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The Origins of Laughter Reading Answers: IELTS Reading Practice Test

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Updated on Jul 02, 2024, 11:57

Welcome to the origins of laughter IELTS Reading Answers, where you will explore the fascinating history and science behind this universal human behaviour. Laughter is an integral part of our daily lives, yet we only sometimes stop to think about where it comes from or why we do it. 
 

Here, you will discover exciting and informative IELTS reading answers about the origins of laughter. We have covered various topics, from the evolution of laughter in primates to cultural differences in humour.


 

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1. The Origins of Laughter Reading Passage

You will discover exciting and informative IELTS reading answers about the origins of laughter. We have covered various topics, from the evolution of laughter in primates to cultural differences in humour.
 

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2. The Origins of Laughter Reading Question & Answers

Discover exciting and informative IELTS reading answers about The Origins of Laughter.

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1.

The Origins of Laughter Reading Passage

General Instructions
General Instructions for IELTS Reading:

  • You will have 60 minutes to complete the entire reading test.
  • The test consists of three reading passages with a total of 40 questions.
  • The texts may be taken from books, magazines, journals, or newspapers.
  • You will receive an answer sheet and should write your answers on it.
  • The questions will be in different formats, such as multiple-choice, matching, sentence completion, and summary completion.
  • The reading passages will increase in difficulty as you progress through the test.
  • You cannot bring any electronic devices, including mobile phones, into the test room.

 

 

 

 

You should spend approximately 20 minutes answering Questions 1 - 13 based on the Reading Passage below.
 

Paragraph A 

While joking and wit are uniquely human inventions, laughter certainly is not. Other creatures, including chimpanzees, gorillas and even rats, laugh. The fact that they laugh suggests that laughter has been around for a lot longer than we have.

 

Paragraph B 

There is no doubt that laughing typically involves groups of people. “Laughter evolved as a signal to others — it almost disappears when we are alone,” says Robert Provine, a neuroscientist at the University of Maryland. Provine found that most laughter comes as a polite reaction to everyday remarks such as “see you later” rather than anything particularly funny. And the way we laugh depends on the company we’re keeping. Men tend to laugh longer and harder when they are with other men, perhaps as a way of bonding. Women tend to laugh more and at a higher pitch when men are present, possibly indicating flirtation or even submission.

 

Paragraph C 

To find the origins of laughter, Provine believes we need to look at play. He points out that the masters of laughing are children, and nowhere is their talent more obvious than in the boisterous antics, and the original context is play. Well-known primate watchers, including Dian Fossey and Jane Goodall, have long argued that chimps laugh while at play. The sound they produce is known as a pant laugh. It seems obvious when you watch their behaviour — they even have the same ticklish spots as we do. But after removing the context, the parallel between human laughter and a chimp’s characteristic pant laugh is not so clear. When Provine played a tape of the pant laughs to 119 of his students, for example, only two guessed correctly what it was.
 

Paragraph D 

These findings underline how chimp and human laughter vary. When we laugh, the sound is usually produced by chopping up a single exhalation into a series of shorter ones, with one sound produced on each inward and outward breath. The question is: does this pant laughter have the same source as our own laughter? New research lends weight to the idea that it does. The findings come from Elke Zimmerman, head of the Institute for Zoology in Germany, who compared the sounds made by babies and chimpanzees in response to tickling during the first year of their lives. Using sound spectrographs to reveal the pitch and intensity of vocalisations, she discovered that chimp and human baby laughter follow broadly the same pattern. Zimmerman believes the closeness of baby laughter to chimp laughter supports the idea that laughter was around long before humans arrived on the scene. What started simply as a modification of breathing associated with enjoyable and playful interactions has acquired a symbolic meaning as an indicator of pleasure.
 

Paragraph E 

Pinpointing when laughter developed is another matter. Humans and chimps share a common ancestor that lived perhaps 8 million years ago, but animals might have been laughing long before that. More distantly related primates, including gorillas, laugh, and anecdotal evidence suggests that other social mammals can do too. Scientists are currently testing such stories with a comparative analysis of just how common laughter is among animals. So far, though, the most compelling evidence for laughter beyond primates comes from research done by Jaak Panksepp from Bowling Green State University, Ohio, into the ultrasonic chirps produced by rats during play and in response to tickling.
 

Paragraph F 

All this still doesn’t answer the question of why we laugh at all. One idea is that laughter and tickling originated as a way of sealing the relationship between mother and child. Another is that the reflex response to tickling is protective, alerting us to the presence of crawling creatures that might harm us or compelling us to defend the parts of our bodies that are most vulnerable in hand-to-hand combat. But the idea that has gained the most popularity in recent years is that laughter in response to tickling is a way for two individuals to signal and test their trust in one another. This hypothesis starts from the observation that although a little tickle can be enjoyable if it goes on too long, it can be torture. By engaging in a bout of tickling, we put ourselves at the mercy of another individual, and laughing is what makes it a reliable signal of trust, according to Tom Flamson, a laughter researcher at the University of California, Los Angeles. “Even in rats, laughter, tickle, play and trust are linked. Rats chirp a lot when they play,” says Flamson. “These chirps can be aroused by tickling. And they get bonded to us as a result, which certainly seems like a show of trust.”

 

Paragraph G 

We’ll never know which animal laughed the first laugh or why. But we can be sure it wasn’t in response to a prehistoric joke. The funny thing is that while the origins of laughter are probably quite serious, we owe human laughter and our language-based humour to the same unique skill. While other animals pant, we alone can control our breath well enough to produce the sound of laughter. Without that control, there would also be no speech — and no jokes to endure.

2.

The Origins of Laughter Reading Question & Answers

Discover exciting and informative IELTS reading answers about The Origins of Laughter.

Question and Answers 1-6

 

The Origins of Laughter Reading Passage:
Look at the following research findings (Questions 1-6) and the list of people below.

  • Match each finding with the correct person, A, B, C or D.
  • Write the correct letter, A, B, C or D, in boxes 1-6 on your answer sheet.
  • Note: You can use any letter more than once.

 

  1. Babies and some animals produce laughter, which sounds similar.
  2. Primates are not the only animals who produce laughter.
  3. Laughter can be used to show that we feel safe and secure with others.
  4. Most human laughter is not a response to a humorous situation.
  5. Animal laughter evolved before human laughter.
  6. Laughter is a social activity.

 

List of people

         A. Provine
         B. Zimmerman
         C. Panksepp
         D. Flamson

 

The Origins of Laughter Reading Answers with Explanations (1-6)

 

Type of questions: Matching Features
 

To complete this task, you must carefully read the statements and the list of features and identify the connections between them based on the information in the passage. The features may be dates, locations, or characteristics such as height, length, or colour. 
 

You aim to match each feature with the corresponding statement by identifying their relationship in the passage. Some features may be potential solutions to a problem statement in the question. 

 

How to best answer the question
 

  • Read the questions carefully and identify the keywords
  • Skim and scan throughout the paragraphs, and try to identify the primary subject in each paragraph
  • Look for synonyms if the exact word is not there in the paragraph
  • At last, read the questions carefully and make connections


 

1. B

 

Reference:

 

From paragraph D: ‘The findings come from Elke Zimmerman, head of the Institute for Zoology in Germany, who compared the sounds made by babies and chimpanzees in response to tickling during the first year of; their life. Using sound spectrographs to reveal the pitch and intensity of vocalisations, she discovered that chimp and human baby laughter follow broadly the same pattern.’ 
 

Explanation: According to the statement above, Elke Zimmerman compared the sounds that chimpanzees and babies make in response to tickling during their first year. The study found similarities in the laughter patterns of both species, suggesting that laughter may have evolved from a common ancestor.


 

2. C

 

Reference:

 

From paragraph E: ‘So far, though, the most compelling evidence for laughter beyond primates comes from research done by Jaak Panksepp from Bowling Green State University, Ohio, into the ultrasonic chirps produced by rats during play and in response to tickling.’
 

Explanation: As stated in the paragraph above, Panksepp conducted research that provided significant evidence for laughter beyond primates, suggesting that other animals, such as rats, also possess the ability to laugh. This research challenged the idea that laughter is exclusive to primates.

 

3. D

 

Reference:

 

From paragraph F: ‘according to Tom Flamson, a laughter researcher at the University of California, Los Angeles. “Even in rats, laughter, tickle, play and trust are linked. Rats chirp a lot when they play,” says Flamson. “These chirps can be aroused by tickling. And they get bonded to us as a result, which certainly seems like a show of trust.”’
 

Explanation

As explained by the paragraph, Tom Flamson made an exciting observation when he said, 'And as a result, they got bounded to us, which seems like showcasing trust.' He meant that when people feel bound to us, they also exhibit a sense of trust, indicating that they feel safe and secure around us.


 

4. A

 

Reference:

 

From paragraph B: ‘ Provine found that most laughter comes as a polite reaction to everyday remarks such as “see you later”, rather than anything particularly funny.’
 

Explanation

According to the statement above, Robert Provine's mostly laughter is not a response to jokes or humorous situations. Instead, it is a social activity used to communicate and build relationships, often during everyday conversations. 

 

5. B


Reference:

 

From paragraph D: Zimmerman believes the closeness of baby laughter to chimp laughter supports the idea that laughter was around long before humans arrived on the scene.’

 

Explanation

As per the statement above, Eike Zimmerman found similarities in the laughter patterns of chimpanzees and babies responding to tickling. It suggests that laughter evolved from a shared ancestor.


 

6. A

 

Reference:

 

From paragraph D: Zimmerman believes the closeness of baby laughter to chimp laughter supports the idea that laughter was around long before humans arrived on the scene.’

 

Explanation

As per the statement above, Eike Zimmerman found similarities in the laughter patterns of chimpanzees and babies responding to tickling. It suggests that laughter evolved from a shared ancestor.

Question and Answers 7-10
  • Complete the summary using the list of words, A-K, below.
  • Write the correct letter, A-K, in boxes 7-10 on your answer sheet.

 

Some scientists believe that laughter first developed out of 7 _______. Research has revealed that human and chimp laughter may have the same 8 _______. Scientists have long been aware that 9 _______ laugh, but it now appears that laughter might be more widespread than once thought. Although the reasons why humans started to laugh are still unknown, it seems that laughter may result from the 10 _______ we feel with another person.

 

  1. combat 
  2. chirps               
  3. Pitch
  4. origins              
  5. play                  
  6. Rats
  7. primates          
  8. Confidence
  9. fear                  
  10. babies                
  11. tickling

 

The Origins of Laughter Reading Answers with Explanations (7-10)

 

Type of questions: Summary Completion (Selecting words from the text)

 

Summary completion is a question type in IELTS Reading where you complete an incomplete passage summary with missing information. It requires good reading skills and an understanding of complex texts. 
 

Under this task, you will be given a summary with incomplete sentences, and you will not be given any list of words/phrases to choose the missing information. Instead, you must refer to the main passage to fill in the missing information.
 

How to best answer the question
 

  • Read the summary carefully to understand what is missing
  • Identify the keywords and find them in the passage 
  • Check the word and the context it is used in properly
  • Finalise your answer 


 

7. E

 

Reference:

 

From paragraph C: ‘He points out that the masters of laughing are children, and nowhere is their talent more obvious than in the boisterous antics, and the original context is play.’
 

Explanation

As per the reference, Robert Provine believes play could be the key to understanding the origins of laughter. His research suggests that laughter is often associated with playful behaviour and that laughter and play share similar neural pathways in the brain. Therefore, studying the evolution of play could provide insights into the evolution of laughter.


 

8. D

 

Reference:

 

From paragraph D: ‘Using sound spectrographs to reveal the pitch and intensity of vocalisations, she discovered that chimp and human baby laughter follow broadly the same pattern. Zimmerman believes the closeness of baby laughter to chimp laughter supports the idea that laughter was around long before humans arrived on the scene.’
 

Explanation

According to the paragraph, Elke Zimmerman's research suggests that laughter existed before humans evolved, as evidenced by the similarity between human baby and chimpanzee laughter. Laughter is believed to have originated from the breathing associated with playful and enjoyable interactions, which implies that the origin of human and chimpanzee laughter is the same.


 

9. G

Reference:

 

From paragraph E: ‘So far, though, the most compelling evidence for laughter beyond primates comes from research done by Jaak Panksepp from Bowling Green State University, Ohio, into the ultrasonic chirps produced by rats during play and in response to tickling.’
 

Explanation

As indicated by the paragraph, Jaak Panksepp's research provides significant evidence for laughter beyond primates, suggesting that other animals, such as rats, also possess the ability to laugh. 


 

10. H

Reference:

 

From paragraph F: ‘ “Even in rats, laughter, tickle, play and trust are linked. Rats chirp a lot when they play,” says Flamson. “These chirps can be aroused by tickling. And they get bonded to us as a result, which certainly seems like a show of trust.”’
 

Explanation

As the above statement explains, laughter can be a sign of trust between individuals. When we feel comfortable and safe around someone, we are likelier to laugh and engage in playful behaviour, which can help build trust and confidence in the relationship.


 

Question and Answers 11-13
Do the following statements agree with the information given in Reading Passage 1?
In boxes 11-13 on your answer sheet, write

  • TRUE if the statement agrees with the information
  • FALSE if the statement contradicts the information
  • NOT GIVEN if there is no information on this

 

11. Both men and women laugh more when they are with members of the same sex.
 

12. Primates lack sufficient breath control to be able to produce laughs the way humans do.
 

13. Chimpanzees produce laughter in a wider range of situations than rats do.


 

The Origins of Laughter Reading Answers with explanations (11-13)
 

 

Type of question: Identifying Information (True/False/Not Given)
 

In this task, you are given a set of statements. Based on your understanding of the passage, you aim to identify the nature of the given statement and write the correct answer. 

 

How to best answer the question
 

  • Read the given statements carefully and memorise the keywords
  • With the keywords help, find the passage's references, which will help you decide whether the given statement is true or false
  • If the information is not there in the passage, then your answer will be not given.

 

11. False

 

Reference:

 

From paragraph B: ‘Men tend to laugh longer and harder when they are with other men, perhaps as a way of bonding. Women tend to laugh more and at a higher pitch when men are present, possibly indicating flirtation or even submission.’
 

Explanation

The answer is false because men tend to laugh more when in the company of other men, which may be related to bonding and establishing social hierarchies. On the other hand, women tend to laugh more and with greater intensity when in the presence of men, which may be a sign of flirtation or submission.


 

12. True

 

Reference:

 

From paragraph D: ‘Zimmerman believes the closeness of baby laughter to chimp laughter supports the idea that laughter was around long before humans arrived on the scene. What started simply as a modification of breathing associated with enjoyable and playful interactions has acquired a symbolic meaning as an indicator of pleasure.’
 

Explanation

As mentioned above, laughter may have originated from the breathing associated with playful interactions, which was present in primates before humans evolved. However, laughter in humans has taken on a symbolic meaning that indicates pleasure, which may not have been the case in primates. Therefore, the answer is true.


 

13. Not Given

 

Reference:

 

From paragraph A to G
 

Explanation

The answer is not given because, in the passage, there is no information on chimpanzees being able to produce laughter in more situations than rats.

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FAQs

Q. What is an IELTS Reading test?

A. The IELTS Reading test is a component of the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) exam, designed to assess a person's proficiency in the English language. The Reading test evaluates a candidate's reading comprehension skills and consists of passages from academic and general interest texts. The test taker must answer questions about the passages' content, structure, and vocabulary. The test is typically 60 minutes long and includes 40 questions.

Q. How long is the IELTS Reading test?

A. The IELTS Reading test is typically 60 minutes long. During this time, you must read passages from academic and general interest texts and answer 40 questions about the passages' content, structure, and vocabulary. It is essential to manage your time effectively during the test to ensure that you have enough time to read each passage and answer all the questions.

Q. How many passages are there in the IELTS Reading test?

A. The IELTS Reading test typically consists of three passages, each with its own questions. The passages are taken from academic and general interest texts, and the questions are designed to test a candidate's reading comprehension skills. Each passage is followed by 13 to 14 questions, totalling 40 questions for the entire test.

Q. What types of questions are included in the IELTS Reading test?

The IELTS Reading test includes 40 questions about three passages from academic and general interest texts. The test consists of various question types, such as multiple choice, matching, sentence completion, summary completion, note completion, diagram labelling, and short answer questions. The questions are designed to test a candidate's reading comprehension skills, including their ability to understand the passages' content, structure, and vocabulary.

Q. How is the IELTS Reading test scored?

A. The IELTS Reading test is scored on a scale of 0 to 9 based on a candidate's overall performance. Each correct answer is awarded one point, and there is no penalty for incorrect answers. The band score reflects a candidate's ability to read and understand complex texts in English, and it is used by universities, colleges, and other organisations to assess a candidate's English language proficiency.

Q. How can I improve my reading speed for the IELTS Reading test?

A. To improve your reading speed for the IELTS Reading test, practice reading regularly, skim the text, focus on the main idea, use contextual clues, and avoid subvocalisation. These tips can help you read more efficiently and perform better on tests.

Q. What are some effective reading strategies for the IELTS Reading test?

A. To perform better on the IELTS Reading test, you can use effective reading strategies, such as skimming the text, scanning for keywords, reading the questions carefully, using contextual clues, taking notes, and managing your time effectively. These strategies can help you improve your reading skills and answer questions more efficiently.

Q. Can I take notes during the IELTS Reading test?

A. Yes, you can take notes during the IELTS Reading test using a pencil and eraser. The notes will not be marked and will not contribute to your score, but they can help you remember the text's key points and answer the questions more efficiently. It is essential to manage your time effectively while taking notes.

Q. How can I manage my time effectively during the IELTS Reading test?

A. To manage your time effectively during the IELTS Reading test, you can read the instructions carefully, skim the text, focus on the main idea, answer easy questions first, keep an eye on the time, and use your time wisely. These tips help you ensure that you have enough time to read each passage, answer all the questions, and perform better on the test.

Q. What are some good sources for the IELTS Reading test practice materials?

A. Good sources for practice materials for the IELTS Reading test include official IELTS practice materials, IELTS preparation books, online resources, IELTS preparation courses, and IELTS apps. These sources provide a variety of practice materials, such as practice tests, sample questions, and tips for improving your reading skills.

Q. How can I improve my comprehension skills for the IELTS Reading test?

To improve your comprehension skills for the IELTS Reading test, you can read regularly, learn new vocabulary, practice summarising, identify the structure of the text, use contextual clues, and answer practice questions. These tips can help you better understand the content and perform better on the test.