Explore Courses

Nature And Nurture IELTS Reading Answers

Updated on 13 April, 2023

Mrinal Mandal

Mrinal Mandal

Study Abroad Expert

Reading answers for IELTS Banner

IELTS reading tests assess the comprehension ability of candidates. Segmented into three sections, the applicants must depict a flair for understanding opinions, arguments, purpose, and attitudes. To attain the required score, candidates must practice multiple sample papers depending on their weak areas. Here's the "Nature and Nurture” Reading passage to check the preparation level with questions and explanations for the answers. 


A few years ago, in one of the most fascinating and disturbing experiments in behavioural psychology, Stanley Milgram of Yale University tested 40 subjects from all walks of life for their willingness to obey instructions given by a ‘leader’ in a situation in which the subjects might feel a personal distaste for the actions they were called upon to perform. Specifically, Milgram told each volunteer 'teacher-subject' that the experiment was in the noble cause of education, and was designed to test whether or not punishing pupils for their mistakes would have a positive effect on the pupils' ability to learn.


Milgram's experimental set-up involved placing the teacher-subject before a panel of thirty switches with labels ranging from '15 volts of electricity (slight shock)' to '450 volts (danger - severe shock)' in steps of 15 volts each. The teacher-subject was told that whenever the pupil gave the wrong answer to a question, a shock was to be administered, beginning at the lowest level and increasing in severity with each successive wrong answer. The supposed 'pupil' was, in reality, an actor hired by Milgram to simulate receiving the shocks by emitting a spectrum of groans, screams and writhings together with an assortment of statements and expletives denouncing both the experiment and the experimenter. Milgram told the teacher-subject to ignore the reactions of the pupil and to administer whatever level of shock was called for. as per the rule governing the experimental situation of the moment.


As the experiment unfolded, the pupil would deliberately give the wrong answers to questions posed by the teacher, thereby bringing on various electrical punishments, even up to the danger level of 300 volts and beyond. Many of the teacher-subjects balked at administering the higher levels of punishment, and turned to Milgram with questioning locks and/or complaints about continuing the experiment. In these situations, Milgram calmly explained that the teacher-subject was to ignore the pupil's cries for mercy and carry on with the experiment. If the subject was still reluctant to proceed, Milgram said that it was important for the sake of the experiment that the procedure be followed through to the end. His final argument was, ‘You have no other choice. You must go on.' What Milgram was trying to discover was the number of teacher-subjects who would be willing to administer the highest levels of shock, even in the face of strong persona! and moral revulsion against the rules and conditions of the experiment.


Prior to carrying out the experiment, Milgram explained his idea to a group of 39 psychiatrists and asked them to predict the average percentage of people in an ordinary population who would be willing to administer the highest shock level of 450 volts. The overwhelming consensus was that virtually all the teacher-subjects would refuse to obey the experimenter. The psychiatrists felt that 'most subjects would not go beyond 150 volts', and they further anticipated that only four percent would go up to 300 volts. Furthermore, they thought that only a lunatic fringe of about one in 1.000 would give the highest shock of 450 volts.


What were the actual results? Well, over 60 percent of the teacher-subjects continued to obey Milgram up to the 450-volt limit! In repetitions of the experiment in other countries, the percentage of obedient teacher-subjects was even higher, reaching 85 percent in one country. How can we possibly account for this vast discrepancy between what calm, rational, knowledgeable people predict in the comfort of their study and what pressured, flustered, but cooperative teachers' actually do in the laboratory of real life?

Download E-Books for IELTS Preparation

ielts sample essays


One's first inclination might be to argue that there must be some sort of built-in animal aggression instinct that was activated by the experiment and that Milgram's teacher- subjects were just following a genetic need to discharge this pent-up primal urge onto the pupil by administering the electrical shock. A modern hard-core sociobiologist might even go so far as to claim that this aggressive instinct evolved as an advantageous trait, having been of survival value to our ancestors in their struggle against the hardships of life on the plains and in the caves, ultimately finding its way into our genetic make-up as a remnant of our ancient animal ways.


An alternative to this notion of genetic programming is to see the teacher-subjects' actions as a result of the social environment under which the experiment was carried out. As Milgram, himself pointed out. Most subjects in the experiment see their behavior in a larger context that is benevolent and useful to society - the pursuit of scientific truth. The psychological laboratory has a strong claim to legitimacy and evokes trust and confidence in those who perform there. An action such as shocking a victim, which in isolation appears evil, acquires a completely different meaning when placed in this setting.'


Thus, in this explanation, the subject merges his unique personality and personal and moral code with that of larger institutional structures, surrendering individual properties like loyalty, self-sacrifice, and discipline to the service of malevolent systems of authority.


Here we have two radically different explanations for why so many teacher-subjects were willing to forgo their sense of personal responsibility for the sake of an institutional authority figure. The problem for biologists, psychologists and anthropologists is to sort out which of these two polar explanations is more plausible. This, in essence, is the problem of modem sociobiology - to discover the degree to which hard-wired genetic programming dictates, or at least strongly biases, the interaction of animals and humans with their environment, that is, their behavior. Put another way, sociobiology is concerned with elucidating the biological basis of all behavior. 

Read more about: Tips For Reading in IELTS Exam | IELTS Academic Reading | IELTS Reading Tips And Tricks | IELTS Reading Band Score IELTS General Reading Test | IELTS Reading Section |

Download IELTS Preparation Guide For Free

Get to know about the latest updates on the IELTS Exam, Eligibility, Preparation Tips, Test procedure,  Exam Pattern, Syllabus, Registration Process, Important Exam Dates, and much more!! This guide is a one-stop solution for every IELTS Aspirant who aims to crack the exam with an impressive band score.

Questions 1 - 6 

Reading passage contains A- I paragraphs 

Which of the section in the nature and nurture reading passage contain the following information? 




The behavioral explanation about the teacher-subjects 


Milgram's clarification about the experiment to teacher-subjects 


The real identity of the participating pupils 


The outcome, as informed by the psychiatrists before the experiment


The main purpose of the sociobiological study 


The persuasion method of Milgram for the teacher-subjects 

Learn More about Study Abroad

What is Scholarship

Learn all about the scholarships like types of scholarships and how to get a one


Provincial Nominee Program Canada

Learn all about Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) Canada

PNP Program Canada

Fulbright Scholarship

Learn about the eligibility, benefits, procedure etc about Fulbright Scholarships

Fulbright Scholarship

Questions 7 - 9 

Select the right answer in the options A - D 

Question 7 

The experiment conducting authorities told the teacher-subjects that the reason for tests was to check 

  1. How dangerous was a 450-volt electric shock 
  2. How punishment boosts learning 
  3. If the pupils showed honesty 
  4. If the teacher-subjects were capable of teaching 

Question 8 

The instructions given in the experiment for teacher-subjects said

  1. Stop the experiment when pupils demand
  2. Reject the students if they make mistakes 
  3. Decrease the shock levels if a pupil offers a correct answer 
  4. Provide punishment as mentioned in the rule of experiment 

Question 9 

Before the start of the experiment, the psychiatrists were of the opinion that 

  1. The shock level of 150 volts was too much 
  2. The teacher-subjects method of response to the instructions will differ
  3. The teacher-subjects will never comply with the experiment instructions 
  4. The teacher-subjects will administer the provided shock levels of 450 volts 

Study Abroad Without IELTS

Learn More about MS in Data Science in Germany

MS in Data Science in Germany

Save up to 20 Lakhs with upGrad Abroad

Learn More
Learn More about BBA in Canada

BBA in Canada

Study BBA in Canada & save INR 25 Lakhs

Learn More

BCA in the USA

Study BCA in Australia & Save ₹ 20 Lakhs

Learn More

Questions 10 - 13 

Check if the question statement matches the writer's intent in the nature and nurture reading passage. 

Pick TRUE if the question statement complies with the passage information

Pick FALSE if the question statement doesn't align with the information in the passage 

Pick NOT GIVEN if there is a lack of information to support the statement

Question 10: The participating students in the experiment were from Yale University

Question 11: Some may propose the argument that the behavior of the teacher-subjects aligned with the evolutionary survival mechanisms.

Question 12: Personal values overpower the authoritarian dictates in a sociological experiment. 

Question 13: The Milgram experiment offered a significant solution to a sociobiological problem.

Answers 1 - 13






The correct option from the Nature and Nurture IELTS reading answers is F. In the paragraph, the writer explains the genetic requirement to relieve the primal urge with the administration of electrical shock. The paragraph further elaborates on behavior as an evolutionary development and an advantageous feature to ensure the ancestors' survival. 





Explanation: In paragraph A, Milgram explains to the volunteer the purpose of conducting a student-teacher electric shock experiment. In the details, he clarifies the investigation to be a reason for observing the effect of the pupil's ability to learn. 



The paragraph B in the nature and nurture IELTS reading answers sample is the correct answer. In the third statement, the author mentions administering the suitable intensity of shocks as per the experimental situation. In reality, the pupil was an actor hired by the experiment conductor, i.e., Stanley Milgram, to give an appearance of groans and screams. 




The expected outcome from the experiment, as per the statistics, was a low percentage of people willing to give shocks above 450 volts. That's why paragraph D is the right answer in the nature and nurture reading sample. 



The primary purpose of sociobiological studies is to show the biological reason behind different behaviors. It aims to understand the changes in human behavior due to the interaction with individuals and genetic programming. This point is mentioned in the last line of paragraph I, making it the correct choice for the answer.




Explanation: The persuasion mechanism of Milgram revolved around convincing the teachers with composure at first. Eventually, he proceeded by telling them the importance of strict compliance with the procedure. For this reason, the suitable choice from the nature and nurture reading sample will be C. 





According to the nature and nurture reading passage, the main reason for conducting the experiment was to check students’ capacity to learn better with punishment. The experiment analyzed the students' ability to receive punishment as a positive facilitator in their growth. That's why choice B is the most appropriate answer.  





The teacher-subjects were given clear instructions in the experiment to punish students as per the rule commanding the situation. Milgram instructed the teachers to ignore the students' reactions and cries for mercy. For this reason, the right choice for the nature and nurture reading answers is D.





The pre-experiment assessment with psychiatrists shed light on the willingness of the teachers to administer shocks. A majority of the experts were of the opinion that most of the participating teachers would refuse to do the same and would not go above 150 volts. That's why the correct choice for the answer is C. 



Not Provided


In the nature and nurture reading sample experiment, the subject students were from all walks of life. It hasn't been mentioned that they belonged to a particular institution. The author does inform about the institution of the behavioral psychologist conducting the experiment.




According to the nature and nurture reading sample paragraph F, the teacher-subjects were administering shock as a genetic need to release the primal urge. The arguments incline towards showing it as a survival mechanism to face the hardships of life in the forefathers. Hence, this statement holds true.  




The author clearly mentions in the first statement of the nature and nurture reading sample paragraph H that personal values merge with institutional codes. For this reason, individual properties take a back seat while surrendering to authority. The question statement talks about personal values superseding authoritarian dictates. Therefore, the question statement is false.




The Milgram experiment elucidates how individuals forego personal responsibility. It creates a ground for multiple explanations from different scientific fields like biologists, anthropologists, etc. That being said, more is needed to solve the problem of sociobiology about the change in human behavior as per the environment and genetic influence. Hence, the statement is false. 

Explore IELTS Reading Samples With Answers

Crop Growing Skyscrapers Reading Answers

To ace the reading section, practice questions are necessary with varying levels of difficulty.

Crop Growing Skyscrapers Reading Answers

Dyslexia Reading Answers

Here are the dyslexia IELTS reading answers for your perusal along with the passage and questions. This will aid your practice sessions ahead of the examination.

Dyslexia Reading Answers

Eco Tourism Reading Answers

Given here are the eco-tourism reading answers that you need to practice for the IELTS examination.

Eco Tourism Reading Answers

Mrinal Mandal

Study Abroad Expert



Study Abroad Resources

Top Reads


Other Exams





The above tips are the Author's experiences. upGrad does not guarantee scores or admissions.