Mock Test 1.2 (Academic Reading)


You should spend about 20 minutes on Questions 14-26, which are based on Reading Passage 2 on the following pages.




Humans don’t have a monopoly on laughter, says Silvia Cardoso. A behavioral biologist at the State University of Campinas, Brazil, she says it’s a primitive reflex common to most animals: even rats laugh. [Crack IELTS with Rob] She tells Sophie Petit-Zeman that too little laughter could have serious consequences for our mental, physical and social well-being.


Laughter a universal phenomenon, and one of the most common things we do. We laugh many times a day, for many different reasons, but rarely think about it, and seldom consciously control it. We know so little about the different kinks and functions of laughter, and my interest really starts there. Why do we do it? What can laughter teach us about our positive emotions and social behaviour? There’s so much we don’t know about how the brain contributes to emotion and I think we can get at understanding this by studying laughter.


Only 10 or 20 per cent of laughing is a response to humor. Most of the time it’s a message we send to other people-communicating joyful disposition, a willingness to bond and so on. It occupies a special place in social interaction and is a fascinating feature of our biology, with motor, emotional and cognitive components. Scientists study all kinds of emotions and behaviour, but few focus on this most basic ingredient. [Crack IELTS with Rob] Laughter gives us a clue that we have powerful systems in our brain which respond to pleasure, happiness and joy. It’s also involved in events such as release of fear.


Many professionals have always focused on emotional behaviour. I spent many years investigating the neural basis of fear in rats, and came to laughter via that route. When I was working with rats, I noticed that when they were alone, in an exposed environment, they were scared and quite uncomfortable. Back in a cage with others, they seemed much happier. It looked as if they played with one another real rough-and-tumble and I wondered whether they were also laughing. The neurobiologist Jaak Panksepp and shown that juvenile rats make short vocalisations, pitched too high for humans to hear, during rough-and-tumble play. He thinks these are similar to laughter. This made me wonder about the roots of laughter.


You only have to look at the primates closest to humans to see that laughter is clearly not unique to us. I don’t find this too surprising, because we’re only one among many social species and there’s no reason why we should have a monopoly on laughter as a social tool. The great apes, such as chimpanzees, do something similar to humans. [Crack IELTS with Rob] They open their mouths wide, expose their teeth, retract the corners of their lips, and make loud and repetitive vocalisations in situations that tend to evoke human laughter, like when playing with one another or with humans, or when tickled. Laugher may even have evolved long before primates. We know that dogs at play have strange patterns of exhalation that differ from other sounds made during passive or aggressive confrontation.


But I think we need to be careful about over-interpreting panting behaviour in animals at play. It’s nice to think of it as homologous to human laughter, but it could just be something similar but with entirely different purposes and evolutionary advantages.


Everything humans do has a function, and laughing is no exception. [Crack IELTS with Rob] Its function is surely communication. We need to build social structures in order to live well in our society and evolution has selected laughter as a useful device for promoting social communication. In other words, it must have a survival advantage for the species.


The brain scans are usually done while people are responding to humorous material. You see brainwave activity spread from the sensory processing area of the occipital lobe, the bit at the back of the brain that processes visual signals, to the brain’s frontal lobe analyses the words and structure of jokes while the right side the intellectual analyses required to “get” jokes. Finally, activity spreads to the motor areas of the brain controlling the physical task of laughing. We also know about these complex pathways involved in laughter from neurological illness and injury. Sometimes after brain damage, tumors, stroke, or brain disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, people get “stonefaced” syndrome and can’t laugh.


We are sure that laughter differs between the sexes, particularly the uses to which the sexes put laughter as a social tool. For instance, women smile more than laugh, and are particularly adept at smiling and laughing with men as a kind of “social lubricant”. [Crack IELTS with Rob] It might even be possible that this has a biological origin because women don’t or can’t use their physical size as a threat, which men do, even if unconsciously.


It’s undoubtedly the best medicine. For one thing, it’s exercise. It activates the cardiovascular system, so heart rate and blood pressure increase, the arteries dilate, causing blood pressure to fall again. Repeated short, strong contractions of the chest muscles, diaphragm, and abdomen increase blood flow into our internal organs, and forced respiration- the ha! ha!- makes sure that this blood is well oxygenated. Muscle tension decreases, and indeed we may temporarily lose control of our limbs, as in the expression “weak with laugher”. It may also release brain endorphins, reducing sensitivity to pain and boosting endurance and pleasurable sensations. [Crack IELTS with Rob] Some studies suggest that laughter affects the immune system by reducing the production of hormones associated with stress and that when you laugh the immune system produces more T-cells. But no rigorously controlled studies have confirmed these effects. Laughter’s social role is definitely important.


Today’s children may be heading for a whole lot of social ills because their play and leisure time is so isolated and they lose out on lots of chances for laughter. When children stare at computer screens, rather than laughing with each other, this is at odds with what’s natural for them. Natural social behaviour in children is playful behaviour, and in such situations laughter indicates that make-believe aggression is just fun, not for real, and this is an important way in which children form positive emotional bonds, gain new social skills and generally start to move from childhood to adulthood. I think parents need to be very careful to ensure that their children play in groups, with both peers and adults, and laugh more.


Questions 14 - 15

Which of the following claims and arguments are presented in the passage above?

Choose TWO following claims and arguments.

  • All animals share the phenomenon of laughter
  • Laughter can influence both adult and child health

Question 15-hide

  • Laughter is not unique to humans
  • Human mental, physical and social well-being are closely related
  • Laughter teaches us how to behave

Questions 16 - 20

Do the following statements agree with the writer in Reading passage 2?

On your answer sheet, please write

          YES                    if the statement agrees with the writer

          NO                      if the statement contradicts the writer

          NOT GIVEN       if there is no information about this in the passage

  • 16.  Laughter is one of the most common expressions shared by humans.

  • 17.  There are complicated systems in human brain take responsibility of our emotions as happiness and fear.

  • 18.  Communication is the only purpose of laughter.

  • 19.  Reduced blood pressure would lead to a stimulated cardiovascular system.

  • 20.  With the mass production of T-cells from laughter, stress hormones would be deducted from immune system.


Questions 21 - 26

Complete the summary below:

Choose NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS from the passage for each answer.

  • Emotional behaviour takes academic concerns. For years scientists have been examining the origin of  (21 and laughter that comes from the same route as rats.

  • Within an open environment, they have been noticed to be (22. When they are alone, happier when they are back with the others.

  • Jack Panksepp even found that rats make (23 when they are in a chaotic state. 

  • It is well understand that humans are not only living species that laughs and laughter may have developed long before (24.

  • Despite sich facts, we need to pay attention when we explain various animal behaviour, as they may express with differed (25

  • and (26.





Please click the red words below for other sections of this Mock Test:

Mock Test 1 | Listening Test
Mock Test 1 | Reading Passage 1
Mock Test 1 | Reading Passage 3


Result: / Exit

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