Academic Reading and Writing

Topics: Guinness World Records, World record, Twin Galaxies Pages: 14 (4065 words) Published: April 15, 2013


Learning Unit 2: READING SKILLS
By the end of this session, you should be able to: identify what the writer has stated literally (read the lines) infer what the writer has stated (read between the lines) apply ideas within the text to what you already know (read beyond the lines)

A. Reading Academic Texts
Academic texts are relatively formal in structure and style. They might be textbooks or just straightforward texts. To increase the amount of information that you can extract from a single reading of a section, chapter or article in an academic text, you need to use efficient academic reading strategies. Some of the skills which are essential in academic reading are skimming and scanning for specific information or details, making inferences based on what is stated and applying ideas with the text to what you already know.

B. Identifying Specific Information
To identify specific information, you should begin by scanning the topic sentences (i.e. the sentence which makes the point of the paragraph and which is usually the first sentence of the paragraph). Locating the topic sentence helps you to stay focus on finding the needed information. Task 1 Read the following passage and provide the most appropriate answers for the corresponding questions.

Social Influence
1 Of the many influences on human behaviour, social influences are the most constant. When we hear the term social influence, most of us think of attempts of someone to persuade us to change our actions or opinions. The television usually comes to mind. However, the major influence on people is people’s presence. Many of the most important forms of social influence are unintentional and the effects we humans have on one another occur due to the fact that we are in each other’s physical presence. In 1898, a psychologist named Triplett made an interesting study. In checking the speed records of bicycle racers, he noticed that better speed records were obtained when cyclists raced against each other than when they raced against the clock. This observation led Triplett to perform another experiment. He asked children to turn a wheel as fast as possible for a certain period of time. Sometimes two children worked at the same time in the same room, each with his wheel; at other times, they worked alone. The results confirmed his theory that children worked faster in co-action, which is when another child doing the same thing was present. Therefore, the experiments proved that humans perform significantly better with the presence of another person when doing a task.







Soon after Triplett’s experiments, it was discovered that the presence of a passive spectator was enough to improve one’s performance. This was discovered in an experiment on muscular effort by Meumann in 1910, who found that subjects lifted a weight faster whenever the psychologist was in the room. Later experiments have confirmed this audience effect that provides several contributions to humans. Firstly, it helps to motivate a person to perform better. Secondly, it drives a person to break the psychological barrier. This is apparent in sport competitions in which crowds have a great effect on athletes’ performance, and it is normally referred to as home-ground advantage. For example, footballers tend to win more matches when playing in front of their own fans. It appears that co-action and audience effects in humans are caused by the individual’s cognitive concerns about competition and the evaluation of performance that others will make. We learn as we grow up that others praise or criticize, reward or punish our performances, and this raises our drive level when we perform in front of others. Thus, even the early studies of co-action found that if all elements of competition are...
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