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《考研英语阅读理解100篇 高分版》 Unit 3 - TEXT TWO

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2019年01月27日

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A boy or a girl? That is usually the first question asked when a woman gives birth. Remarkably, the answer varies with where the mother lives. In rich countries the chances of its being a boy are about 5% higher than in poor ones. Equally remarkably, that figure has been falling recently. Several theories have been put forward to explain these observations. Some argue that smoking plays a role, others that diet may be important. Neither of these ideas has been supported by evidence from large studies. But new research points to a different factor: stress.
Strange as it might seem, the terrorist attacks of September 11th 2001 shed light on the enigma. Studies noting the sex of babies conceived in New York during the week of the attacks found a drop in the ratio of males to females. That is consistent with earlier studies, which revealed a similar shift in women who became pregnant during floods and earthquakes and in time of war. Moreover, a study carried out eight years ago by researchers at the University of Aarhus, in Denmark, revealed that women who suffered the death of a child or spouse from some catastrophic illness around the time they conceived were much more likely to give birth to girls than to boys.
Taken together, these results suggest that acute stress to a woman at the time of conception shifts the sex ratio towards girls. However, Carsten Obel, a researcher at Aarhus who was not involved in the earlier study, wondered if the same might be true of chronic stress, too. In a paper just published in Human Development, he shows that it is.
Dr. Obel used a set of data collected between 1989 and 1992. During that period 8,719 expectant mothers were asked to fill in questionnaires that inquired, among other things, about their level of stress. Dr. Obel found that the more stressed a mother had been, the less chance she had of having given birth to a boy. Only 47% of children born to women in the top quartile of stress were males. That compared with 52% for women in the bottom quartile. Dr. Obel suspects the immediate cause is that male pregnancies are more likely to miscarry in response to stress than female pregnancies are, especially during the first three months. However, that is difficult to prove. More intriguing, though, is the ultimate cause, for he thinks it might be adaptive, rather than pathological.
That is because the chances are that a daughter who reaches adulthood will find a mate and thus produce grandchildren. A son is a different matter. Healthy, strapping sons are likely to produce lots of grandchildren, by several women—or would have done in the hunter-gatherer societies in which most human evolution took place. Weak ones would be marginalised and maybe even killed in the cut and thrust of male competition. If a mother's stress adversely affects the development of her fetus, then selectively aborting boys, rather than wasting time and resources on bringing them to term, would make evolutionary sense.
That, in turn, would explain why women in rich countries, who are less likely to suffer from hunger and disease, are more likely to give birth to sons. That this likelihood is, nevertheless, falling suggests that rich women's lives may be more stressful than they used to be.
1. The author begins the passage by _____.
[A] presenting an argumentation
[B] explaining a phenomenon
[C] raising a question
[D] making a comparison
2. The ratio of giving birth to a boy is falling in rich countries because _____.
[A] the terrorist attacks of September 11th 2001 exerted huge negative impact
[B] women are facing greater pressure than past
[C] women are under new pressure now which they seldom faced in the past
[D] male pregnancies are more easily to miscarry
3. Which of the following can explain Dr. Obel's opinion that the ultimate cause is adaptive rather than pathological?
[A] 47% of children born to women in the top quartile of stress were males while 52% in the bottom quartile.
[B] Women in rich countries are more likely to give birth to boys because they are more stressful.
[C] Women selectively abort boys rather than waste time and resources on bringing them to term for fear of male competition.
[D] Women who suffer from calamity in conception are more likely to give birth to girls.
4. Women in the hunter-gatherer societies are more likely to give birth to daughters because _____.
[A] they agree that giving birth to daughters is beneficial in the evolutionary sense
[B] sons are likely to produce lots of grandchildren with several women
[C] they think it is a better practice for a daughter to produce grandchildren with only one mate
[D] they think bringing sons to term is wasting time and resources
5. From this passage, we may draw a conclusion that _____.
[A] acute stress is more likely to cause women to choose aborting boys than chronic stress
[B] stress to a woman at the time of conception, whether acute or chronic, will shift the sex ratio towards girls
[C] more girls will be born in the future because today's women, in both rich and poor countries, suffer from increasing pressure
[D] chronic stress is more decisive in influencing the women's pregnancies

1. The author begins the passage by _____.
[A] presenting an argumentation
[B] explaining a phenomenon
[C] raising a question
[D] making a comparison
1. 作者以_____为开头展开这篇文章。
[A] 提出一个论点
[B] 解释一个现象
[C] 提出一个问题
[D] 做了一个比较
答案:A 难度系数:☆
分析:推理题。作者在文章一开始就指出,在富裕国家中,妇女生男孩的几率比贫穷国家高出5%,但目前这个比例在下降,有许多人给出了自己的解释,但都不能被大型的研究所证明,而现在又有新的论点,就是压力的作用。接下来的几段就是对这个论点进行证实。可见,作者是以提出一个论点的形式来开始这篇文章的。
2. The ratio of giving birth to a boy is falling in rich countries because _____.
[A] the terrorist attacks of September 11th 2001 exerted huge negative impact
[B] women are facing greater pressure than past
[C] women are under new pressure now which they seldom faced in the past
[D] male pregnancies are more easily to miscarry
2. 在富裕国家中,男孩的出生率下降了是因为 _____。
[A] 2001年9月11日的恐怖主义袭击带来了巨大的负面影响
[B] 妇女现在面临的压力比以前大
[C] 妇女现在要面临新的压力,这是她们以前没有遇到过的
[D] 怀了男孩的女性更加容易流产
答案:B 难度系数:☆☆☆
分析:推理题。首先,选项A明显是错误的,因为这个影响只限于美国,并不包括所有的富裕国家。D也是错误选项,因为文章第四段中提到了这一点,但是选项中却丢掉了一个重要的前提,也就是在较大的压力下,怀了男孩的女性才更加容易流产。题干要求找出富裕国家目前男孩出生率下降的原因,文章整篇都在讨论压力对于婴儿性别的影响,而最后一段最后一句话指出,目前这个比例下降可能是因为富裕国家的妇女现在承受的压力要比以前大,但是没有说明有新的压力。因此,答案为B。
3. Which of the following can explain Dr. Obel's opinion that the ultimate cause is adaptive rather than pathological?
[A] 47% of children born to women in the top quartile of stress were males while 52% in the bottom quartile.
[B] Women in rich countries are more likely to give birth to boys because they are more stressful.
[C] Women selectively abort boys rather than waste time and resources on bringing them to term for fear of male competition.
[D] Women who suffer from calamity in conception are more likely to give birth to girls.
3. 以下那一项可以解释Obel博士认为最根本的原因是适应性的而不是生理性的这个观点?
[A] 压力最大的四成妇女中,47%生育的是男孩,而压力最小的四成妇女中,52%生育的是男孩。
[B] 富裕国家的妇女生育男孩的几率更大,因为她们所承受的压力更大。
[C] 妇女因为害怕男性竞争而选择将男婴流产,而不是浪费时间和资源将他们孕育成熟。
[D] 受精期经历了灾难的妇女生育女孩的几率更大。
答案:C 难度系数:☆☆☆
分析:细节题。第四段中提到,Obel博士认为,女性在面临压力时生女孩的几率更大,其根本原因应该是适应性的而不是生理性的。第四段还提到,Obel博士怀疑,其直接原因是,面临压力时,如果怀的是男孩,那么就更容易流产。紧接着第五段就给出了解释,那就是在资源紧缺的男性竞争社会中,弱小的男性更容易被边缘化、被淘汰,而女性则不存在这个问题,所以面对这种压力,妇女生育孩子时会选择性地将男婴流产,这是一种适应环境的做法。因此,答案中的C是可以说明他的这个观点的,而A、B和D只是一些表象。
4. Women in the hunter-gatherer societies are more likely to give birth to daughters because _____.
[A] they agree that giving birth to daughters is beneficial in the evolutionary sense
[B] sons are likely to produce lots of grandchildren with several women
[C] they think it is a better practice for a daughter to produce grandchildren with only one mate
[D] they think bringing sons to term is wasting time and resources
4. 在原始的以狩猎为生的社会中,妇女生育女孩的几率更高是因为 _____。
[A] 她们一致认为,在进化的意义上,生女儿是有利的
[B] 儿子会和几位女性一起生育许多后代
[C] 她们认为,女儿只和一个配偶生儿育女是一个更好的做法
[D] 她们认为,将男婴孕育成熟是浪费时间和资源的
答案:D 难度系数:☆☆☆
分析:推理题。文章第五段指出,在原始的以狩猎为生的社会中,健康、强壮的男性可以和几位女性一起生育许多后代,而弱小的则会被边缘化,甚至在男性竞争中被杀死。妇女在生育孩子时就会面临这样的压力,她更情愿将男婴流产,也不愿意花费了如此多的时间和精力将男婴生出来后,却面临被淘汰的压力。因此,在原始的以狩猎为生的社会中,女孩出生率较高的原因是因为妇女生育时面临的这种压力。选项中,D为正确答案。选项A显然是错误的,因为原始人不会以进化的观点去思考问题。选项B的说法只是一个现象,并不是说明题干的原因。选项C的说法与原文相反。
5. From this passage, we may draw a conclusion that _____.
[A] acute stress is more likely to cause women to choose aborting boys than chronic stress
[B] stress to a woman at the time of conception, whether acute or chronic, will shift the sex ratio towards girls
[C] more girls will be born in the future because today's women, in both rich and poor countries, suffer from increasing pressure
[D] chronic stress is more decisive in influencing the women's pregnancies
5. 从这篇文章我们可以得出一个结论 _____。
[A] 突来的压力比持续的压力更能导致妇女选择将男婴流产
[B] 妇女受孕期间经受压力,无论是突来的还是持续的,都会导致婴儿性别比例偏向女孩
[C] 未来会有更多的女孩出生,因为现在不论是在富裕国家还是在贫穷国家,女性都面临着越来越大的压力
[D] 在影响女性怀孕方面,持续的压力更具有决定性的作用
答案:B 难度系数:☆☆☆
分析:推理题。题干要求根据整篇文章推导出一个结论,本文主要讲述了压力对于出生婴儿性别的影响,分别用一些数据和事实证明了突来的压力和持续的压力都有一定的影响,因此从中可以得出结论,就是突来的与持续的压力都会使得女孩的出生率高一些。答案A和D文中并没有进行比较,缺少证据。C的内容文中也没有提到。因此,正确答案为B。

男孩还是女孩?这通常是一个女人生完孩子后问的第一个问题。很显然,答案因这位母亲所在的地方不同而不同。在富裕国家中,生男孩的几率要比贫穷国家高5%。同样引人注目的是,最近这个数字有所降低。人们提出了几个理论来解释这些现象。有人认为吸烟可能是原因所在,也有人认为饮食的影响较大。但大规模研究的证据却都不支持这两个观点,而新的研究指出了另外一个因素:压力。
虽然看起来很奇怪,但2001年的“9·11”恐怖袭击揭开了这个问题的谜底。对发生恐怖袭击那一周在纽约出生的婴儿的性别研究发现,男女性别比例下降了,这与早期的研究一致。早期研究表明,洪水、地震和战争期间怀孕的妇女生育男女婴儿的比例也有相似的变化。而且,八年前丹麦奥尔胡斯大学的研究者们所做的一项研究也表明,经历过孩子夭折或配偶在其怀孕期间患重病的妇女更有可能生女孩。
综合这些研究结果可见,女性在受精时如果突然受到压力,那么生女孩的比例就会增大。奥尔胡斯的一位研究者Carsten Obel并没有参与早期的研究,但是他想弄清持续的压力是否也会有同样的影响。他刚刚在《人类发展》上发表的一篇论文表明,事实确实如此。
Obel博士使用了1989年至1992年间收集的一组数字来支持其论点。在这个时期,8719名准妈妈受邀填写调查问卷,调查的其中一项内容就是她们承受压力的程度。Obel博士发现,一个妇女承受的压力越重,她生男孩的概率就越小。压力最大的四成妇女中只有47%生育男孩,而压力最小的四成妇女生育男孩的比例为52%。Obel博士猜测,产生这种现象的直接原因是,在承受压力的情况下,怀男婴的妇女比怀女婴的妇女更容易流产,尤其是在怀孕的前三个月。然而这一点很难证实。更让人迷惑的是,他认为根本原因是适应性的而不是生理性的。
这可能是因为女孩成年后就要找一位男性,然后生育后代。而男孩则不一样。健康、魁梧的男性更有可能与几位女性生育很多后代,至少在以狩猎为生的社会是这样的,大多数人类进化就是这样进行的。弱小者将会被边缘化,甚至有可能在与其他男性的竞争中被杀死。如果母亲受到的压力不利于胎儿的发育,那么有选择性地将男孩流产,而不是浪费时间和资源将他们孕育成熟,这从进化的意义上是说得通的。
这反过来也可以解释,在富裕国家中女性很少受到饥饿和疾病的威胁,因而更容易生育男孩。尽管存在这种可能,但是数字的下降说明,富裕女性如今所受的压力要比以前大得多。
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