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
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
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
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.