XAT 2019


Read the passage given below and answer the questions that follow it:

Does having a mood disorder make you more creative? That’s the most frequent question I hear about the relationship. But because we cannot control the instance of a mood disorder (that is, we can’t turn it on and off, and measure that person’s creativity under both conditions), the question should really be: Do individuals with a mood disorder exhibit greater creativity than those without? Studies that attempt to answer this question by comparing the creativity of individuals with a mood disorder against those without, have been well, mixed.

Studies that ask participants to complete surveys of creative personality, behavior or accomplishment, or to complete divergent thinking measures (where they are asked to generate lots of ideas) often find that individuals with mood disorders do not differ from those without. However, studies using “creative occupation” as an indicator of creativity (based on the assumption that those employed in these occupations are relatively more creative than others) have found that people with bipolar disorders are overrepresented in these occupations. These studies do not measure the creativity of participants directly, rather they use external records (such as censuses and medical registries) to tally the number of people with a history of mood disorders (compared with those without) who report being employed in a creative occupation at some time. These studies incorporate an enormous number of people and provide solid evidence that people who have sought treatment for mood disorders are engaged in creative occupations to a greater extent than those who have not. But can creative occupations serve as a proxy for creative ability?

The creative occupations considered in these studies are overwhelmingly in the arts, which frequently provide greater autonomy and less rigid structure than the average nine-to-five job. This makes these jobs more conducive to the success of individuals who struggle with performance consistency as the result of a mood disorder. The American psychiatrist Arnold Ludwig has suggested that the level of emotional expressiveness required to be successful in various occupations creates an occupational drift and demonstrated that the pattern of expressive occupations being associated with a greater incidence of psychopathology is a self-repeating pattern. For example, professions in the creative arts are associated with greater psychopathology than professions in the sciences whereas, within creative arts professions, architects exhibit a lower lifetime prevalence rate of psychopathology than visual artists and, within the visual arts, abstract artists exhibit lower rates of psychopathology than expressive artists. Therefore, it is possible that many people who suffer from mood disorders gravitate towards these types of professions, regardless of creative ability or inclination.

Question 11

Which of the following will make the authors contention in the passage fallacious?

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Lately it seems everyone’s got an opinion about women’s speech. Everybody has been getting his two cents in about vocal fry, up-speak, and women’s allegedly over-liberal use of apologies. The ways women live and move in the world are subject to relentless scrutiny, their modes of speech are assessed against a (usually) masculine standard. This is increasingly true as women have entered previously male-dominated fields like industry and politics.

In his essay “On Speech and Public Release,” Joshua Gunn highlights the field of public address as an important arena where social roles and norms are contested, reshaped, and upheld. Gunn argues that the field of public address is an important symbolic arena where we harbor an “[ideological] bias against the feminine voice,” a bias, that is rooted in positive primal associations with masculinity (and the corresponding devaluation of femininity, the voice that constrains and nags—the mother, the droning Charlie Brown schoolteacher, the wife).

Gunn contends that masculine speech is the cultural standard. It’s what we value and respect. The low pitch and assertive demeanor that characterize the adult male voice signify reason, control, and authority, suitable for the public domain. Women’s voices are higher pitched, like those of immature boys, and their characteristic speech patterns have a distinctive cadence that exhibits a wider range of emotional expression. In Western cultures, this is bad because it comes across as uncontrolled. We associate uncontrolled speech - “the cry, the grunt, the scream, and the yawp” - with things that happen in the private, domestic spheres (both coded as feminine). Men are expected to repress passionate, emotional speech, Gunn explains, precisely because it threatens norms of masculine control and order. 

The notion of control also relates to the cultural ideal of eloquence. Language ideologies in the U.S. are complex and highly prescriptive, but not formal or explicit. They are internalized by osmosis, from early observations of adult language use, criticism from teachers (i.e., telling little girls not to “be so bossy” and boys to “act like gentlemen”), and sanctions imposed by peers. These norms become most obvious when they are violated. When men fall off the “control and reason” wagon, they suffer for it. Gunn recalls Howard Dean’s infamous 2004 “I Have a Scream” speech, in which Dean emitted a spontaneous high-pitched screech of joy after he rattled off a list of planned campaign stops. The rest, as they say, is history. Women face a different dilemma—how to please like a woman and impress like a man. Women in the public sphere have, historically, been expected to “perform” femininity and they usually do this by adopting a personal tone, giving anecdotal evidence, using domestic metaphors, and making emotional appeals to ideals of wifely virtue and motherhood.

Gunn arrives at the conclusion that “eloquence” is, essentially, code for values associated with masculinity, saying, “Performances of femininity are principally vocal and related, not to arguments, but to tone; not to appearance, but to speech; not to good reasons, but to sound. This implies that the ideology of sexism is much more insidious, much more deeply ingrained than many might suppose.”

Question 12

Which of the following statements if true, is contrary to the ideas developed in the passage?

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Question 13

An American female politician might not be expected to exhibit the features of public discourse discussed in the passage while ______.

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Question 14

Which one of the following, if true, would make the core argument of the passage irrelevant?

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Read the passage given below and answer the questions that follow it:

There are no Commandments in art and no easy axioms for art appreciation. “Do I like this?” is the question anyone should ask themselves at the moment of confrontation with the picture. But if “yes,” why “yes”? and if “no,” why “no”? The obvious direct emotional response is never simple, and ninety-nine times out of a hundred, the “yes” or “no” has nothing at all to do with the picture in its own right. “I don’t understand this poem” and “I don’t like this picture” are statements that tell us something about the speaker. That should be obvious, but in fact, such statements are offered as criticisms of art, as evidence against, not least because the ignorant, the lazy, or the plain confused are not likely to want to admit themselves as such. We hear a lot about the arrogance of the artist but nothing about the arrogance of the audience. The audience, who have given no thought to the medium or the method, will glance up, flick through, chatter over the opening chords, then snap their fingers and walk away like some monstrous Roman tyrant. This is not arrogance; of course, they can absorb in a few moments, and without any effort, the sum of the artist and the art.

Admire me is the sub-text of so much of our looking; the demand put on art that it should reflect the reality of the viewer. The true painting, in its stubborn independence, cannot do this, except coincidentally. Its reality is imaginative not mundane.

When the thick curtain of protection is taken away; protection of prejudice, protection of authority, protection of trivia, even the most familiar of paintings can begin to work its power. There are very few people who could manage an hour alone with the Mona Lisa. Our poor art-lover in his aesthetic laboratory has not succeeded in freeing himself from the protection of assumption. What he has found is that the painting objects to his lack of concentration; his failure to meet intensity with intensity. He still has not discovered anything about the painting, but the painting has discovered a lot about him. He is inadequate, and the painting has told him so.

When you say “This work is boring/ pointless/silly/obscure/élitist etc.,” you might be right, because you are looking at a fad, or you might be wrong because the work falls so outside of the safety of your own experience that in order to keep your own world intact, you must deny the other world of the painting. This denial of imaginative experience happens at a deeper level than our affirmation of our daily world. Every day, in countless ways, you and I convince ourselves about ourselves. True art, when it happens to us, challenges the “I” that we are and you say, “This work has nothing to do with me.”

Art is not a little bit of evolution that late-twentieth-century city dwellers can safely do without. Strictly, art does not belong to our evolutionary pattern at all. It has no biological necessity. Time taken up with it was time lost to hunting, gathering, mating, exploring, building, surviving, thriving. We say we have no time for art. If we say that art, all art. is no longer relevant to our lives, then we might at least risk the question “What has happened to our lives?” The usual question, “What has happened to art?” is too easy an escape route.

Question 15

A young man visits a critically acclaimed modern art exhibition in his city and finds that he doesn’t like any of the exhibits. If he were to share his experience with the author of the passage, which of the following is most likely to be the author’s response?

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Question 16

What according to the passage is the prerequisite to appreciate art?

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Question 17

When the writer observes, ‘This is not arrogance; of course, they can absorb in a few moments, and without any effort, the sum of the artist and the art’, he is being _____.

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Read the passage given below and answer the questions that follow it:

Elevation has always existed but has just moved out of the realm of philosophy and religion and been recognized as a distinct emotional state and a subject for psychological study. Psychology has long focused on what goes wrong, but in the past decade there has been an explosion of interest in “positive psychology”—what makes us feel good and why. University of Virginia moral psychologist Jonathan Haidt, who coined the term elevation, writes, “Powerful moments of elevation sometimes seem to push a mental ‘reset button,’ wiping out feelings of cynicism and replacing them with feelings of hope, love, and optimism, and a sense of moral inspiration.”

Haidt quotes first-century Greek philosopher Longinus on great oratory: “The effect of elevated language upon an audience is not persuasion but transport.” Such feeling was once a part of our public discourse. After hearing Abraham Lincoln’s second inaugural address, former slave Frederick Douglass said it was a “sacred effort.” But uplifting rhetoric came to sound anachronistic, except as practiced by the occasional master like Martin Luther King Jr.

It was while looking through the letters of Thomas Jefferson that Haidt first found a description of elevation. Jefferson wrote of the physical sensation that comes from witnessing goodness in others: It is to “dilate [the] breast and elevate [the] sentiments … and privately covenant to copy the fair example.” Haidt took this description as a mandate.

Elevation can so often give us chills or a tingling feeling in the chest. This noticeable, physiological response is important. In fact, this physical reaction is what can tell us most surely that we have been moved. This reaction, and the prosocial inclinations it seems to inspire, has been linked with a specific hormone, oxytocin, emitted from Vagus nerve which works with oxytocin, the hormone of connection. The nerve’s activities can only be studied indirectly.

Elevation is part of a family of self-transcending emotions. Some others are awe, that sense of the vastness of the universe and smallness of self that is often invoked by nature; another is admiration, that goose-bump-making thrill that comes from seeing exceptional skill in action. While there is very little lab work on the elevating emotions, there is quite a bit on its counterpart, disgust. It started as a survival strategy: Early humans needed to figure out when food was spoiled by contact with bacteria or parasites. From there disgust expanded to the social realm—people became repelled by the idea of contact with the defiled or by behaviors that seemed to belong to lower people. “Disgust is probably the most powerful emotion that separates your group from other groups.” Haidt says disgust is the bottom floor of a vertical continuum of emotion; hit the up button, and you arrive at elevation. Another response to something extraordinary in another person can be envy, with all its downsides. Envy is unlikely, however, when the extraordinary aspect of another person is a moral virtue (such as acting in a just way, bravery and self-sacrifice, and caring for others).

Question 18

Which of the options below is false according to the passage?

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Question 19

Which of the options will complete the statement given below meaningfully and appropriately, according to the passage?

Disgust is not a self-transcending emotion because it ________.

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Question 20

Which of the options below correctly identifies the function of elevation?

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