English Reading Tests

English reading for Japanese high school students: the Common Test for University Admissions in 2013 DAY 2


Section 6

Read the following sentences and answer the questions (A and B) below. The numbers (1) to (6) on the left side of the text indicate the numbers of the paragraphs.

(1) Chikako has arrived in Australia for the first time to study English. Her host family picks her up from the airport and takes her to their home. When she steps through the front door, she has a strong feeling that she has been in the house before. She sees a white couch against a sky-blue wall and a glass coffee table covered with magazines in front of the couch. She cannot remember when she saw this scene, but she believes that this is not the first time.

(2) The feeling that Chikako has is called déjà vu, which is French for “already seen,” and most of us have experienced it at some point in our lives. Some people choose to ignore it because the feeling of recalling a new experience seems unnatural. Déjà vu, however, is not uncommon and has been the subject of scientific studies since the 19th century. Many researchers today are starting to see the value in investigating déjà vu, and more than thirty possible theories have been offered to explain the phenomenon. Of these theories, three promising explanations will be reviewed here.

(3) The first explanation for déjà vu is that we have a strong feeling of familiarity when we have unconsciously seen something a moment earlier. For example, suppose a man enters a museum for the first time, and a giant dinosaur in the center of the main exhibition area draws his attention. There is also a jungle-patterned staircase on his left, which he only sees unconsciously because his attention is on the dinosaur. A few minutes later, when he decides to go and see other exhibitions, his eyes directly catch the staircase. At this moment, he is struck by an unexpected sense that he has seen the same staircase before but cannot remember when and he announces his strange déjà vu experience to his wife.

(4) In another situation, a woman first sees the living room of a friend’s new apartment that has a similar arrangement to the one in her parent’s house. In this case, she enters a new scene that is like one she has previously encountered. Even though none of the individual elements is familiar, she has experienced an arrangement very similar to this one – a lamp in the corner, a picture on the back wall, a couch in the middle of the room. Thus, the second explanation suggests that if we are in a place where the arrangement of objects is similar to that of a place we have been to before, we might have a feeling of knowing the place and call it déjà vu.

(5) The last explanation for déjà vu has come from studies about how the brain functions. These studies have shown that it can be caused by unusual processing of information in the brain. When something is seen, the visual information is sent to a particular part of the brain through different pathways. The data from these pathways normally reach the destination at the same time to form a whole image, but sometimes there is a slight delay one of the pathways. As a result, the brain interprets one experience as two and a déjà vu feeling occurs.

(6) Three promising explanations of déjà vu have been presented here. Chikako’s experience can be explained by one of the three theories or a combination of them. Learning about déjà vu can help us understand how we perceive the material world around us, and that, in turn, can reveal more about how our brains handle routine information. Although we know more about déjà vu now, questions still remain. For example, why does it occur frequently during everyday activities? Why does it decrease with age? It will be interesting to seek the answers to these questions.

A Choose one from 1 to 4 below, respectively, that is most appropriate to put in [ 46 ] to [ 50 ] of the following questions (1 to 5).

No.1 Paragraph (2) implies that [ 46 ].

1.déjà vu is a lot more common in France
2.déjà vu is considered a worthy topic for study
3.more studies will be done to stop people feeling déjà vu
4.people who have déjà vu tend to think about their own lives

No.2 The man in paragraph (3) felt déjà vu because he [ 47 ].

1.had seen an object without knowing it
2.previously paid close attention to an object
3.saw an object that looked like one of his own belongings
4.saw an unexpected object in a familiar place

No.3 According to paragraph (4), déjà vu can occur in a room where [ 48 ].

1.the furniture is similar in color to your own
2.the layout is familiar to you
3.there are items you have seen before
4.you have been before

No.4 According to the explanation in paragraph (5), the studies of the brain show that [ 49 ] can cause déjà vu.

1.a delay in the processing of information
2.data delivered through different pathways
3.processing different information at the same time
4.sending whole images to the destination

No.5 The author argues that [ 50 ].

1.Chikako’s déjà vu experience doesn’t fit any of the explanations
2.déjà vu can show how the brain processes the things we see
3.research on déjà vu can help people learn how to avoid it
4.too little is known about déjà vu for scientific investigation

B The following table is a summary of the paragraphs and contents of the text. Choose one of the following items from 1 to 5 below that would be most appropriate to put in columns [ 51 ] to [ 55 ], and complete the table. However, do not choose the same one repeatedly.

(2)An introduction of déjà vu

1.A biological reason for déjà vu
2.A déjà vu experience
3.Being unaware of things in our vision
4.Contributions of déjà vu research
5.Déjà vu and the placement of objects




No.1 [ 46 ] 2

No.2 [ 47 ] 1

No.3 [ 48 ] 2

No.4 [ 49 ] 1

No.5 [ 50 ] 2


[ 51 ] 2

[ 52 ] 3

[ 53 ] 5

[ 54 ] 1

[ 55 ] 4