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2017-07-13 15:08:12 1250 1255

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  【Can Scientists tell us: What happiness is?】


  Economists accept that if people describe themselves as happy, then they are happy. However, psychologists differentiate between levels of happiness. The most immediate type involves a feeling; pleasure or joy. But sometimes happiness is a judgment that life is satisfying, and does not imply an emotional state. Esteemed psychologist Martin Seligman has spearheaded an effort to study the science of happiness. The bad news is that we're not wired to be happy. The good news is that we can do something about it. Since its origins in a Leipzig laboratory 130 years ago, psychology has had little to say about goodness and contentment. Mostly psychologists have concerned themselves with weakness and misery. There are libraries full of theories about why we get sad, worried, and angry. It hasn't been respectable science to study what happens when lives go well. Positive experiences, such as joy, kindness, altruism and heroism, have mainly been ignored. For every 100 psychology papers dealing with anxiety or depression, only one concerns a positive trait.


  A few pioneers in experimental psychology bucked the trend. Professor Alice Isen of Cornell University and colleagues have demonstrated how positive emotions make people think faster and more creatively. Showing how easy it is to give people an intellectual boost, Isen divided doctors making a tricky diagnosis into three groups: one received candy, one read humanistic statements about medicine, one was a control group. The doctors who had candy displayed the most creative thinking and worked more efficiently. Inspired by Isen and others, Seligman got stuck in. He raised millions of dollars of research money and funded 50 research groups involving 150 scientists across the world. Four positive psychology centres opened, decorated in cheerful colours and furnished with sofas and baby-sitters. There were get-togethers on Mexican beaches where psychologists would snorkel and eat fajitas, then form "pods" to discuss subjects such as wonder and awe. A thousand therapists were coached in the new science.


  But critics are demanding answers to big questions. What is the point of defining levels of happiness and classifying the virtues? Aren't these concepts vague and impossible to pin down? Can you justify spending funds to research positive states when there are problems such as famine, flood and epidemic depression to be solved? Seligman knows his work can be belittled alongside trite notions such as "the power of positive thinking". His plan to stop the new science floating "on the waves of self- improvement fashions" is to make sure it is anchored to positive philosophy above, and to positive biology below.


  And this takes us back to our evolutionary past. Homo sapiens evolved during the Pleistocene era (1.8 m to 10,000 years ago), a time of hardship and turmoil. It was the Ice Age, and our ancestors endured long freezes as glaciers formed, then ferocious floods as the ice masses melted. We shared the planet with terrifying creatures such as mammoths, elephant-sized ground sloths and sabre-toothed cats. But by the end of the Pleistocene, all these animals were extinct. Humans, on the other hand, had evolved large brains and used their intelligence to make fire and sophisticated tools, to develop talk and social rituals. Survival in a time of adversity forged our brains into a persistent mould. Professor Seligman says: "Because our brain evolved during a time of ice, flood and famine, we have a catastrophic brain. The way the brain works is looking for what's wrong. The problem is, that worked in the Pleistocene era. It favoured you, but it doesn't work in the modem world."


  Although most people rate themselves as happy, there is a wealth of evidence to show that negative thinking is deeply ingrained in the human psyche. Experiments show that we remember failures more vividly than successes. We dwell on what went badly, not what went well. Of the six universal emotions, four anger, fear, disgust and sadness are negative and only one, joy, is positive. The sixth, surprise, is psychologist Daniel Nettle, author of Happiness, and one of the Royal Institution lecturers, the negative emotions each tell us "something bad has happened" and suggest a different course of action.


  What is it about the structure of the brain that underlies our bias towards negative thinking? And is there a biology of joy? At Iowa University, neuroscientists studied what happens when people are shown pleasant and unpleasant pictures. When subjects see landscapes or dolphins playing, part of the frontal lobe of the brain becomes active. But when they are shown unpleasant images a bird covered in oil, or a dead soldier with part of his face missing the response comes from more primitive parts of the brain. The ability to feel negative emotions derives from an ancient danger-recognition system formed early in the brain's evolution. The pre-frontal cortex, which registers happiness, is the part used for higher thinking, an area that evolved later in human history.


  Our difficulty, according to Daniel Nettle, is that the brain systems for liking and wanting are separate. Wanting involves two ancient regions the amygdala and the nucleus accumbens that communicate using the chemical dopamine to form the brain's reward system. They are involved in anticipating the pleasure of eating and in addiction to drugs. A rat will press a bar repeatedly, ignoring sexually available partners, to receive electrical stimulation of the "wanting" parts of the brain. But having received brain stimulation, the rat eats more but shows no sign of enjoying the food it craved. In humans, a drug like nicotine produces much craving but little pleasure.


  In essence, what the biology lesson tells us is that negative emotions are fundamental to the human condition, and ifs no wonder they are difficult to eradicate. At the same time, by a trick of nature, our brains are designed to crave but never really achieve lasting happiness.

  Question 14-20

  The reading passage has seven paragraphs A-H.

  Which paragraph contains the following information?

  Write the correct letter A-H, in boxes 14-20 on your answer sheet.

  14 An experiment involving dividing several groups one of which received positive icon

  15 Review of a poorly researched psychology area

  16 Contrast being made about the brain’s action as response to positive or negative stimulus

  17 The skeptical attitude toward the research seemed to be a waste of fund

  18 a substance that produces much wanting instead of much liking

  19 a conclusion that lasting happiness are hardly obtained because of the nature of brains

  20 One description that listed the human emotional categories

  Question 21-25

  Complete the following summary of the paragraphs of Reading Passage, using no more than four words from the Reading Passage for each answer.

  Write your answers in boxes 21-25 on your answer sheet.

  A few pioneers in experimental psychology study what happens when lives go well. Professor Alice divided doctors, making a tricky experiment, into three groups: beside the one control group, the other two either are asked to read humanistic statements about drugs, or received …21... The latter displayed the most creative thinking and worked more efficiently. Since critics are questioning the significance of the …22…for both levels of happiness and classification for the virtues. Professor Seligman countered in an evolutional theory: survival in a time of adversity forged our brains into the way of thinking for what's wrong because we have a…23…

  There is bountiful of evidence to show that negative thinking is deeply built in the human psyche. Later, at Iowa University, neuroscientists studied the active parts in brains to contrast when people are shown pleasant and unpleasant pictures. When positive images like…24…are shown, part of the frontal lobe of the brain becomes active. But when they are shown unpleasant image, the response comes from …25…of the brain.

  Question 26

  Write your answers in boxes 26 on your answer sheet.

  Choose the correct letter. A, B, C or D.

  According to Daniel Nettle in the last two paragraphs, what is true as the scientists can tell us about happiness

  A Brain systems always mix liking and wanting together.

  B Negative emotions can be easily rid of if we think positively.

  C Happiness is like nicotine we are craving for but get little pleasure.

  D The inner mechanism of human brains does not assist us to achieve durable happiness.









  A段: 关于幸福的早期心理学研究主流是负面情绪

  B段: 少数心理学家研究正面情感带给人的益处

  C段: 批评家质疑用积极思考来研究幸福的合理性

  D段: 冰河世纪的古人类惯用消极思维模式

  E段: 消极想法更容易被牢记

  F段: 积极和消极想法的大脑结构的生物学基础

  G段: 区分喜欢和欲望是研究幸福的难点

  H段: 消极情绪是人类生存的基础


  Question 14-26







  Three groups


  B段讲述了少数心理学家对积极情绪的研究。从第2句话开始,文章详述了实验的方法,题干中的positive icon指代文中的candy。





  A段是关于早期心里学家研究幸福的方法。从该段最后两句可以看出,积极的情绪在当时的研究被ignored,并且在100个试验中,only one concerns a positive trait。这里的ignored/only/a都是在映射题干中的poorly researched。



  Structure of the brain


  F段讲述了积极和消极想法的大脑结构的生物学基础。从第一句话的structure of brain可以看出,本段会研究brain action。



  Critics, big question


  C段是针对B段的观点,批评家质疑少数心理学家研究幸福的方式。从critics, big question, what is the point of…等地方,均可以看出题干中所述的skeptical attitude。



  Wanting, liking





  Brick of nature


  H段是全文最后一段,所以很容易于题干中的conclusion联系在一起。另外在H段第 2句也出现了brick of nature,指代题干中的nature of brains。



  Six universal emotion


  E段中提到了人类最基础的六种情感,对应题干中的human emotional categories。





  B段中详细描述了实验的三个分组情况。Into three groups: one received candy, one…



  What is the point of defining…


  从题干中的Since critics可得知此题对应原文中的C段。该段第2句话what is the point of defining levels of happiness and classifying the virtues。所以本题需要填写define的名词definition。


  Professor Seligman, adversity


  D段倒数第3句:Professor Seligman says: because our brain evolved during a time of ice, flood and famine, we have a catastrophic brain。从题干中的Professor Seligman提示了答案应该从这句话中寻找。另外题干中的adversity对应了文章中的ice flood和famine。因此每题应该填catastrophic brain


  Pleasant picture


  E段第3句 讲述了pleasant and unpleasant picture对人类大脑的影响,之后紧接着提到了landscapes and dolphins playing。可见这里的positive image应该填文章中对应的pleasant picture,即landscapes and dolphins playing。


  Unpleasant images


  此题答案紧接着上一题。作者在E段中描述了pleasant picture之后,紧接着提到了unpleasant image(picture)。在该句的末尾处comes from more primitive parts of the brain可以找到改题的答案为 more primitive parts


  Separate, deeply ingrained, wanting and liking, lasting happiness


  A选项: G段的第一句话brain system for liking and wanting are separate,因此选项中的mix together是错误的。

  B选项: 在E段中,作者主要表述了消极思想和情感在大脑中会留下深刻的记忆,并很难被抹去: negative thinking is deeply ingrained in the human psyche。Deeply ingrained和题干中的be easily rid of矛盾。

  C选项:G段最后一句,drug like nicotine produces much craving but little pleasure。看似与题干很吻合但是却在意思上大相径庭。G段的核心思想是在强调happiness和满足wanting后的satisfaction是两个概念。题干中的nicotine只是满足了人类大脑的wanting,但是不会带来pleasant,更不会带来happiness。所以这个选项也是错误的。

  D选项:H段最后一句,our brain are designed to crave but never really achieve lasting happiness意思与题干一致,表述了由于大脑结构导致了很难持续或者幸福感。





  经济学家认为,如果人们会把自己描述成幸福的,那么他们就是幸福的.然而 心理学家却要区分不同幸福感之间的差別。幸福最中等的水平是一种开心或是快乐的感觉。但是有时幸福是对生活的一种评判,认为生活是令人满意的,而这似乎是不涉及感情范畴的。受人敬仰的心理学家Martin Seligman率先致力于关于幸福的研究。不幸的是,我们并不是天生就会感到幸福;而所幸的是,我们可以做一些关于幸福的事情。关于幸福的研究最早要追溯 到130年前在Leipzig的实验室,那时心理学对“善良”和“满足”还知之甚少, 大部分的心理学家都在研究“软弱”和“痛苦”。图书馆里的书涉及的理论都是关于我们为什么会悲伤,担忧和生气这类的情绪。研究生活乎顺时发生的事情在当时看来是不靠谱的。积极正面的体验,比如说快乐,善良,利他主义和英雄主义在当时常常是被人们忽略的。在每100篇关于焦虑和压抑的心理学论文中,只有一篇会涉及积极的心理状态。


  少数的实验心理学家引领了有关幸福研究的潮流。康奈尔大学的Alice Isen教授和她的同事致力于研究正面的情感如何让人们思维更敏捷以及更有创造力。为了展示正面的情感是怎样迅速地提升一个人的智力,Isen教授通过一个巧妙的诊断将参加实验的医生分为3组:一组收到了糖果,一组朗读人本主义的宜言,一组则作为控制对照组,(实验结果表明,)收到糖果的医生的思维更具创造性同时工作也更高效,受到Isen教授和其他人的启发,Seligman也投身关于幸描的研究,他等集到了几百万美金的研究经费,用以资助全世界150名科学家组成的50个研究小组。4家“积极心理学”中心成立,用令人愉悦的颜色装饰, 配有沙发和保姆。心理学家聚集在墨西哥的沙滩上享受着潜水的乐趣,品尝墨西哥菜肴fajitas,他们还分成小组讨论有关“夸迹”和“敬畏"的话题。还有一千名临床医学家接受这项新科学项目的培训。




  这就需要我们回到人类的进化史,人类是从更新世时代(180万到1万年前)开始进化的,那是一个充满艰难和动荡的时代。在冰河世纪,我们的祖先先是忍受冰川形成的寒冷,然后是冰川消融时的泛滥的洪水。人们还得和那些令人毛骨悚然的生物比如说猛犸象和体型如大象般巨大的地懒以及长着锐利犬牙的猫共同生存。但是到了更新世的末期,所有的这些动物都灭绝了,人类却进化出了脑容量更大的大脑,并且通过自己的智力学会生火和制造较复杂的工具,还学会了说话并且形成了一些社会礼仪。在逆境中生存将人类变得更加有恒心和毅力。Seligman教授说道:“因为我们的大脑是在一个充满冰川,洪水和饥荒的年代进化来的,我们的大脑经历了太多患难—灾难性,所以我们的大脑的运作模式就是 “发现哪里出了问题”。但问题是,这在更新世那样的时代是起作用的,在那时这对人类是有益的,但是在现代社会就不起作用了。


  尽管大多数人评价自己很幸福,但是大量证据显示消极的想法还是在人类心中根深蒂固。实验显示,较成功而言,失败更容易被我们牢牢记住。我们总是在思想一些不顺利的事情,而不是那些顺利的好的事情。在6种基本的情绪中,有4种是消极的,它们是:生气,害怕,厌恶和悲伤,而只有一种是积极的,它就是喜悦。(第6种情绪是惊奇,属于中性。)心理学家同时也是《幸福》这本书的作者Daniel Nettle和皇家学院的一位学者认为,消极的情绪总是告诉我们“一些不好的事情已经发生了”,从而会让我们采取不一样的行动。




  据Daniel Nettle所言,研究的困难在于大脑对于“喜欢”和“欲望”(wanting and liking)的机制是分开的,“欲望”涉及两个最初大脑发育的部位,也就是扁桃体和神经大脑区,它们通过化学多巴酚传递信息来形成大脑的奖励机制。它们常常是让人们很期待吃完东西的快感或是对药品上瘾。小白鼠会不停地击打栅栏来获取对大脑“欲望”情绪的电刺激,而忽略异性同伴,但是获得大脑刺激的小白鼠虽然吃得更多,但是并没有迹象表明它在吃到自己渴想的食物后有一种满足感。对人而言,像尼古丁这样的物质会让人想要摄取更多但是却带来很少的快感。




  Version 19104 主题 幸福的科学解释

  14、B 15、A 16、F 17、C 18、G 19、H 20、E

  21、Candy 22、definition 23、a catastrophic brain

  24、landscapes or dolphins playing 25、(more) primitive parts