What we know of prenatal development makes all this attempt made by a mother to mold the character of her unborn child by studying poetry, art, or mathematics during pregnancy seem utterly impossible. How could such extremely complex influences pass from the mother to the child? There is no connection between their nervous systems. Even the blood vessels of mother and child do not join directly. An emotional shock to the mother will affect her child, because it changes the activity of her glands and so the chemistry her blood. Any chemical change in the mother’s blood will affect the child for better or worse. But we can not see how a looking for mathematics or poetic genius can be dissolved in blood and produce a similar liking or genius in the child.
In our discussion of instincts we saw that there was reason to believe that whatever we inherit must be of some very simple sort rather than any complicated or very definite kind of behavior. It is certain that no one inherits a knowledge of mathematics. It may be, however, that children inherit more or less of a rather general ability that we may call intelligence. If very intelligent children become deeply interested in mathematics, they will probably make a success of that study.
As for musical ability, it may be that what is inherited is an especially sensitive ear, a peculiar structure of the hands or the vocal organs connections between nerves and muscles that make it comparatively easy to learn the movements a musician must execute, and particularly vigorous emotions. If these factors are all organized around music, the child may become a musician. The same factors, in other circumstance might be organized about some other center of interest. The rich emotional equipment might find expression in poetry. The capable fingers might develop skill in surgery. It is not the knowledge of music that is inherited, then nor even the love of it, but a certain bodily structure that makes it comparatively easy to acquire musical knowledge and skill. Whether that ability shall be directed toward music or some other undertaking may be decided entirely by forces in the environment in which a child grows up.
1. Which of the following statements is not true?
A. Some mothers try to influence their unborn children by studying art and other subjects during their pregnancy.
B. It is utterly impossible for us to learn anything about prenatal development.
C. The blood vessels of mother and child do not join directly.
D. There are no connection between mother’s nervous systems and her unborn child’s.
2. A mother will affect her unborn baby on the condition that ____.
A. she is emotionally shocked
B. she has a good knowledge of inheritance
C. she takes part in all kind of activities
D. she sticks to studying
3. According to the passage, a child may inherit____.
A. everything from his mother
B. a knowledge of mathematics
C. a rather general ability that we call intelligence
D. her mother’s musical ability
4. If a child inherits something from his mother, such as an especially sensitive ear, a peculiar structure of the hands or of the vocal organs, he will ____.
A. surely become musician
B. mostly become a poet
C. possibly become a teacher
D. become a musician on the condition that all these factors are organized around music
5. Which of the following is the best title for the passage?
A. Role of Inheritance. B. An Unborn Child.
C. Function of instincts. D. Inherited Talents.
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