The Reading Section of the THEA Practice Test consists of 7 reading selections. After each reading selection, you will be asked to answer several questions related to the selection. Read each question carefully and choose the ONE best answer. You may refer back to the selection to answer the questions. There are a total of 42 multiple-choice questions in the Reading Section, numbered 1 to 42.
In the Reading Section, the order of information requested by the questions does not necessarily correspond to the order of information in a given selection. Certain words and phrases within some selections have been highlighted for testing purposes, not for reasons of emphasis by the writers.
Durkheim and the Development of Sociology
1 Sociology is defined as the study of human groups. In the broadest sense, sociology is concerned with understanding patterns of human relationships, their causes and their effects. Unlike psychology, sociology does not attempt to explain the behavior of a particular individual under certain circumstances. Rather, sociology focuses on social trends or other influences that affect whole groups or categories of people. Thus, while a psychologist might counsel an individual who feels worthless after retiring from a long and successful career, a sociologist would be more likely to examine societal attitudes that may contribute to the loss of self-esteem experienced by many retired persons in our society.
2 The emphasis that sociology places on human groups rather than individuals stems directly from the work of Emile Durkheim, a pioneering sociologist of the nineteenth century. Durkheim likened the nature of a social group to bronze, a unique metal that is formed when the metals tin, copper, and lead are melted and mixed together. Durkheim noted that bronze is much harder than any of its component metals. In the same way, he reasoned, the characteristics of a social group viewed as a whole cannot be determined simply by examining the characteristics of its individual members. Nor can individuals be understood strictly in terms of the individuals themselves; when people come together as members of a particular group, the group exerts considerable pressure on the individual to conform to what it considers acceptable ways of thinking, feeling, and behaving.
3 Besides developing a theoretical foundation for the study of social groups, Durkheim also conducted research designed to corroborate his theoretical work. Using landmark research methods, Durkheim collected and analyzed data from a number of countries that kept records on suicides. He wanted to show that social environment may have a profound effect even on those behaviors we consider most personal. The results of his study showed that suicide rates do indeed vary according to specific social characteristics. For example, Durkheim found that members of religions with strong prohibitions against suicide are less likely to commit suicide than are members of religious groups with weaker prohibitions. He also found a lower incidence of suicide among married persons than among persons who were single or divorced. Taken together, the findings of Durkheim's study provided convincing evidence that social groups do indeed exert pressures that control or regulate the behavior of individuals, including deeply personal behaviors.
4 Durkheim's rigorous research methods captured the attention of sociologists around the world, and were perhaps even more important to the future development of sociology than any specific research results could be. Within a short time, his specific approach to formulating and testing social theory became a model that guided the work of nearly all sociologists. This assured Emile Durkheim a lasting place as one of the key figures in the history of sociology.
1. Which of the following best expresses the main idea of the selection?
2. The writer's main purpose in writing this selection is to:
3. According to the selection, how do sociologists and psychologists differ?
4. In comparing social groups to bronze, Durkheim wished to
illustrate the idea
5. Which of the following lists of topics best organizes the information in the selection?
6. Which of the following best defines the word model as it is used in the last paragraph of the selection?
Lucy the Chimpanzee
1 As we all know, before a human being can survive on its own, it needs many years of parental care and instruction. We think of animals as creatures of instinct, but in fact they too learn by observing. A baby chimpanzee must spend years watching its elders and then practicing the skills they demonstrate before it can take care of itself.
2 What would happen if a chimpanzee raised by humans were to be transferred to the wild? Could it adapt itself to such different surroundings? Could an adult acquire the new skills required to survive? Would it learn to socialize with other chimpanzees instead of with humans? Would it learn to gather its own food rather than opening the refrigerator for a ready-made snack? These were the questions faced in the case of a chimpanzee named Lucy. She was born in a roadside zoo and then raised almost like a human daughter by the Temerlins, a pair of American psychologists. Lucy lived in a house, "read" magazines for amusement, and even learned to communicate extensively with sign language.
3 When Lucy's "parents" heard about a program in Africa to return captive chimps to the wild, they wanted to see if the program could work for her. They had long been searching for a way to bring Lucy's captivity to an end, and this program, run by Stella and Eddie Brewer, seemed ideal. So the Temerlins and Janis Carter, a student who had been involved with their project, flew Lucy to Africa.
4 In Africa, however, it became clear to the Temerlins and Janis that Lucy would not benefit from the Brewers' program and would not survive on her own without a great deal of special help. Unlike the Brewers' chimps, Lucy had been raised for years as a human. It would, therefore, take much extra time and effort to help her develop the skills she would need for survival in the wild. Although the Temerlins left after a brief stay, Janis remained in Africa to help Lucy adapt to her new home.
5 Janis ended up staying with Lucy and other chimps in an African island refuge for the next ten years. Janis had to live almost as a chimp herself. She showed the animals how to build sleeping platforms and demonstrated how to eat green figs and ants. When one of the chimps frequently forgot to nurse her newborn infant, Janis tied a doll to her chest in the nursing position.
6 At first Lucy was especially dependent upon her teacher. As the chimp acquired skills and related with the other chimps, however, Janis gradually withdrew her support. This was an important step in transforming Lucy from a pet back into a wild animal, but it was painful for both Janis and Lucy.
7 Eventually the time came for Janis to leave the island. She moved to the mainland, from where she would continue to visit and observe the chimps. Six months after moving, Janis visited Lucy for the first time since their separation. Lucy greeted her tenderly but soon moved off to rejoin the other chimps. Her behavior was no longer noticeably different from those of her fellow chimps who had been born in the wild, and her future seemed assured. With raised hopes, Janis left the area for her first vacation in ten years.
8 When Janis returned a month later, Lucy had disappeared. Janis organized a search, and eventually Lucy's skeleton was found. The cause of death? Janis could never be certain, but the most likely answer was that the chimp had been killed by human beings.
9 Although Janis was saddened by this tragedy, she managed to find consolation in the knowledge that Lucy had made a substantial contribution to our understanding of learning and behavior in animals. During her years in captivity, Lucy had learned to communicate in a way that far exceeded anything previously known or expected of animals. Subsequently she proved that even a creature that had lived for years in captivity could adapt to living in the wild.
7. Which of the following best defines the word raised as it is used in paragraph 7 of the selection?
8. Which of the following statements best expresses the main idea of the selection?
9. The writer's main purpose in this selection is to:
10. Janis and the Temerlins did not believe that Lucy would benefit from the Brewers' program to return captive chimps to the wild because Lucy:
11. Which of the following information included in the selection most directly supports the writer's view that, like humans, chimps learn by observing?
12. Which of the following statements best summarizes the information presented in the selection for study purposes?
The Production of a Television Commercial
1 Everything in today's world is going faster and faster, and television commercials are no exception. At the start of the television age the standard commercial lasted 60 seconds, but most of today's commercials are only half that length and many are even shorter. The 15-second commercial, introduced a few years ago as a way to cut skyrocketing advertising costs, may soon be the most common in the United States. (Our television-watching counterparts in Japan and Europe are already being treated to 7½-second mini-commercials!)
2 What stands behind the message that blips onto and off of our television screens before we have time to get to the kitchen and back? Months of planning; hundreds of interviews with potential users of the product; hours of writing; dozens of actors, directors, and technicians; days of filming; and hundreds of thousands of dollars in payments to the television networks that will run the ad.
3 Take for example a recent commercial for a certain brand of cough drops. The manufacturer of the cough drops spent four months trying to think of a way to boost sales. After several surveys of cough drop users, the company decided to market a strawberry-flavored lozenge. Further surveys identified the typical users of the strawberry-flavored cough drop as persons between the ages of 15 and 30. This information was important in planning the content and style of the commercial (fast-paced and upbeat, with colorful graphics and lively music) and in determining when to air it (during situation comedies, prime-time dramas, and music specials).
4 The creative team at the advertising agency that handled the cough drop company's account then took over. After hours of discussion and writing, they came up with six scripts, from which the client chose two. One involved a young woman pulling a strawberry out of a box of cough drops. The outline, or storyboard, for the commercial looked deceptively simple: four sketches and a few lines of 'voice-over.' Yet these few words and images (just enough to fill 15 seconds) had been carefully selected to convey crucial information about the product: its effectiveness in suppressing coughs and soothing sore throats, the absence of sugar, and its strawberry flavor.
5 Turning this carefully calculated script into an effective commercial involved finding just the right actor: a young woman who would be attractive to the target audience and who could make her positive response to the cough drops look convincing. Forty-two actors were auditioned; one was chosen.
6 The actor wasn't the only element of the commercial that had to go through an audition. More than a hundred outfits were inspected before one was chosen for her to wear, and hundreds of strawberries had to be sorted through.
7 The filming began at 9:30 one morning. "All" the actor had to do was to open a box of cough drops, pull out a strawberry and munch on it. Yet her movements and facial expressions had to be just right, and achieving that perfection took three hours and 72 shootings, or 'takes.'
8 Even thenshooting completedthe job was far from done. Thousands of feet of film had to be reduced to a compact 45 feet of finished commercial. Using million-dollar, computerized equipment, the producer, writer, and art director selected the best two takes and mixed images and sound to produce a polished final product. The result? A simple, effortless-looking little film that shows none of the tremendous effort that went into producing it, but which should justify all of that time, creativity, and expense by boosting cough drop sales.
13. Which of the following best expresses the main idea of the selection?
14. At the end of the first paragraph, the writer includes a parenthetical remark about the 7½-second mini-commercials currently seen in Japan and Europe. The writer most likely includes this information to help readers understand that:
15. According to information included in the selection, which of the following occurs first in the development of a television commercial?
16. Which of the following is the best assessment of the writer's credibility?
17. Which of the following sets of topics would best organize the information in the selection?
18. Which of the following best defines the word storyboard as it is used in paragraph 4 of the selection?
1 Children's fears come and go, but most children experience similar types of fears at approximately the same age. For toddlers, the worst fears are often associated with separation and change. Toddlers want their own mommy, daddy, spoon, chair, and bed. They are profoundly conservative little people. The most daring toddlers feel content if they can hold onto what they already know. Yet, children's fears are a useful index of their development. Fear of strangers appears to be a consequence of their first specific attachment, and its ending is a sign that they have acquired a more inclusive schema of faces and people in general. A child who is afraid of cats but not of rabbits evidently can differentiate one small animal from another. Fear of a particular person implies recognition of that person.
2 Just as children learn to fear things, they can learn what not to fear. As long as fears do not become too intense, a child's natural impulse to explore and discover things will be of help. Parents can be of assistance, both in overcoming fears and in preventing their development. They can prepare a child through play, stories, and happy prognostications for dealing with new situations that might be overwhelming; give prompt and unstinted comfort after a frightening experience or a bad dream; provide a night-light if the child is afraid of the dark; and devise ways in which a child can be gently and graduallynot abruptlyencouraged to take another look at feared objects and situations. Avoidance of the feared object reinforces the fear, and the fear becomes increasingly intense. Children's fears should be taken seriously, never ridiculed or dismissed as silly or babyish. Often, if the caregiver can get the child to explain exactly what it is that is so frightening, the child can be reassured. The one thing not to do is force children into confronting a feared situation before they are ready to do so.
3 Almost all children are afraid of something and, as with adults, these fears are often well-grounded. If we are in an open field during a thunderstorm, we probably have good reason to be afraid of lightning.
4 But occasionally fear of something gets out of control and becomes a phobia. A phobia is an irrational fear of something. A child may be afraid of the dark and hesitate to go up the stairs alone at night. But when the child refuses to remain in a place where there is no light, such as the movies or his or her bedroom, the fear is taking too great a toll on the child's development.
5 There are many different ways that phobias are treated in children. One of these techniques, commonly referred to as contact desensitization, is a behavioral technique designed to eliminate unnatural fears. The basic premise of the technique is that any fear is learned, and that anything that is learned can be unlearned. If a child is overly sensitive to something like water, for example, the gradual introduction of the feared object coupled with a pleasant experience can help reduce the strength of the fear, making it more manageable.
6 This exact technique was used in one study with fifty snake-avoidant children ranging in age from three to nine years. To see which technique was most effective, the fifty children were divided into five groups:
A. Members of the "contact desensitization group" were told about snakes and how to approach them, were encouraged by an adult to approach a snake, were given praise when they tried, and watched one adult hold the snake.
B. The "contact desensitization without touch group" received all that group A did, but no one touched the snake.
C. The "verbal input plus modeling group" received verbal input and modeling (when the adult touched the snake).
D. The "verbal input only" received only verbal assurances from the adult.
E. Finally, one group of children received no treatment and, hence, was called the "no treatment group."
7 The researchers used something called the Behavior Avoidance Test to see if there was a reduction in avoidance of the snake. Here, an adult reads a series of instructions to each child, asking him or her to do things such as approach the snake, pet it, pick it up, and hold it. The instructions go from little contact with the snake to increasing contact. This way the researchers can see which group of children has the most contact.
8 The results showed that 82 percent of the children in the contact desensitization group reduced their fear of snakes. Children in the other groups also reduced their fear, but not as dramatically.
9 Fears are something we all have to live with. When they get out of hand, a technique like the one we described here can be very useful in assisting a child through a difficult experience.
Child Development by Sueann Robinson Ambron and Neil J Salkind. Harcourt College Pub; 7 edition (June 1993)
19. Which of the following details best supports the authors' point that children can be helped to overcome fears?
20. In paragraph 1, the sentence "The most daring toddlers feel content if they can hold onto what they already know" can best be described as having which of the following effects on the reader?
21. Based on the information presented in this selection, a child can best be helped to overcome a fear of riding an escalator by:
22. Which of the following details from the passage is least relevant to the authors' main topic?
23. Which three main topics would best help outline the information in this selection?
24. What is the meaning of the word index as it is used in paragraph 1 of this selection?
Writing as a Native American
1 My writing in my late teens and early adulthood was fashioned after the U.S. short stories and poetry taught in the high schools of the 1940s and 1950s, but by the 1960s, after I had gone to college and dropped out and served in the military, I began to develop topics and themes from my Native American background. The experience in my village of Deetziyamah and Acoma Pueblo was readily accessible. I had grown up within the oral tradition of speech, social and religious ritual, elders' counsel and advice, countless and endless stories, everyday events, and the visual art that was symbolically representative of life all around. My mother was a potter of the well-known Acoma clayware, a traditional art form that had been passed to her from her mother and the generations of mothers before. My father carved figures from wood and did beadwork. This was not unusual, as Native American people know; there was always some kind of artistic endeavor that people set themselves to, although they did not necessarily articulate it as "Art" in the sense of Western civilization. One lived and expressed an artful life, whether it was in ceremonial singing and dancing, architecture, painting, speaking, or in the way one's social-cultural life was structured. When I turned my attention to my own heritage, I did so because this was my identity, the substance of who I was, and I wanted to write about what that meant. My desire was to write about the integrity and dignity of a Native American identity, and at the same time I wanted to look at what this was within the context of an America that had too often denied its Native American heritage.
2 To a great extent my writing has a natural political-cultural bent simply because I was nurtured intellectually and emotionally within an atmosphere of Native American resistance. . . . The Acoma Pueblo, despite losing much of their land and surrounded by a foreign civilization, have not lost sight of their native heritage. This is the factual case with most other Native American peoples, and the clear explanation for this has been the fight-back we have found it necessary to wage. At times, in the past, it was outright armed struggle . . . ; currently, it is often in the legal arena, and it is in the field of literature. In 1981, when I was invited to the White House for an event celebrating American poets and poetry, I did not immediately accept the invitation. I questioned myself about the possibility that I was merely being exploited as an Indian, and I hedged against accepting. But then I recalled the elders going among our people in the poor days of the 1950s, asking for donationsa dollar here and there, a sheep, perhaps a piece of potteryin order to finance a trip to the nation's capital. They were to make another countless appeal on behalf of our people, to demand justice, to reclaim lost land even though there was only spare hope they would be successful. I went to the White House realizing that I was to do no less than they and those who had fought in the Pueblo Revolt of 1680, and I read my poems and sang songs that were later described as "guttural" by a Washington, D.C., newspaper. I suppose it is more or less understandable why such a view of Native American literature is held by many, and it is also clear why there should be a political stand taken in my writing and those of my sister and brother Native American writers.
3 The 1960s and afterward have been an invigorating and liberating period for Native American people. It has been only a little more than twenty years since Native American writers began to write and publish extensively, but we are writing and publishing more and more; we can only go forward. We come from an ageless, continuing oral tradition that informs us of our values, concepts, and notions as native people, and it is amazing how much of this tradition is ingrained so deeply in our contemporary writing, considering the brutal efforts of cultural repression that was not long ago outright U.S. policy. We were not to speak our languages, practice our spiritual beliefs, or accept the values of our past generations; and we were discouraged from pressing for our natural rights as Native American human beings. In spite of the fact that there is to some extent the same repression today, we persist and insist in living, believing, hoping, loving, speaking, and writing as Native Americans.
Ortiz, Simon. The Language We Know. Reproduced from I Tell You Now: Autobiographical Essays by Native American Writers edited by Brian Swan and Arnold Krupat by permission of the University of Nebraska Press.
Copyright 1987 by the University of Nebraska Press.
25. Which of the following statements best expresses the
main idea of paragraph 1
26. The effect of the quoted word "guttural" as the author uses it in the second paragraph of the selection is to:
27. Which of the following caused the author to change his mind about declining his invitation to the White House?
28. Which of the following assumptions most influenced the author's main argument in this selection?
29. Which of the following topic lists best summarizes the main points of the selection?
30. What is the meaning of the word spare as it is used in paragraph 2 of the selection?
1 Most people consider bacteria dangerous. After all, these microorganisms cause a host of serious human diseases, including tuberculosis, typhoid fever, pneumonia, and food poisoning. In fact, however, only a small percentage of bacteria cause diseases, while many bacteria are actually beneficial to humans. For example, doctors use bacteria to produce vaccines and other medicines. Bacteria are also critical to many industrial processes, from fermenting wine to recycling wastes, and scientists use bacteria to study many of the biological processes common to all living things.
2 With such a wide variety of economic and scientific applications, it is no surprise that several laboratories around the United States grow and sell bacteria as a crop. These laboratories use specialized farming techniques to produce one of the nation's most valuable biological commodities.
3 Like plants, bacteria have specific growth requirements. In particular, they need a place to grow and they need a supply of nutrients. Bacteria may be cultivated in containers ranging from small test tubes to giant steel tanks. The organisms are placed in a container along with a nutritionally balanced liquid or jelly, called a culture medium, which provides vitamins, minerals, and fluids to the growing bacteria. The growth container and culture medium must be kept at a constant temperature that is appropriate for the type of bacteria being cultivated. Most bacteria used in medicine and industry grow best between 20° and 45°C.
4 In a closed container, bacteria exhibit a definite growth pattern. The figure shows a typical bacterial growth curve. All bacteria follow this pattern, a fact that is very important to anyone who wants to cultivate them in large numbers.
5 When bacteria are first placed in a growth container, they must adapt to their new environment, and growth is slow while they are making this adjustment. This period is called the "start phase" of the bacterial growth cycle. At the end of this phase, as the bacteria become accustomed to their new living conditions, they begin to grow and reproduce rapidly. During the second phase, called the "log phase," a population explosion occurs. In a large tank, millions of new bacteria may be produced every hour during this phase. Eventually, however, the bacterial population reaches the maximum size possible, given the limitations of the growth container. At this point, the bacteria enter the "stationary growth phase," during which they continue to reproduce, but at a slower rate. After a time, the bacteria use up their supply of nutrients and their wastes accumulate in the growth container. The final period in the growth cycle, called the "death phase," occurs when the bacteria begin to die faster than they reproduce.
6 People who grow bacteria for science and industry take advantage of this unique growth cycle. Bacteria are harvested during the "stationary growth phase," yielding a good crop of usable organisms. By carefully monitoring the growth pattern, bacteria farmers can also decide when to add more nutrients to the culture medium or to transfer the bacteria to new growth containers. In this way, they can prevent large losses during the "death phase." By applying a knowledge of the growth requirements and patterns of bacteria, these modern day agriculturalists are able to help everyone derive the maximum benefit from these versatile organisms.
31. Which of the following statements from the selection best expresses the main idea of the first paragraph?
32. The writer's main purpose in this selection is to:
33. According to information presented in the selection, which of the following would most likely hasten the "death phase" of the bacterial growth cycle?
34. Ideas presented in the selection are most influenced by which of the following assumptions?
35. According to the graph, a bacterial population begins to decrease in size after approximately how many hours of incubation?
36. Which of the following best defines the word yielding as it is used in the last paragraph?
The Road to Civil Rights
1 The period immediately following the Civil War was a time of great hope for Black Americans. It was also a time of momentous constitutional change, as the nation sought to extend those liberties enshrined in the Bill of Rights to all Americans, Black and White. The Thirteenth Amendment abolished slavery, the Fourteenth Amendment guaranteed all citizens equal protection of the laws, and the Fifteenth Amendment declared that no one could be denied the right to vote "on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude." In subsequent decades, however, it became all too apparent, at least to Blacks and an unfortunately small number of concerned White Americans, that the promises contained in these amendments were not being honored. By century's end, racial segregation was still an inescapable fact of American social life, in the North as well as the South. At the same time, most southern states had adopted devices such as the poll tax, literacy test, and White primary to strip Blacks of their right to vote.
2 The struggle to close the gap between constitutional promise and social reality would pass through two important stages. In the first stage, organizations such as the NAACP worked through the courts to restore the meaning of the Reconstruction-era amendments. These efforts culminated in the 1954 Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, which outlawed segregation in public schools. The decision also stated that separate facilities were inherently unequal, thus providing a legal basis for subsequent suits to desegregate other kinds of public accommodations.
3 As it turned out, the principles enunciated in the Brown decision were more easily stated than enforced. Court orders to desegregate public schools often encountered massive resistance. Seeing this, Blacks and their supporters began to adopt new tactics. As they did, the struggle for Black rights entered its second stage, a stage that would be characterized by direct action rather than legal challenges, and would be played out in the streets rather than the courts. In turning to civil disobedience, leaders such as Martin Luther King, Jr. made it possible for all victims of racial injustice to take action in a way that was direct and forceful, but also peaceable. And through the power of their moral example, they soon won widespread support for their cause. In response to these developments, Congress took steps to restore the full meaning of the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments by passing the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
4 The enactment of these measures by no means marked the end of the civil rights movement. There was still much to be done. Yet the passage of these acts nevertheless had far-reaching significance. The acts not only helped correct social inequities that had persisted far too long, they also showed that the Constitution means something, however long it may sometimes take to give substance to that meaning. This is no small matter in a nation of laws.
37. Which of the following statements from the selection best expresses the main idea of the first paragraph?
38. The content of paragraph 3 indicates the writer's belief that:
39. According to the selection, many communities refused to enforce the Brown decision. Blacks and their supporters tried to overcome this problem by:
40. Which of the following assumptions most influenced the views expressed by the writer in this selection?
41. Which of the following statements best summarizes the information presented in the selection?
42. Which of the following best defines the word culminated as it is used in paragraph 2 of the selection?