SAT Reading - Khan Diagnostic Quiz level 2 - reading 17

Questions 1-11 are based on the following
passage.


This passage is excerpted from Leyra Castro and Ed Wasserman, “Crows Understand Analogies,” © 2015 by Scientific American.




A recent research collaboration has discovered that

crows exhibit strong behavioral signs of analogical

reasoning—the ability to solve puzzles like “bird is to air as
fish is to what?” Analogical reasoning is considered to be
5 the pinnacle of cognition and it only develops in humans

between the ages of three and four.
Why might crows be promising animals to study? Of

course, crows are reputed to be clever. Aesop’s famous

fable “The Crow and the Pitcher” tells of a crow solving a
10 challenging problem: the thirsty crow drops pebbles into a

pitcher with water near the bottom, thereby raising the

fluid level high enough to permit the bird to drink. Such

tales are charming and provocative, but science cannot rely

on them.
15 Recent scientific research sought to corroborate this

fable. It found that crows given a similar problem dropped

stones into a tube containing water, but not into a tube

containing sand. Crows also chose to drop solid rather than

hollow objects into the water tube. It thus seems that
20 crows do indeed understand basic cause-effect relations.
But, what happens when crows are given problems that

require more abstract thinking? Before setting our sights

on analogical reasoning, we might begin with a simpler

abstract task. For example, sameness and differentness are
25 key abstract ideas, because two or more items of any kind

—coins, cups, caps, or cars—can be the same as or different

from one another. Because sameness and differentness can

be detected visually, perhaps that may provide an elegant

way to study their apprehension by nonverbal animals.
30 To do so, we present visual stimuli on a touchscreen

monitor. We reward animals with food for contacting one

button when sets contain identical items and we reward

animals for contacting a second button when sets contain

non-identical items. Several species of birds and mammals
35 learn this task and also transfer their learning to new

stimuli, showing that they have learned an abstract

concept, which extends beyond the training items.
Devising a task to study analogical thinking in animals

is the next step. Here, the gist of analogy can be captured
40 by arranging a matching task in which the relevant logical

arguments are presented in the form of visual stimuli.

Using letters of the alphabet for explanatory purposes,

choosing test pair BB would be correct if the sample pair

were AA, whereas choosing test pair EF would be correct if
45 the sample pair were CD. Stated logically, A:A as B:B

(same = same) and C:D as E:F (different = different).

Critically, no items in the correct test pair physically

match any of the items in the sample pair; so, only the

analogical relation of sameness can be used to solve the
50 task.
Now, we have found that crows too can exhibit

analogical thinking. Ed Wasserman, one of the authors of

this article, and his colleagues in Moscow, Anna Smirnova,

Zoya Zorina, and Tanya Obozova, first trained hooded
55 crows on several tasks in which they had to match items

that were the same as one another. The crows were

presented with a tray containing three cups. The middle

cup was covered by a card picturing a color, a shape, or a

number of items. The other two side cups were also covered
60 by cards—one the same as and one different from the

middle card. The cup under the matching card contained

food, but the cup under the nonmatching card was empty.

Crows quickly learned to choose the matching card and to

do so more quickly from one task to the next.
65 Then, the critical test was given. Each card now

pictured a pair of items. The middle card would display

pairs AA or CD, and the two side cards would display pair

BB and pair EF. The relation between one pair of items

must be appreciated and then applied to a new pair of
70 items to generate the correct answer: the BB card in the

case of AA or the EF card in the case of CD. For instance,

if the middle card displayed a circle and a cross, then the

correct choice would be the side card containing a square

and a triangle rather than the side card containing two
75 squares.
Not only could the crows correctly perform this task,

but they did so spontaneously, from the very first

presentations, without ever being trained to do so.
It seems that initial training to match identical items
80 enabled the crows to grasp a broadly applicable concept of

sameness that could apply to the novel two-item analogy

task. Such robust and uninstructed behavior represents the

most convincing evidence yet of analogical reasoning in a

non-primate animal.

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Question 1 The main purpose of the passage is to