New SAT Reading Practice Test 77: Is It the Heart or the Brain?

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Is It the Heart or the Brain?

I saw you from across the room, and I knew immediately. My pulse began to race; I
started to sweat; I could barely breathe. From the first moment that I laid eyes on you, I
was convinced that you were the one. On our first date, the chemistry was obvious. We
laughed and smiled and held hands and talked for hours. I couldn't sleep or eat or even
05pay attention at work. I just had to be with you.
Within one-fifth of a second, your physical appearance and body language caused an
excessive release of dopamine in my brain creating feelings of excitement and happiness.
We made eye contact for 8.2 seconds; your pheromones were indistinguishable from
my mother's. Then, your voice triggered my brain mechanism for generating long-term
10attachment; and, for the next several days, my neurotransmitters sent obsessive message
after message, accompanying thoughts of you with feelings of euphoria. Once vasopressin
and oxytocin reached my receptors, I knew that I could never be without you.
Although the former description of "falling in love" is far more prevalent, it is the
latter that has scientists speculating that love is more biological than cultural. Helen
15Fisher, American anthropologist and professor at Rutgers University, studies romantic
interpersonal attraction and states that love begins with a focus on one person that
results in obsessive thinking. In her essay, "The Realities of Love at First Sight," Fisher
explains how we evaluate an individual within three minutes of meeting them based
on their physical attributes, voice, and words. First, we decide if they are attractive,
20then we evaluate their clothing and stature, before moving on to the sound and tone of
their voice. Lastly, we consider what they actually say. She concludes that we choose
partners whose biological chemicals complement our own.
Fisher's research has even gone further to explain the science behind falling in
love. She theorizes that humans have three brain systems for loving: lust, which is
25associated with testosterone; attraction, which is linked to dopamine; and attachment,
which is brought on by increased levels of oxytocin and vasopressin. While these three
systems can surely overlap, they also exist separately from one another which, for
Fisher, explains why loving more than one person at a time is quite possible. However,
Fisher isn't convinced that love is entirely biological. The Economist describes the
30phenomenon like this: "a chemical state with genetic roots and environmental
Yet, the connection between love and brain chemicals is far too certain to ignore.
Psychology Today renders love a three-step scientific process. First, a release of the
hormone dopamine causes "feel good" emotions. In this stage, we feel attracted to an
35individual and associate them with feelings of intense joy. Next, our neurotransmitters—
norepinephrine and phenylethylamine—lead to focused attention on the object
of our attraction and feelings of giddiness that make it hard to sleep and decrease our
appetite. Lastly, our brain reward system is activated, sending chemical messages to
various parts of the body that elevate mood and make an addiction-like urge to be with
40that person. Biologically, that is the extent of love.
Comparing love to a chemical addiction is actually a quite common metaphor,
within poetry and music, but it also happens within the sciences. Deepak Chopra,
physician and public speaker, postulates that love stems from an impulse and behaves
within our brain very similarly to a drug addiction. Stephanie Ortigue is a professor
45at Syracuse University and describes the addiction-like qualities as a result of twelve
different areas of the brain working in tandem to release euphoria-inducing chemicals
such as adrenaline, dopamine, oxytocin, and vasopressin. Oxytocin, known as "the
love hormone," is why we feel calm and cuddly with our significant others.
When it comes to "love at first sight," biologists are asserting that it actually
50does happen—in about 11% of love encounters, the attachment mechanism within
the brain can be triggered within the first few minutes of meeting someone. The
Huffington Post
contends that the optimal environment for love at first sight takes
place in encounters with about 8 seconds of continuous eye contact; in cases where
individuals stared into one another's eyes for 4.5 seconds or less, the chances for love
55were dismal. It would appear that new research has love down to a science.

When Did I Fall in Love?

1. What is the overall point of the passage?

  • A. To argue in favor of a scientific basis for matchmaking
  • B. To present the latest findings on the science of love
  • C. To present two sides on a major philosophical question
  • D. To give evidence in support of societal reform

2. The different perspectives represented by the first and second paragraphs are generally described as what, respectively?

  • A. ethical, scientific
  • B. trivial, important
  • C. authentic, misguided
  • D. subjective, objective

3. As used in line 3, the word "chemistry" most closely means

  • A. attraction.
  • B. emotion.
  • C. collegiality.
  • D. biology.

4. The author makes the most broad use of which of the following to build her case?

  • A. Personal anecdote
  • B. Dismantling logical fallacies
  • C. Rhetorical questioning
  • D. Reference to authoritative sources

5. It can be reasonably inferred from the passage that which of the following chemicals is most important to a long-lasting loving relationship?

  • A. Oxytocin
  • B. Testosterone
  • C. Dopamine
  • D. Norepinephrine

6. Which option gives the best evidence for the answer to the previous question?

  • A. Lines 6-10 ("Within . . . attachment")
  • B. Lines 23-26 ("Fisher's . . . vasopressin")
  • C. Lines 35-38 ("Next . . . appetite")
  • D. Lines 44-47 ("Stephanie . . . vasopressin")

7. As used in line 22, the word "complement" most closely means

  • A. praise.
  • B. supplement.
  • C. reveal.
  • D. interact with.

8. Lines 41-42 ("Comparing . . . sciences") most strongly serve to

  • A. express the wide use of a comparison.
  • B. highlight the contributions of the arts to the sciences.
  • C. underscore a flawed assumption.
  • D. use literary techniques for added stylistic variety.

9. Based on the information in the graph, it is most likely that the sample of people researchers referred to in lines 49-51 ("When it . . . someone") was a

  • A. group of only men.
  • B. group of only women.
  • C. group of both men and women.
  • D. group of scholars in the subject.

10. After approximately how many months into their current relationship would the majority of men surveyed in the graph state that they were in love with their partner?

  • A. First sight
  • B. 1 month
  • C. 3 months
  • D. 6 months

11. The information in the graph most directly contradicts what evidence from the passage?

  • A. Fisher's point of view in lines 13-22
  • B. Fisher's theories in lines 23-31
  • C. The findings presented in Psychology Today outlined in lines 32-40
  • D. The authoritative views presented in lines 41-48