To Think Differently

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1.

A Neuroscientist Reveals How To Think Differently Reading Passage

General Information

  • Read Instructions: Understand each question before answering.
  • Manage Time: Spend about 20 minutes per passage.
  • Skim and Scan: Quickly get the main idea and find specific information.
  • Highlight Key Info: Underline essential words or phrases.
  • Answer All Questions: Attempt every question; no penalty for wrong answers.
  • Stay Focused: Avoid distractions and keep your attention on the task.
  • Check Spelling: Ensure correct spelling and grammar.
  • Transfer Answers Clearly: Write answers neatly on the answer sheet.
  • Don’t Dwell: Move on if stuck and return later.
  • Review: If time allows, review your answers.

 

 

 

 

A Neuroscientist Reveals How To Think Differently Reading Passage


 

 

Paragraph 1
In the last decade, a revolution has occurred in the way that scientists think about the brain.

 

Paragraph 2
We now know that the decisions humans make can be traced to the firing patterns of neurons in specific parts of the brain. (A1)These discoveries have led to the field known as neuroeconomics, which studies the brain's secrets to success in an economic environment that demands innovation and being able to do things differently from competitors. A brain that can do this is an iconoclastic one. Briefly, an iconoclast is a person who does something that others say can't be done.

 

Paragraph 3
(A2)This definition implies that iconoclasts are different from other people, but more precisely, it is their brains that are different in three distinct ways: perception, fear response, and social intelligence. Each of these three functions utilises a different circuit in the brain. Naysayers might suggest that the brain is irrelevant and that thinking in an original, even revolutionary, way is more a matter of personality than brain function. However, the field of neuroeconomics was born out of the realisation that the physical workings of the brain place limitations on the way we make decisions. By understanding these constraints, we begin to understand why some people march to a different drumbeat.

 

Paragraph 4
The first thing to realise is that the brain suffers from limited resources. It has a fixed energy budget, about the same as a 40-watt light bulb, so it has evolved to work as efficiently as possible. This is where most people are impeded from being an iconoclast. For example, when confronted with information streaming from the eyes, the brain will interpret this information in the quickest way possible. (A3)Thus, it will draw on both past experience and any other source of information, such as what other people say, to make sense of what it is seeing. This happens all the time. The brain takes shortcuts that work so well that we are hardly ever aware of them.

 

Paragraph 5
We think our perceptions of the world are real, but they are only biological and electrical rumblings. Perception is not simply a product of what your eyes or ears transmit to your brain. (A4)More than the physical reality of photons or sound waves, perception is a product of the brain.

 

Paragraph 6
Perception is central to iconoclasm. Iconoclasts see things differently than other people. (A5)Their brains do not fall into efficiency pitfalls as much as the average person's brain. Iconoclasts, either because they were born that way or through learning, have found ways to work around the perceptual shortcuts that plague most people. Perception is not something that is hardwired into the brain. It is a learned process, which is both a curse and an opportunity for change. The brain faces the fundamental problem of interpreting physical stimuli from the senses. Everything the brain sees, hears, or touches has multiple interpretations. The one that is ultimately chosen is simply the brain's best theory. In technical terms, these conjectures have their basis in the statistical likelihood of one interpretation over another and are heavily influenced by past experience and, importantly for potential iconoclasts, what other people say.

 

Paragraph 7
The best way to see things differently than other people is to bombard the brain with things it has never encountered before. (A6)Novelty releases the perceptual process from the chains of past experience and forces the brain to make new judgments. (A7)Successful iconoclasts have an extraordinary willingness to be exposed to what is fresh and different. Observation of iconoclasts shows that they embrace novelty, while most people avoid things that are different.

 

Paragraph 8
The problem with novelty, however, is that it tends to trigger the brain's fear system. Fear is a major impediment to thinking like an iconoclast and stops the average person in his tracks. There are many types of fear, but the two that inhibit iconoclastic thinking and people generally find difficult to deal with are fear of uncertainty and fear of public ridicule. These may seem like trivial phobias. (A11) However, fear of public speaking, which everyone must do from time to time, afflicts one-third of the population. This makes it too common to be considered a mental disorder. (A9)It is simply a common variant of human nature, one in which iconoclasts do not inhibit their reactions.

 

Paragraph 9
Finally, to be successful iconoclasts, individuals must sell their ideas to other people. This is where social intelligence comes in. Social intelligence is the ability to understand and manage people in a business setting. (A13)In the last decade, there has been an explosion of knowledge about the social brain and how the brain works when groups coordinate decision-making. Neuroscience has revealed which brain circuits are responsible for functions like understanding what other people think, empathy, fairness, and social identity. These brain regions play key roles in whether people convince others of their ideas. Perception is important in social cognition, too. The perception of someone's enthusiasm or reputation can make or break a deal. (A12)Understanding how perception becomes intertwined with social decision-making shows why successful iconoclasts are so rare.

 

Paragraph 10

(A14)Iconoclasts create new opportunities in every area, from artistic expression to technology to business. They supply creativity and innovation that are not easily accomplished by committees. Rules aren't important to them. Iconoclasts face alienation and failure but can also be a major asset to any organisation. It is crucial for success in any field to understand how the iconoclastic mind works.

2.

A Neuroscientist Reveals How To Think Differently Reading Question & Answers

Discover exciting and informative IELTS reading answers about A Neuroscientist Reveals How To Think Differently

Questions and Answers 1-5
  • Choose the correct letter: A, B, C or D.
  • Write the correct letter in boxes 1-5 on your answer sheet.

 

 

1.   Neuroeconomics is a field of study which seeks to

 

  1. cause a change in how scientists understand brain chemistry.
  2. understand how good decisions are made in the brain.
  3. understand how the brain is linked to achievement in competitive fields.
  4. trace the specific firing patterns of neurons in different areas of the brain.

 

2.    According to the writer, iconoclasts are distinctive because

 

  1. they create unusual brain circuits.
  2. their brains function differently.
  3. their personalities are distinctive.
  4. they make decisions easily.

 

3.   According to the writer, the brain works efficiently because

 

  1. it uses the eyes quickly.
  2.  it interprets data logically.
  3.  it generates its own energy.
  4. it relies on previous events.

     

4.   The writer says that perception is

 

  1.  a combination of photons and sound waves.
  2. a reliable product of what your senses transmit.
  3. a result of brain processes.
  4. a process we are usually conscious of.

 

5.   According to the writer, an iconoclastic thinker

 

  1. centralises perceptual thinking in one part of the brain.
  2. avoids cognitive traps.
  3. has a brain that is hardwired for learning.
  4. has more opportunities than the average person.

     

A Neuroscientist Reveals How To Think Differently  Reading Answers with Explanations (1-5)

 

Type of question: Multiple choice questions

 

In this question type, you are asked to answer the question followed by several options, typically lettered A, B, C, or D. The task is to select the correct answer from the given choices based on the information provided in the reading passage.

 

How to best answer: 
 

  • Read the question carefully and understand what it asks.
  • Pay attention to the keywords in the question.
  • Skim the passage quickly to locate relevant information.
  • Eliminate the clearly incorrect options.
  • Select the answer that best fits the information in the passage.

 

 

1. C - understand how the brain is linked to achievement in competitive fields.

 

Reference:

 

From paragraph 2: "These discoveries have led to the field known as neuroeconomics, which studies the brain's secrets to success in an economic environment that demands innovation and being able to do things differently from competitors."
 

Explanation

Neuroeconomics focuses on understanding how brain functions contribute to achieving success in competitive and innovative environments. This aligns with the concept of linking brain activity to performance in economically driven scenarios, highlighting the relevance of brain processes in achieving competitive success.


 

2. B - their brains function differently.

 

Reference:

 

From paragraph 3: "This definition implies that iconoclasts are different from other people, but more precisely, it is their brains that are different in three distinct ways: perception, fear response, and social intelligence."

 

Explanation

The paragraph underscores that the distinctiveness of iconoclasts stems from the unique ways their brains operate. This includes differences in perception, fear response, and social intelligence, indicating that the variation lies in brain functionality rather than just personality traits.


 

3. D - it relies on previous events.

 

Reference:

 

From paragraph 4: "Thus it will draw on both past experience and any other source of information, such as what other people say, to make sense of what it is seeing."

 

Explanation

The brain's efficiency is described as stemming from its ability to quickly interpret sensory information by relying on past experiences and external inputs. This process of drawing on previous events allows the brain to function efficiently by using shortcuts, emphasising the role of memory and learning information in cognitive processing.
 

 

4. C - a result of brain processes.

 

Reference:

 

From paragraph 5: "More than the physical reality of photons or sound waves, perception is a product of the brain."
 

Explanation

This statement clarifies that perception is not just about the raw data received from the senses but is significantly shaped by the brain's interpretive processes. The brain constructs perception by processing sensory information, highlighting the central role of cognitive mechanisms in forming our understanding of the world.


 

5. B - avoids cognitive traps.

 

Reference:

 

From paragraph 6: "Their brains do not fall into efficiency pitfalls as much as the average person's brain."
 

Explanation

Iconoclastic thinkers are noted for their ability to avoid common cognitive shortcuts and traps that the average brain tends to fall into. This ability to bypass efficiency pitfalls enables them to perceive and think in unique ways, contributing to their innovative and unconventional thought processes.

Questions and Answers 6-11
Do the following statements agree with the information given in the Reading Passage?
In boxes 6-11 on your answer sheet, write

  • YES if the statement agrees with the information given
  • NO if the statement contradicts the information given
  • NOT GIVEN if there is no information about this

 

 

6. Exposure to different events forces the brain to think differently.

7. Iconoclasts are unusually receptive to new experiences.

8. Most people are too shy to try different things.  

9. If you think in an iconoclastic way, you can easily overcome fear.

10. When concern about embarrassment matters less, other fears become irrelevant.

11. Fear of public speaking is a psychological illness.

 

A Neuroscientist Reveals How To Think Differently  Reading Answers with Explanations (6-11)

 

Type of question: Yes/No/Not Given(True/False/Not Given)

 

In this question type, you are required to determine whether the statements provided agree with, contradict, or are not mentioned in the reading passage. 

 

How to best answer: 
 

  • Understand what information is being presented and what is being asked.
  • Find relevant information in the reading passage that relates to the statement.
  • Determine if the statement agrees with, contradicts, or is not mentioned in the passage.
  • If the information is not explicitly provided in the passage, select 'Not Given' rather than making assumptions.


 

6. Yes

 

Reference:

 

From paragraph 7: "Novelty releases the perceptual process from the chains of past experience and forces the brain to make new judgments."
 

Explanation

This line explains that encountering new and different events forces the brain to break away from relying on past experiences. By doing so, the brain is compelled to make new judgments, which directly supports the statement that exposure to different events makes the brain think differently.


 

7. Yes

 

Reference:

 

From paragraph 7: "Successful iconoclasts have an extraordinary willingness to be exposed to what is fresh and different."

 

Explanation

This line highlights that iconoclasts are characterised by their exceptional openness to new experiences. Their readiness to embrace novelty and freshness distinguishes them from others, affirming the statement that iconoclasts are unusually receptive to new experiences.


 

8. Not Given

 

Reference:

 

From paragraph: N.A.
 

Explanation

The passage does not provide any information regarding the general shyness of people or their reluctance to try different things. Therefore, it is not possible to determine the writer's stance on this matter based on the provided text.


 

9. No

 

Reference:

 

From paragraph 8: "It is simply a common variant of human nature, one which iconoclasts do not let inhibit their reactions."
 

Explanation

This line indicates that fear is a natural part of human nature and suggests that while iconoclasts do not let fear inhibit their actions, it does not imply that they can easily overcome it. This contradicts the statement that thinking in an iconoclastic way makes overcoming fear easy.


 

10. Not Given

 

Reference:

 

From paragraph: N.A.
 

Explanation

The passage does not discuss whether overcoming embarrassment diminishes the relevance of other fears. Thus, it is impossible to determine if the writer agrees or disagrees with this statement.

 

11. No

 

Reference:

 

From paragraph 8: "But fear of public speaking, which everyone must do from time to time, afflicts one-third of the population. This makes it too common to be considered a mental disorder."
 

Explanation

This line clarifies that the fear of public speaking is prevalent among a significant portion of the population, making it too common to be classified as a psychological illness. This contradicts the statement that fear of public speaking is a psychological illness.

Questions and Answers 12-14
  • Complete each sentence with the correct ending, A-E, below.
  • Write the correct letter, A-E, in boxes 12-14 on your answer sheet.

 

 

A. requires both perceptual and social intelligence skills.

B. focuses on how groups decide on an action.

C. works in many fields, both artistic and scientific.

D leaves one open to criticism and rejection.

E. involves understanding how organisations manage people.


 

12. Thinking like a successful iconoclast is demanding because it 
 

13. The concept of the social brain is useful to iconoclasts because it 
 

14. Iconoclasts are generally an asset because of their way of thinking 

 

A Neuroscientist Reveals How To Think Differently  Reading Answers with Explanations (12-14)

 

Type of question: Matching sentence endings

 

In this question type, you will be given incomplete sentences, and you will have to complete the end of the sentence by selecting suitable words or phrases from the given list. 

 

How to best answer: 

 

  • Skim through the incomplete sentences to get an idea of the context
  • Recognise keywords in each sentence
  • Scan your list of options and look for the keywords
  • Verify the context and check if the word flows with the rest of the sentence 
  • Finalise your answers


 

12. A - requires both perceptual and social intelligence skills.

 

Reference:

 

From paragraph 9: "Understanding how perception becomes intertwined with social decision-making shows why successful iconoclasts are so rare."

 

Explanation

This answer is correct because it underscores the complexity of thinking like a successful iconoclast, which involves the integration of perceptual and social intelligence skills. The paragraph explains that successful iconoclasts must adeptly manage how they and others perceive and respond to new ideas in social contexts, making it a demanding cognitive task.


 

13. B - focuses on how groups decide on an action.

 

Reference:

 

From paragraph 9: "In the last decade, there has been an explosion of knowledge about the social brain and how the brain works when groups coordinate decision-making."

 

Explanation

This answer is correct because it points out the relevance of the social brain in understanding group dynamics, which is crucial for iconoclasts. The paragraph highlights that recent advancements in neuroscience have shed light on the brain circuits involved in group decision-making, emphasising the importance of this knowledge for iconoclasts to effectively influence and navigate social interactions.


 

14. C - works in many fields, both artistic and scientific.

 

Reference:

 

From paragraph 10: "Iconoclasts create new opportunities in every area, from artistic expression to technology to business. They supply creativity and innovation that are not easily accomplished by committees."
 

Explanation

This answer is correct because it illustrates the broad impact and value of iconoclasts in various domains. The paragraph notes that iconoclasts contribute significantly to creativity and innovation across different fields, such as art, technology, and business, highlighting their unique ability to generate new opportunities and drive progress that traditional committees may struggle to achieve.

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FAQs

Q. How are the passages selected for the IELTS Reading test?

Ans. The passages are carefully chosen to reflect the types of texts you might encounter in an academic or general English-speaking environment. They cover various topics and may include extracts from books, journals, newspapers, or online articles.

Q. Can I write on the question paper during the IELTS Reading test?

Ans. Yes, you are allowed to write on the question paper. You can underline key information, make notes, or jot down ideas to help you answer the questions more effectively. However, remember that only answers transferred to the answer sheet will be assessed.

Q. Is there a penalty for incorrect answers in the IELTS Reading test?

Ans. No, there is no penalty for incorrect answers. You should attempt to answer every question to the best of your ability, even if you're unsure. There's always a chance of getting it right, and you won't lose marks for guessing.