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【每日晨读】经济学人GRE双语阅读 实验室小白鼠的艺术品位

2018年01月12日15:24 来源:互联网
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【每日晨读】经济学人GRE双语阅读 实验室小白鼠的艺术品位图1

Art and the animal kingdom——Of mice and Manet

艺术和动物王国:老鼠和马奈

On the murine appreciation of paintings

关于老鼠对绘画的欣赏

这篇阅读材料还有MP3音频哦!下载>>传送门

THE humble mouse is a doughty workhorse of science.

地位卑微的老鼠是科学界勇敢的劳模。

Every day, in laboratories around the world, the little critters are subjected to all manner of carefully controlled insults, from electric shocks to the induction of cancer, all in the name of research.

在世界各地的实验室里,这些小生命每一天都受到各种各样、精确检验的攻击,从电击到癌症诱导,全部以研究的名义进行。

But the mice in the lab of Shigeru Watanabe, a psychologist at Keio University in Japan, have a more enjoyable life than most.

但是日本庆应义塾大学心理学家Shigeru Watanabe实验室里的老鼠们,要比它们的大多数同类过的日子更加愉快。

For Dr Watanabe is interested not in their bodies but in their minds.

因为Watanabe博士感兴趣的不是它们的身体而是大脑。

Specifically, he is exploring their taste in fine art.

具体来说,他在探索老鼠对美术作品的鉴赏。

As he describes in a paper published this month in the Public Library of Science, Dr Watanabe was curious to see whether his mice had a preference for certain painters.

在Watanabe博士本月于公共科学图书馆上发表的论文中,他非常好奇他的老鼠是否偏爱某些画家。

He put them in a chamber, one at a time, and showed each a pair of paintings by different artists.

他每次把一只老鼠放在一个房间中,给每只老鼠展示一对不同画家的作品。

Since science lacks a way to read mouse minds, he measured how long the animals remained near one or other of the pictures.

由于科学界无法阅读老鼠的思想,Watanabe博士计算出老鼠在每幅作品前逗留的时间。

His mice expressed no particular preference between a picture by Wassily Kandinsky, a Russian abstract painter, and another by Piet Mondrian, a Dutch artist famous for his simple compositions of black, grid-like lines filled with primary colours.

他的老鼠对于俄国抽象画家Wassily Kandinsky的作品与荷兰艺术家Piet Mondrian的作品并无特殊偏好。

Similar indifference greeted pictures by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, a French impressionist, and Pablo Picasso, the Spanish father of Cubism.

对于法国印象派画家Pierre-Auguste Renoir和西班牙立体派画家之父Pablo Picasso的作品也是如此。

That is, perhaps, not a very surprising result.

或许这个结果并不很令人吃惊。

But things got more interesting when Dr Watanabe added morphine to the mix.

但是当Watanabe博士对这群老鼠注射吗啡后,结果变得更加有趣。

The mice were injected with the drug when viewing one picture, and with an inactive saline solution when viewing another.

当老鼠们观看一幅作品时,Watanabe博士给其注射吗啡,当它们观看另一幅作品时,Watanabe博士再给其注射惰性盐溶液。

After a few repetitions, they began to associate one of the paintings with the morphine high, and would spend longer standing next to it.

如此反复几次之后,当老鼠们体内吗啡含量高时,会跑到其中一幅作品前,并且在这幅作品旁边待的时间更长。

This implies that the mice were able to tell one painting from another, when given an incentive to do so.

这就意味着,当给老鼠们奖励时,它们能够区别每一幅作品。

Nor was that the limit of their artistic abilities.

老鼠们的艺术能力远不止如此。

Dr Watanabe found evidence that, as well as simply telling one picture from another, his mice might be able to appreciate individual style.

博士发现,除了简单地区分每一幅作品,老鼠们可能还会欣赏不同的个体风格。

When they were shown a number of paintings by a single artist after being given morphine, they showed a preference for other works by the same artist that they had never seen before.

在给老鼠注射吗啡后,当展示给它们同一位画家的多个作品时,其对此画家另外几幅它们从未见过的作品表示喜爱。

A similar result was obtained with an experiment that used milk, rather than drugs, as the reward.

在使用牛奶而不是药品作为奖励的一个实验中,获得了类似的结果。

Dr Watanabe has form with animals and art.

博士提出动物和艺术的构想。

He has previously shown that Java sparrows are able to distinguish cubist paintings from impressionist and Japanese ones, and that pigeons can tell a Chagall from a Van Gogh, as well as discriminating between the Japanese school and the impressionist.

他此前表示,爪哇岛的麻雀能够区分印象派和日本的立体派作品,鸽子可以分辨出Chagall和Van Gogh的作品,并且可以区分日本派和印象派。

The point of such experiments is that an animal's ability to discriminate between different kinds of art is a plausible proxy for how complex and sophisticated its vision is.

这些实验旨在说明,动物区分不同种类艺术作品的能力或许可以证明其视觉的复杂性。

Dr Watanabe's latest results are surprising in that, though birds are known to have excellent eyesight, mice are thought to rely much more heavily on smell and touch to make their way in the world.

博士最新实验结果的惊人之处在于,虽然我们知道鸟类具有极佳的视觉,但是人们认为老鼠更多地依赖嗅觉和触觉在世界上生存。

And it suggests that one way to improve the lot of laboratory mice around the world might be to brighten up their cages with a nice Manet or two.

此实验结果还表明,用几幅莫奈的名画装饰一下老鼠们的笼子,或许是改善世界上实验室中老鼠们命运的一种方法。

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