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  1. #1
    ilovepsycho's Avatar
    ilovepsycho is offline Junior Member
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    "cautiously objective" vs "confidently optimistic"

    The chimpanzee may be the animal closest in intelligence to man.
    How close? Scientists have often tried to discover in chimps the skill
    that makes man different from all other living things: language.
    Until now, they have failed; the chimp simply does not have the
    ability to speak that every human child is born with. But psychologist
    David Premack of the University of California has succeeded in
    showing that the chimpanzee can talk with man in ways other than
    by the tongue.

    Premack's proof is Sarah, a female chimp. Sarah can not only
    understand the meaning of 120 sign words, but can use them to build
    sentences of her own. After two years' work of only one chimpanzee,
    David Premack naturally does not claim anything more than that
    Sarah has shown intelligent use of language. "This does not mean
    that she can produce all the functions of language, or that she can do
    everything a human can," he writes, "But then," he adds hopefully,
    "we have only been working with her a relatively short time."


    Q. What is Premack's attitude in his quoted statements?
    a. arrogantly subjective
    b. cautiously objective
    c. confidently optimistic
    d. reluctantly pessimistic

    I've chosen 'c. confidently optimistic,' but OA is 'b. cautiously objective.' I'm a bit confused between the two. Please explain to me.

  2. #2
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    Re: "cautiously objective" vs "confidently optimistic"

    This is a challenging one, for sure. The phrase one hears most often is "cautiously optimistic," which makes total sense. You're being optimistic about the future, but still a bit hesitant and reserved (cautious).

    Here, though, you don't have that option. The researcher is reluctant to reach any conclusion based on the limited work done thus far, but adds that they've only just started with the work, inferring, "So who knows what may happen? Maybe this will all prove something after all!"

    I do agree with the OA answer. Although, in my opinion, it's not the ideal phrase that would best decribe Premack's attitude, it's the best of the choices given. Premack is being objective in his first statement, saying in effect, "You know, this really doesn't prove anything because it's not an adequately sized sample. This is just one chimp." That's good science, and that's objective. No real scientist would reach a conclusion or consider a hypothesis to be proven based on one test subject. That's scientific objectivity. However, Premack goes on to say, "But then again, we've only just begun working with this chimp, so maybe we will be able to reach a conclusion later." He's tempering his objectivity with hope or thoughts of the unknown future. So the phrase you're looking for needs to bring two seemingly differing ideas together. Only one of the four does that.

    While I wouldn't personally call this attitude "cautiously objective," it is the best choice of the four given.

    Your choice, "confidently optimistic," doesn't comprise two necessarily opposing concepts. Typically, if someone is optimistic, they are confident that something good will happen, so this phrase is somewhat redundant. That's why the phrase "cautiously optimistic" makes sense -- it's not the normal sort of optimism (which is confident optimism).

    I hope this convoluted explanation helps -- it's a bit of a complex topic.

  3. #3
    Raymott's Avatar
    Raymott is offline VIP Member
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    Re: "cautiously objective" vs "confidently optimistic"

    Quote Originally Posted by ilovepsycho View Post
    The chimpanzee may be the animal closest in intelligence to man.
    How close? Scientists have often tried to discover in chimps the skill
    that makes man different from all other living things: language.
    Until now, they have failed; the chimp simply does not have the
    ability to speak that every human child is born with. But psychologist
    David Premack of the University of California has succeeded in
    showing that the chimpanzee can talk with man in ways other than
    by the tongue.

    Premack's proof is Sarah, a female chimp. Sarah can not only
    understand the meaning of 120 sign words, but can use them to build
    sentences of her own. After two years' work of only one chimpanzee,
    David Premack naturally does not claim anything more than that
    Sarah has shown intelligent use of language. "This does not mean
    that she can produce all the functions of language, or that she can do
    everything a human can," he writes, "But then," he adds hopefully,
    "we have only been working with her a relatively short time."


    Q. What is Premack's attitude in his quoted statements?
    a. arrogantly subjective
    b. cautiously objective
    c. confidently optimistic
    d. reluctantly pessimistic

    I've chosen 'c. confidently optimistic,' but OA is 'b. cautiously objective.' I'm a bit confused between the two. Please explain to me.
    Once again, this is wrong. Do you have to use this set of questions? From what you've posted, I don't think you're going to learn much of use from them.
    I would say he's cautiously optimistic.

  4. #4
    Barb_D's Avatar
    Barb_D is offline Moderator
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    Re: "cautiously objective" vs "confidently optimistic"

    I agree - it's cautiously optimistic, which isn't one of the choices.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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