SAT Reading - Khan Diagnostic Quiz level 2 - reading 12

Questions 1-11 are based on the following

This passage is excerpted from Kasley Killam, “A Hug A Day Keeps the Doctor Away,” © Scientific American 2015.

During my final semester of undergrad, I made two signs

that read, “Feeling stressed about exams? Have a free hug!”

Then I recruited a friend and we stood in the entrance of the
campus library, held up the signs, and waited. [Passersby]
5 had one of two reactions: Either they quickly looked down at

their phones and awkwardly shuffled by, or their faces lit up

as they embraced us. Most people were enthusiastic. Some

exclaimed, “You made my day!” or “Thank you. I needed

this.” One leapt into my arms, nearly toppling me over. After
10 two hours of warm interactions, my friend and I couldn’t

believe how energized and happy we felt.
A study published earlier this month suggests that, in

addition to making us feel connected with others, all those

hugs may have prevented us from getting sick. At first, this
15 finding probably seems counterintuitive (not to mention

bizarre). You might think, like I did, that hugging hundreds

of strangers would increase your exposure to germs and

therefore the likelihood of falling ill. But the new research

out of Carnegie Mellon indicates that feeling connected to
20 others, especially through physical touch, protects us from

stress-induced sickness. This research adds to a large amount

of evidence for the positive influence of social support on

Social support can broadly be defined as the perception of
25 meaningful relationships that serve as a psychological

resource during tough times. More specifically, this means

emotional support, such as expressions of compassion, and

may include access to information or other assistance. The

researchers measured social support by giving out a
30 questionnaire in which participants rated different statements

(e.g. “I feel that there is no one I can share my most private

worries and fears with.”). Then, they conducted interviews

every night for two weeks to find out how often participants

experienced conflict with others and how often they received
35 hugs. Finally, the researchers infected participants with a

common cold virus and observed what happened.
Several interesting results emerged. Encouragingly, people

overall had a strong sense of social support, as shown by a

high median score on the questionnaire. Similarly, they were
40 more likely to be hugged (which happened on an average of

68% of days during the two-week interview period) than to

experience conflict (7% of days).
The most important results, however, were what the

researchers deemed a “stress-buffering effect.” Keep in mind
45 that interpersonal conflict can cause people a lot of stress and

thereby weaken their immune systems. Yet regardless of how

much conflict they endured, participants with a strong sense

of social support developed less severe cold symptoms than

those who felt socially deprived. Likewise, the more often
50 people hugged, the less likely they were to get sick, even

among individuals who frequently had tense interactions. In

other words, both social support and hugging prevented

against illness. The same lead researcher has previously

shown that the more diverse types of social ties a person has,
55 such as with friends, family, coworkers, and community, the

less susceptible to colds they are.

Evidently, just as we prioritize exercise and nutrition, we

ought to prioritize quality time with loved ones; just as we

avoid unhealthy habits like smoking, we should make effort
60 to avoid isolation and to counter social exclusion. And even

if you don’t want to hug hundreds of strangers (although I

recommend trying it), don’t underestimate the healing power

of touch.

Question 1 The first paragraph serves mainly to