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外刊阅读练习:什么情况下人们会觉得“不公平”?

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熟悉四六级阅读理解题型的同学应该都了解, 英语四六级考试阅读理解材料大多 选自《时代》 《卫报》 《科学美国人》等外刊。要想阅读理解这部分拿到高分,必 须在平常多阅读,掌握新词汇,锻炼阅读速度。 Science and technology. 科技 Psychology 心理 Snot fair! 太不公平啦! Exactly when is something perceived as "not fair"? 究竟在什么情况下人们会觉得"不公平"? AS THE bankster phenomenon has so eloquently illustrated, Homo sapiens is exquisitelysensitive to injustice. Many people grudgingly tolerated the astronomical incomes of financial traders, and even the cosmological ones of banks' chief executives, when they thought those salaries were earned by honest labour. Now, so many examples to the contrary have emerged that toleration has vanished. 强盗银行家的现象已经有力地证明,人类对于不公平是敏感至极的。过去, 许多人对于操盘手高到天上去的收入,甚至是银行高管天文数字一般的薪酬,虽 愠愠不平,但尚能忍耐,他们曾以为这些收入是靠诚实劳动赚来的。但如今,随 着大量反例的出现,公众的忍耐已经不复存在。 Surprisingly, however, the psychological underpinnings of a sense of injustice-in particular, what triggers willingness to punish an offender, even at a cost to the punisher-have not been well established. But a recent experiment by Nichola Raihani of University College, London, and Katherine McAuliffe of Harvard, just published in Biology Letters, attempts to disentangle the matter. 然而让人惊讶的是,心理学上对于不公平感的成因尚未能做出很好的解释, 尤其是为何人们不惜付出代价也要惩罚侵犯者。但是,英国伦敦大学学院的尼古

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拉· 雷汉尼(Nichola Raihani)和哈佛大学的凯瑟琳· 麦考利夫(Katherine McAuliffe) 最近进行的一项实验尝试对这个问题抽丝剥缕, 这一实验的结果发表在了最近的 《生物学快报》上。 Dr Raihani and Ms McAuliffe tested two competing hypotheses. One is that the desire to punish is simple revenge for an offence. The other is that it is related to the offence's consequences-specifically, whether or not the offender is left better off than the victim. 雷汉尼博士和麦考利夫女士对两种对立的猜想进行了验证。 第一种猜想认为, 惩罚侵犯者的欲望只是一种报复心理。另一种猜想则认为这与侵犯的结果有关-具体来说,即侵犯者的境况是否比受害者更好。 Until recently, the temptation would have been to advertise for undergraduate volunteers for such a project. Instead, Dr Raihani and Ms McAuliffe decided to follow a new fashion in psychology and recruit their human guinea pigs through a system called Mechanical Turk. Thisarrangement, run by Amazon, a large internet firm, pays people registered with it (known as Turkers) small sums of money to do jobs for others. That allowed the two researchers not only togather many more volunteers (560) than would have been possible from the average student body, but also to spread the profile of those volunteers beyond the halls of academe and beyond the age of 21. 一直到最近, 像这样的项目往往会通过广告吸引大学生志愿者。但是雷汉尼 博士和麦考利夫女士决定采取心理学界新近流行的一种方法,借由一个叫做"机 械土耳其"的系统招收他们实验的小白鼠。 这一系统由网络巨头亚马逊公司组织, 注册用户(被称作"特客(Turker)")为别人工作后可以领到小额的酬劳。 通过这个系 统,两位研究者不仅找到了比普通学生群体更多的志愿者(560 名),还得以将志 愿者的范围扩大到了学术界以外和 21 岁以上的人群。 Dr Raihani and Ms McAuliffe asked their Turkers to play a game. In it, the volunteers were paired and given small sums of money. One member of a pair could then take a predefined sum from the other, or not, as he chose. After that the other could, at a certain cost to himself, impoverishhis opponent to a greater degree. 雷汉尼博士和麦考利夫女士请参与实验的特客玩了一个游戏。在游戏中,志 愿者以两人一组一一配对, 并各自获得一小笔钱。组里的一名志愿者可以选择是 否从另一名组员那里拿走预定数量的钱。之后,另一位组员在自己付出一定代价 的前提下,可以大量减少对方的财产。 The first player might receive ten cents, 30 cents or 70 cents. The second player always received 70 cents. The first player was then allowed to take 20 cents of the second player's money. Finally, the second player could reduce the first player's total sum by 30 cents, but at a cost of ten cents to himself-in other words, he lost money

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too by doing so. 每一组的游戏者甲最开始可能会收到 10 美分、30 美分或是 70 美分作为起 始财产。而游戏者乙则总会收到 70 美分。然后甲被允许先从乙处取走 20 美分。 最后乙可以选择使甲的财产减少 30 美分,但是作为代价他自己也必须拿出 10 美分--换句话说,这么做乙自己蒙受了损失。 The crucial point of the game is that in all three cases the second player suffers the sameabsolute loss if the first chooses to take money from him. The offence, in other words, isidentical. But in the first version of the game he remains ahead if he does not retaliate (50 cents v 30 cents), in the second he comes out equal (50 cents v 50 cents), and in the third he ends up behind (50 cents v 90 cents). 这个游戏最关键的一点在于,无论甲的起始财产是多少,只要甲选择拿走乙 的钱,乙都要蒙受完完全全的损失。也就是说,不论哪种情况,乙所受到的侵犯 总是一样的。但在第一种情况中(即当甲的起始财产是 10 美分),如果乙不采取 反击,他还能保持领先(50 美分比 30 美分),第二种情况下(甲的起始财产为 30 美分)甲乙平局(50 美分比 50 美分),而第三种情况(甲的起始财产为 70 美分)中, 乙则会以落后告败(50 美分比 90 美分)。 The upshot was that in the first two cases about 15% of second players chose to retaliate if they had money taken. This was more or less the same as the number in all three versions of the game who "retaliated" even though they did not have money taken (a course of action allowed by the rules). In the third version, though, more than 40% of second players retaliated when money was taken from them-even though the outcome was still that the first player ended up ahead, with 60 cents to the second player's 40 cents. 游戏的结果显示,在前两种情况中,只要钱被拿走,15%扮演乙的志愿者会 选择反击。 而综合三种情况来看,乙在钱没有被拿走的前提下依然选择向对方进 行反击的现象也大概占 15%。但在第三种情况中,一旦钱被拿走,超过 40%扮 演乙的志愿者会采取反击--即便甲仍然会以 60 美分比 40 美分的优势取得游戏的 胜利。 On the face of things, this result suggests that what really gets people's goat is not so much having money taken, but having it taken in a way that makes the taker better off than the victim. That will clearly bear further investigation, for example by looking at the case where the first player begins the game better off than the second. It is intriguing, though, that even such trivial sums of money can provoke thoughts of revenge. In light of this, the fate awaiting those astronomically paid bankers could be a particularly nasty one. 乍一看, 这样的结果意味着真正让人感到愤恨的不是自己的钱被拿走,而是 拿走钱的人在拿走钱后财产比受害者多。 显然这个结论需要更多的调查加以证明,

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比如假如从一开始甲的钱就比乙多,结果会如何。有意思的是,就是这么不起眼 的几十美分也能激发人的报复心理。从这一点看来,等待着那些拿着超高薪待遇 的银行家们的命运颇为险恶。

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