IELTS Academic Reading Sample 42 - Children's Thinking

IELTS Academic Reading Passage - Children's Thinking

You should spend about 20 minutes on Questions 28-40 which arc based on Reading Passage below.


   One of the most eminent of psychologists, Clark Hull, claimed that the essence of reasoning lies in the putting together of two 'behaviour segments' in some novel way, never actually performed before, so as to reach a goal.

   Two followers of Clark Hull, Howard and Tracey Kendler, devised a test for children that was explicitly based on Clark Hull's principles. The children were given the task of learning to operate a machine so as to get a toy. In order to succeed, they had to go through a two-stage sequence. The children were trained on each stage separately. The stages consisted merely of pressing the correct one of two buttons to get a marble; and of inserting the marble into a small hole to release the toy.

   The Kendlers found that the children could learn the separate bits readily enough. Given the task of getting a marble by pressing the button they could get the marble; given the task of getting a toy when a marble was handed to them, they could use the marble. (All they had to do was put it in a hole.) But they did not for the most part 'integrate', to use the Kendlers' terminology. They did not press the button to get the marble and then proceed without further help to use the marble to get the toy. So the Kendlers concluded that they were incapable of deductive reasoning.

   The mystery at first appears to deepen when we learn, from another psychologist, Michael Cole, and his colleagues, that adults in an African culture apparently cannot do the Kendlers' task either. But it lessens, on the other hand, when we learn that a task was devised which was strictly analogous to the Kendlers' one but much easier for the African males to handle.

   Instead of the button-pressing machine, Cole used a locked box and two differently coloured matchboxes, one of which contained a key that would open the box. Notice that there are still two behaviour segments — 'open the right match-box to get the key' and 'use the key to open the box' - so the task seems formally to be the same. But psychologically it is quite different, Now the subject is dealing not with a strange machine but with familiar meaningful objects, and it is clear to him what he is meant to do. It then turns out that the difficulty of 'integration' is greatly reduced.

   Recent work by Simon Hewson is of great interest here for it shows that, for young children, too, the difficulty lies not in the inferential processes which the task demands, but in certain perplexing features of the apparatus and the procedure. When these are changed in ways which do not at all affect the inferential nature of the problem, then five-year-old children solve the problem as well as college students did in the Kendlers' own experiments.

   Hewson made two crucial changes. First, he replaced the button-pressing mechanism in the side panels by drawers in these panels which the child could open and shut. This took away the mystery from the first stage of training. Then he helped the child to understand that there was no 'magic' about the specific marble which, during the second stage of training, the experimenter handed to him so that he could pop it in the hole and get the reward.

   A child understands nothing, after all, about how a marble put into a hole can open a little door. How is he to know that any other marble of similar size will do just as well? Yet he must assume that if he is to solve the problem. Hewson made the functional equivalence of different marbles clear by playing a 'swapping game' with the children. The two modifications together produced a jump in success rates from 30 percent to 90 percent for five-year, the olds and from 35 percent to 72.5 per cent for four-year-olds. For three-year olds, for reasons that are still in need of clarification, no improvement — rather a slight drop in performance - resulted from the change.

   We may conclude, then, that children experience very real difficulty when faced with the Kendler apparatus; but this difficulty cannot be taken as proof that they are incapable of deductive reasoning.

Questions 28-35
Classify the following descriptions as a referring....

Clark Hull    CH
Howard and Tracy Kendler    HTK
Micheal Cole and colleagues    MC

Write the appropriate letters in boxes 28-35 on your answer sheet.
NB You may use any answer more than once.

28) ......... is cited as famous in the field of psychology.

29) ......... demonstrated that the two-stage experiment involving button-pressing and inserting a marble into a hole poses problems for certain adults as well as children.

30) ......... devised an experiment that investigated deductive reasoning without the use of any marbles.

31) ......... appears to have proved that a change in the apparatus dramatically improves the performance of children of certain ages.

32) ......... used a machine to measure inductive reasoning that replaced button-pressing with drawer-opening.

33) ......... experimented with things that the subjects might have been expected to encounter in everyday life, rather than with a machine.

34) ......... compared the performance of five-year-olds with college students, using the same apparatus with both sets of subjects.

35) ......... is cited as having demonstrated that earlier experiments into children's ability to reason deductively may have led to the wrong conclusions.

Questions 36-40
Do the following statements agree with the information given in the Reading Passage?
In boxes 36-40 on your answer sheet write:

     YES               if the statement agrees with the information
     NO                if the statement contradicts the information
     NOT GIVEN   if there is no information on this in the passage

36.  Howard and Tracey Kendler studied under Clark Hull.
37.  The Kendlers trained their subjects separately in the two stages of their experiment, but not in how to integrate the two actions.
38.  Michael Cole and his colleagues demonstrated that adult performance on inductive reasoning tasks depends on features of the apparatus and procedure.
39.  All Hewson's experiments used marbles of the same size.
40.  Hewson's modifications resulted in a higher success rate for children of all ages.


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1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 Rating 3.10 (39 Votes)

Solve part 1 (from 28 to 35) according to these:

Clark Hull - CH
Howard and Tracy Kendler - HTK
Micheal Cole and colleagues - MC
Simon Hewson - SH.

Can anyone explain why the answer to question 34 is HTK?
Hello! I can help you with it. Write to me here -
Ammara, please tell me when you were practising from this website how much marks did you get in each passage?
Susan Wilkin
Can someone please explain the answer to question 38?
Carlos Pocahonra Lopez
Clearly wrong references in this one, Simon Hewson is not given as a reference in the first task, questions 28-35.
I got 8 bands in IELTS academic reading by studying from this site. Thanks a lot for these practice tests.
Esperanzaa said :
Hello there. I would be happy if I find someone to practice my speaking.
How can I get YOU?

There is a big glitch because, in the first part of the answer section, you have forgotten to indicate SH, indeed there are just three possible answers.
Julia Sarverry
34 and 35 are ok, there is no error in those questions. You have to read well and you'll see.
Can anyone explain questions no. 37, 38, 39?
IELTS Mentor
You are welcome.
Thanks for helping me.
You're right there. It must be a glitch or error on their part.
You're right there. SH is missing. Hello IELTS-Mentor, SH is missing from this Section.
I answered HTK on #35 question too but when I read it again, it was SH. That's just my opinion too.
Hi, Anh. If you read the last 2 paragraphs, it will tell you that #35 answer is really SH. SH was the last one who commented about this experiment.
I can help you with that but it's not really hard to answer questions. Just watch, read and speak English everyday
Hello there. I would be happy if I find someone to practice my speaking.
"SH" refers to the other guy who was mentioned in the reading passage > Simon Hewson.
Why 'SH'? There are only three names mentioned (CH, HTK & MC) in the question title. I am confused about the matter. Can any one explain it? Please...
Anh Nguyen said :
Anyone could help me on explaining why the Q.34's answer is HKT and 35 is SH?
I think it is a wrong answer. Just my opinion. Anyway, 34 should be SH and 35 is HTk

Anh Nguyen
Anyone could please help me on explaining why Q. 34's answer is 'HKT' and 35 'SH'? Thanks in advance.
Hi, at first lots of questions --- only 4 psychologists are mentioned, however, in answers, Simon Hewson was included as well. Please implement this for future references. Thanks.
Good to find this IETLS website while I was looking for the IELTS reading section in Bing! There are more than 100 reading passages and I wish I have read them all and could finish with the answer explanation before my IELTS exam in the coming July!
The sample answers provided with the reading samples would be a great help for the IELTS candidates who are studying the Academic Reading Section. Thanks a lot for the answers.