IELTS Reading Summary Completion Topic 7
Learning By Examples
- Learning theory is rooted in the work of Ivan Pavlov, the famous scientist who discovered and documented the principles governing how animals (humans included) learn in the 1900s. Years of learning research have led to the creation of a highly precise learning theory that can be used to understand and predict how and under what circumstances most any animal will learn, including human beings, and eventually help people figure out how to change their behaviours. A paper in 1996 Animal Behavior by Bednekoff and Balda provides a different view of the adaptiveness of social learning. It concerns the seed caching behaviour of Clark’s nutcracker (Nucifraga Columbiana) and the Mexican jay (Aphelocoma ultramarina). The former is a specialist, catching 30,000 or so seeds in scattered locations that it will recover over the months of winter, the Mexican jay will also cache food but is much less dependent upon this than the nutcracker. The two species also differ in their social structure, the nutcracker being rather solitary while the jay forages in social groups.
- The experiment is to discover not just whether a bird can remember where it hid a seed but also if it can remember where it saw another bird hide a seed. The design is slightly comical with a cacher bird wandering about a room with lots of holes in the floor hiding food in some of the holes, while watched by an observer bird perched in a cage. Two days later cachers and observers are tested for their discovery rate against an estimated random performance. In the role of cacher, not only nutcrackers but also the less specialized jay performed above chance; more surprisingly, however, jay observers were as successful as jay cachers whereas nutcracker observers did no better than chance. It seems that, whereas the nutcracker is highly adapted at remembering where it hid its own seeds, the social living Mexican jay is more adept at remembering, and so exploiting, the caches of others.
Questions 1 – 5
Complete the summary below using words from the box.
Write your answers in the blank spaces next to 1– 5 on your answer sheet.
While the Nutcracker is more able to cache see, the Jay relies 1…………………… upon caching food and is thus less specialized in this ability, but more 2……………………. To study their behaviour of caching and finding their caches, an experiment was designed and carried out to test these two birds for their ability to remember where they hid the seeds. In the experiment, the cacher bird hid seeds in the ground while the other 3……………………. As a result, the Nutcracker and the Mexican Jay showed different performance in the role of 4…………………… at finding the seeds—the observing 5…………………… didn’t do as well as its counterpart.
Now, could you guess the reason behind the answers?
|For the first question, the answer can be found toward the end of the first passage. However, in the passage, you can find the word “dependent.” In the question, a synonym “relies” has been used.
For the second question, the answer can be found in the last sentence of the first paragraph, you can find the answer. It has been specified who is more social in the passage.
For the third question, the answer can be found in the second passage. However, the sentence has been paraphrased while the word “watched” appears in its original form.
The answer to the fourth question, “observer” can be found in the original form in the second passage; however, the question has been paraphrased.
For the fifth question, the answer is in the second passage, it has been said that “nutcracker observers did no better than chance.” Thus, the answer is clear and can be found in its original form.