Inside The Mind of a Fan ielts reading

Inside the mind of a fan IELTS Reading Passage

Inside the mind of a fan IELTS Reading Passage with Answers

Passage Exam History:

India 26th March 2022

Reading Passage 3

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

Inside the mind of a fan

How watching sport affects the brain

A
At about the same time that the poet Homer invented the epic here, the ancient Greeks started a festival in which men competed in a single race, about 200 metres long. The winner received a branch of wild olives. The Greeks called this celebration the Olympics. Through the ancient sprint remains, today the Olympics are far more than that. Indeed, the Games seem to celebrate the dream of progress as embodied in the human form. That the Games are intoxicating to watch is beyond question. During the Athens Olympics in 2004, 3.4 billion people, half the world, watched them on television. Certainly, being a spectator is a thrilling experience: but why?

B
In 1996, three Italian neuroscientists, Giacomo Rizzolatti, Leonardo Forgassi and Vittorio Gallese, examined the premotor cortex of monkeys. The discovered that inside these primate brains there were groups of cells that ‘store vocabularies of motor actions’. Just as there are grammars of movement. These networks of cells are the bodily ‘sentences’ we use every day, the ones our brain has chosen to retain and refine. Think, for example, about a golf swing. To those who have only watched the Master’s Tournament on TV, golfing seems easy. To the novice, however, the skill of casting a smooth arc with a lop-side metal stick is virtually impossible. This is because most novices swing with their consciousness, using an area of brain next to the premotor cortex. To the expert, on the other hand, a perfectly balanced stroke is second nature. For him, the motor action has become memorized, and the movements are embedded in the neurons of his premotor cortex. He hits the ball with the tranquility of his perfected autopilot. I E L T S XP RESS

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C
These neurons in the premotor cortex, besides explaining why certain athletes seem to possess almost unbelievable levels of skill, have an even more amazing characteristic, one that caused Rizzolatti, Fogassi and Gallese to give them the lofty title ‘mirror neurons’. They note, The main functional characteristic of mirror neurons is that they become active both when the monkey performs a particular action (for example, grasping an object or holding it) and, astonishingly, when it sees another individual performing a similar action.’ Humans have an even more elaborate mirror neuron system. These peculiar cells mirror, inside the brain, the outside world: they enable us to internalize the actions of another. In order to be activated, though, these cells require what the scientists call ‘goal-orientated movements’. If we are staring at a photograph, a fixed image of a runner mid-stride, our mirror neurons are totally silent. They only fire when the runner is active: running, moving or sprinting. IELTS Xpress

D
What these electrophysiological studies indicate is that when we watch a golfer or a runner in action, the mirror neurons in our own premotor cortex light up as if we were the ones competing. This phenomenon of neural mirror was first discovered in 1954, when two French physiologists, Gastaut and Berf, found that the brains of humans vibrate with two distinct wavelengths, alpha and mu. The mu system is involved in neural mirroring. It is active when your bodies are still, and disappears whenever we do something active, like playing a sport or changing the TV channel. The surprising fact is that the mu signal is also quiet when we watch someone else being active, as on TV, these results are the effect of mirror neurons.

E
Rizzolatti, Fogassi and Gallese call the idea for mirror neurons the ‘direct matching hypothesis’. They believe that we only understand the movement of sports stars when we ‘map the visual representation of the observed action onto our motor representation of the same action’. According to this theory, watching an Olympic athlete ‘causes the motor system of the observer to resonate. The “motor knowledge” of the observer is used to understand the observed action.’ But mirror neurons are more than just the neural basis for our attitude to sport. It turns out that watching a great golfer makes us better golfers, and watching a great sprinter actually makes us run faster. This ability to learn by watching is a crucial skill. From the acquisition of language as infants to learning facial expressions, mimesis (copying) is an essential part of being conscious. The best athletes are those with a premotor cortex capable of imagining the movements of victory, together with the physical properties to make those movements real.

F
But how many of us regularly watch sports in order to be a better athlete? Rather, we watch sport for the feeling, the human drama. This feeling also derives from mirror neurons. By letting spectators share in the motions of victory, they also allow us to share in its feelings. This is because they are directly connected to the amygdale, one of the main brain regions involved in emotion. During the Olympics, the mirror neurons of whole nations will be electrically identical, their athletes causing spectators to feel, just for a second or two, the same thing. Watching sports brings people together. Most of us will never run a mile in under four minutes, or hit a home run. Our consolation comes in watching, when we gather around the TV, we all feel, just for a moment, what it is to do something perfectly. ielts x pr ess

Questions 27-32
Reading Passage 3 has six paragraphs, A-F.
Which paragraph contains the following information?
Write the correct letter, A-F, in boxes 27-32 on your answer sheet.

NB You may use any letter more than once.

27 an explanation of why watching sport may be emotionally satisfying

28 an explanation of why beginners find sporting tasks difficult

29 a factor that needs to combine with mirroring to attain sporting excellence

30 a comparison of human and animal mirror neurons

31 the first discovery of brain activity related to mirror neurons

32 a claim linking observation to improvement in performance

Questions 33-35
Choose the correct letter, A, B, C or D.
Write your answers in boxes 33-35 on your answer sheet.

33 The writer uses the term ‘grammar of movement’ to mean

A a level of sporting skill.
B a system of words about movement.
C a pattern of connected cells.
D a type of golf swing.

34 The writer states that expert players perform their actions

A without conscious thought.
B by planning each phase of movement.
C without regular practice.
D by thinking about the actions of others.

35 The writer states that the most common motive for watching sport is to

A improve personal performance.
B feel linked with people of different nationalities.
C experience strong positive emotions.
D realize what skill consists of.

Questions 36-40
Do the following statements agree with the views of the writer in Reading Passage 3?

In boxes 36-40 on your answer sheet, write

YES if the statement is true
NO if the statement is false
NOT GIVEN if the information is not given in the passage

36 Inexpert sports players are too aware of what they are doing.

37 Monkeys have a more complex mirror neuron system than humans.

38 Looking at a photograph can activate mirror neurons.

39 Gastaut and Bert were both researchers and sports players.

40 The mu system is at rest when we are engaged in an activity.


Inside the mind of a fan IELTS Reading Answers

27. F

28. B

29. E

30. C

31. D

32. E

33. C

34. A

35. C

36. YES

37. NO

38. NO

39. NOT GIVEN

40. YES

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Also Check: Plant Scents IELTS Reading Passage with Answers


Inside the Mind of a Fan IELTS Reading Answers Explanation

Question 27: an explanation of why watching sport may be emotionally satisfying

Answer: F
Supporting sentence: Rather, we watch sport for the feeling, the human drama.
Keywords: motions of victory, feelings, emotions
Keyword location: Paragraph F, lines 4-5
Explanation: Most of us do not watch sports to improve our athletic prowess. The chances we can replicate our favorite athletes or sportspersons is trivial. However, we enjoy watching sports because we like to share the excitement and drama with others. It gives us emotional contentment upon seeing things being done perfectly.


Question 28: an explanation of why beginners find sporting tasks difficult

Answer: B
Supporting sentence: To the novice, however, the skill of casting a smooth arc with a lop-side metal stick is virtually impossible. This is because most novices swing with their consciousness, using an area of brain next to the premotor cortex.
Keywords: Novice, virtually impossible, consciousness
Keyword location: Paragraph B, lines 7-8 ieltsxpress.com
Explanation: Experienced players are associated with a sport for a long time, hence movements are imprinted in their brains. Nonetheless, it is different for unacquainted players who are new to the game. They find it difficult to carry out tasks because the motions are new and unfamiliar to them. Therefore, they are always conscious about their actions and performance.


Question 29: a factor that needs to combine with mirroring to attain sporting excellence

Answer: E
Supporting sentence: They believe that we only understand the movement of sports stars when we ‘map the visual representation of the observed action onto our motor representation of the same action’. This ability to learn by watching is a crucial skill.
Keywords: Visual representation, observed action
Keyword location: Paragraph E, line 2
Explanation: Mirroring the movements of a great athlete is insufficient to make a competent player. It is the ability to replicate those actions fittingly that matters. In sports, it is imperative to hone observation skills to be able to learn from the prodigies.


Question 30: a comparison of human and animal mirror neurons

Answer: C
Supporting sentence: They note, the main functional characteristic of mirror neurons is that they become active both when the monkey performs a particular action (for example, grasping an object or holding it) and, astonishingly, when it sees another individual performing a similar action.’ Humans have an even more elaborate mirror neuron system.
Keywords: Monkey, humans, more elaborate mirror neuron system
Keyword location: Paragraph C, lines 2-3
Explanation: Monkeys too possess a premotor cortex. However, the humans’ premotor cortex is much more developed in comparison to that of the primates. Our brains can replicate others’ actions.


Question 31: the first discovery of brain activity related to mirror neurons

Answer: D
Supporting sentence: This phenomenon of neural mirror was first discovered in 1954, when two French physiologists, Gastaut and Berf, found that the brains of humans vibrate with two distinct wavelengths, alpha and mu.
Keywords: First discovered
Keyword location: Paragraph D, line 2
Explanation: French physiologists, Gastaut and Berf were the first ones to detect two wavelengths alpha and mu. It was also revealed how the mu wavelength works in the context of mirroring.


Question 32: a claim linking observation to improvement in performance

Answer: E
Supporting sentence: The best athletes are those with a premotor cortex capable of imagining the movements of victory, together with the physical properties to make those movements real.
Keywords: Imaging the movements of victory I E LT S XPRESS
Keyword location: Paragraph E, line 9
Explanation: The premotor cortex of the human brain can mimic actions. For becoming an adept sportsman, these mirror images must be paired with the corresponding movements. When a player has mastered these two, their performance enhances.


Question 33: The writer uses the term ‘grammar of movement’ to mean

Answer: C
Supporting sentence: They discovered that inside these primate brains there were groups of cells that ‘store vocabularies of motor actions. Just as there are grammars of movement. These networks of cells are the bodily ‘sentences’ we use every day, the ones our brain has chosen to retain and refine.
Keywords: Group of cells
Keyword location: Paragraph B, line 2
Explanation: Three Italian neuroscientists studied the premotor cortex of monkeys in 1996 and saw that the brain reserves a set of motor actions. We use these motions in our daily lives to achieve several tasks. The author skillfully correlates the inventory of motor actions that navigate our day-to-day lives to grammar that guides meaningful sentences.


Question 34: The writer states that expert players perform their actions

Answer: A
Supporting sentence: To the expert, on the other hand, a perfectly balanced stroke is second nature. For him, the motor action has become memorized, and the movements are embedded in the neurons of his premotor cortex.
Keywords: Expert, second nature, memorized, embedded
Keyword location: Paragraph B, lines 9-10 IELTS Xpres
Explanation: A proficient sportsman has years of practice, and so, the movements of a game are etched in his brain. He too knows the actions that can lead him to a win. Therefore, his motions are not conscious like a novice.


Question 35: The writer states that the most common motive for watching sport is to

Answer: C
Supporting sentence: Rather, we watch sport for the feeling, the human drama. By letting spectators share in the motions of victory, they also allow us to share in its feelings.
Keywords: Feelings, human drama, emotions
Keyword location: Paragraph F, lines 2, 4-5
Explanation: As spectators, we do not watch a game to augment our sportsmanship. However, we enjoy being a part of the drama, excitement, and final taste of victory. A nation shares the same pride upon seeing its players and athletes play well in Olympics. Therefore, watching sports gives rise to positive emotions and a sense of belonging.


Question 36: Inexpert sports players are too aware of what they are doing.

Answer: Yes
Supporting sentence: To the novice, however, the skill of casting a smooth arc with a lop-side metal stick is virtually impossible. This is because most novices swing with their consciousness, using an area of brain next to the premotor cortex.
Keywords: Novice, consciousness
Keyword location: Paragraph B, lines 7-8
Explanation: An amateur player who has not grasped the nitty-gritty of the game is heedful of their actions. It is because the reflexes and movements are not embedded in his premotor cortex. Therefore, he is alert of what he is doing and how.

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Question 37: Monkeys have a more complex mirror neuron system than humans.

Answer: No
Supporting sentence: Humans have an even more elaborate mirror neuron system.
Keywords: Elaborate mirror neuron system.
Keyword location: Paragraph C, line 3
Explanation: Humans have a highly developed neural system than monkeys. It is able to do high-level tasks. A group of cells in the brain is competent enough to mirror the outside world into our brains and incorporate others’ movements.


Question 38: Looking at a photograph can activate mirror neurons.

Answer: No
Supporting sentence: Humans have an even more elaborate mirror neuron system. ieltsxpress.com
Keywords: Elaborate mirror neuron system.
Keyword location: Paragraph C, line
Explanation: Some neural cells have the strange ability to embed others’ motions into the human brain. However, these cells first have to be set off by result-intended actions, like seeing a runner or a swimmer in action. However, the cells are dormant if it is only a static image of the runner or swimmer.


Question 39: Gastaut and Bert were both researchers and sports players.

Answer: Not given


Question 40: The mu system is at rest when we are engaged in an activity.

Answer: Yes
Supporting sentence: The mu system is involved in neural mirroring. It is active when your bodies are still, and disappears whenever we do something active, like playing a sport or changing the TV channel.
Keywords: Neural mirroring, still, disappears, active
Keyword location: Paragraph D, lines 3-4
Explanation: The human brain vibrates with two wavelengths, alpha, and mu. Mu participates in the neural mirroring process, which replicates an image of others’ movements. However, the mu becomes inert when we become active.


Also Check: Food For Thought IELTS Reading Passage

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