Yet, according to one authority on the subject, we can each probably recognise more than 1,000 faces, the majority of which differ in fine details. This, when one comes to think of it, is a tremendous feat, though, curiously enough, relatively little attention has been devoted to the fundamental problems of how and why we acquire this gift for recognizing and remembering faces. Is it an inborn property of our brains, or an acquired one? As so often happens, the experts tend to differ.

  The gift of being able to describe a face accurately is a rare one, as every experienced police officer knows to his cost. As the Lancet put it recently:” When we try to describe faces precisely words fail us, and we resort to identikit (拼脸型图) procedures.”

  Thus, some argue that it is inborn, and that there are “special characteristics about the brain’s ability to distinguish faces”. In support of this these they note how much better we are at recognizing a face after a single encounter than we are, for example, in recognizing an individual horse. On the other hand, there are those, and they are probably in the majority, who claim that the gift is an acquired one.

  But of all these, sight is predominant. Formed at the very beginning of life, the ability to recognize faces quickly becomes an established habit, and one that is, essential for daily living, if not necessarily for survival. How essential and valuable it is we probably do not appreciate until we encounter people who have been deprived of the faculty.

  The arguments in favour of this latter view, it must be confessed, are impressive. It is a habit that is acquired soon after birth. Watch, for instance, how a quite young baby recognises his member by sight. Granted that his other senses help – the sound other voice, his sense of smell, the distinctive way she handles him.
  This unfortunate inability to recognize familiar faces is known to all, but such people can often recognize individuals by their voices, their walking manners or their spectacles. With typical human ingenuity many of these unfortunate people overcome their handicap by recognizing other characteristic features.

  1. It is stated in the passage that ______.
  A. it is unusual for a person to be able to identify a face satisfactorily
  B. the ability to recognize faces unhesitatingly is an unusual gift
  C. quit a few people can visualize faces they have seen
  D. few people can give exact details of the appearance of a face

  2. What is the first suggested explanation of the origin of the ability?
  A. It is one of the characteristics peculiar to human beings.
  B. It is acquired soon after birth.
  C. It is something we can do from the very moment we are born.
  D. It is learned from our environment and experiences.

  3. What the author feels strange about is that _______.
  A. people have the tremendous ability to recognize more than 1,000 faces
  B. people don’t think much of the problem of how and why we acquire the ability to recognize and remember faces
  C. people don’t realize how essential and valuable it is for them to have the ability to recognize faces
  D. people have been arguing much over the way people recognize and remember faces

  4. According to the passage, how important is the ability to recognize faces?
  A. It is useful in daily life but is not necessarily essential.
  B. It is absence would make normal everyday life impossible.
  C. Under certain circumstances we could not exist without it.
  D. Normal social life would be difficult without it.

  5. This passage seems to emphasize that ______.
  A. the ability to recognize individuals is dependent on other senses as well as sight
  B. sight is indispensable to recognizing individuals
  C. the ability to recognise faces is a special inborn ability of the brain
  D. the importance of the ability of recognize faces in fully appreciated by people.

【答案见下页】
The Reader’s digest investigation asked Americans which was the biggest threat to the nation’s future—big business, big labor or big government. A whopping 67 percent replied “ big government”
  Opinion researchers rarely see such a vast change in public attitude. When put in historical perspective, from the time of Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal to the present, the fallen status of government as a protector and benefactor is extraordinary. We’ve returned to the instinctive American wariness of Washington so common before the Great Depression.
  In our poll, taken before the November elections, the overwhelming majority of our respondents wanted to stop or roll back the impact of government. In answer to another question posed by The Digest, 79 percent said they wanted either no more than the current level of government services and taxes, or less government and lower taxes.
  “It seems to me that we in the middle class bear most of the burden,” says Jone Nell Norman, 61, a nurse in Dyersburg, Tenn., who often wonders about the government’s judgement in spending her money.
  Of Americans in our sample, 62 percent believe that politician’s ethics and honesty have fallen. And what about Congress? Is it doing a good job? Or do members “ spend more time thinking about their political futures than passing good legislation?” Across generations, a thumping 89 percent thought the latter. “Congress always seems to be screwing up,” says one young Xer.
  However, Americans are satisfied with their own lives and jobs. Four of five respondents were “completely “ or “ somewhat “ satisfied. The figures held up across all ages – including Xer, whom many pundits have claimed are pessimistic about their future.
  Looking deeper at jobs, we found 70 percent of Americans believe they are about where they should be, given their talents and effort. This is an issue where age always makes a difference, since older people, who are more established in their jobs tend to be more satisfied, while younger workers are still trying to find the right niche. Sure enough, Xers scored 65 percent, about five points below average.



  1.”Xers” is repeated several times to refer to
  A. accusers B. younger respondents
  C. college students D. blue-collar workers

  2. The U. S. government status in the public mind before the Great Depression ____.
  A. was regarded as quite normal
  B. used to be very low
  C. remained a difficult problem for the federal government
  D. reminded people of the principles laid down by Washington

  3. The 61-years-old nurse Norman is mentioned in the article to show that ____.
  A. the government has cheated her out of her money
  B. it is hard for her to earn a living
  C. even a retired nurse has lost faith in the government
  D. the more the government does the greater stake tax – payers’ money will be put at

  4.”Screwing up “ in paragraph 5 may be paraphrased as ____.
  A. indecisive in making decisions B. benefiting the nation in earnest
  C. making a mess of everything D. debating hotly

  5.”Political future “ in paragraph 5 may be paraphrased as ____.
  A. the future of the whole nation B. people’s well – being in the future
  C. a position of higher rank D. awareness of consistency in policies

【答案见下页】
  Racket, din clamor, noise, whatever you want to call it, unwanted sound is America’s most widespread nuisance. But noise is more than just a nuisance. It constitutes a real and present danger to people’s health. Day and night, at home, at work, and at play, noise can produce serious physical and psychological stress. No one is immune to this stress. Though we seem to adjust to noise by ignoring it, the ear, in fact, never closes and the body still responds—sometimes with extreme tension, as to a strange sound in the night.

  The annoyance we feel when faced with noise is the most common outward symptom of the stress building up inside us. Indeed, because irritability is so apparent, legislators have made public annoyance the basis of many noise abatement programs. The more subtle and more serious health hazards associated with stress caused by noise traditionally have been given much less attention. Nevertheless, when we are annoyed or made irritable by noise, we should consider these symptoms fair warning that other thing may be happening to us, some of which may be damaging to our health.

  Of many health hazards to noise, hearing loss is the most clearly observable and measurable by health professionals. The other hazards are harder to pin down. For many of us, there may be a risk that exposure to the stress of noise increases susceptibility to disease and infection. The more susceptible among us may experience noise as a complicating factor in heart problems and other diseases. Noise that causes annoyance and irritability in health persons may have serious consequences for these already ill in mind or body.

  Noise affects us throughout our lives. For example, there are indications of effects on the unborn child when mothers are exposed to industrial and environmental noise. During infancy and childhood, youngsters exposed to high noise levels may have trouble falling asleep and obtaining necessary amounts of rest.
  Why, then, is there not greater alarm about these dangers? Perhaps it is because the link between noise and many disabilities or diseases has not yet been conclusively demonstrated. Perhaps it is because we tend to dismiss annoyance as a price to pay for living in the modern world. It may also be because we still think of hearing loss as only an occupational hazard.


  1. The author’s attitude toward noise would best be described as ___.
  A. unrealistic
  B. traditional
  C. concerned
  D. hysterical
  2. In Paragraph 1, the phrase “immune to” are used to mean ___.
  A. unaffected by
  B. hurt by
  C. unlikely to be seen by
  D. unknown by
  3. Which of the following best states the main idea of the passage?
  A. Noise is a major problem; most people recognize its importance.
  B. Although noise can be annoying, it is not a major problem.
  C. Noise is a major problem and has not yet been recognized as such.
  D. Noise is a major problem about which nothing can be done.
  4. The author condemns noise essentially because it ___.
  A. is against the law
  B. can make some people irritable
  C. is a nuisance
  D. in a ganger to people’s health
  5. The author would probably consider research about the effects noise has on people to be ___.
  A. unimportant
  B. impossible.
  C. a waste of money
  D. essential
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