In a recent study examining the relationship between expectation and experience of flavor, researchers conducted a taste test with over 200 participants in which each person tasted two versions of a cola beverage, one of which they were told contained a “secret ingredient.” Because the secret ingredient was white vinegar, researchers were surprised when participants preferred the white vinegar version of the cola beverage by a margin of three to one.
Which of the following, if true, offers the best basis for an explanation of the fact that participants preferred the beverage containing white vinegar?
(A) Most people actually prefer a cola beverage containing white vinegar.
(B) Study participants focused on identifying the beverage with the “secret ingredient”.
(C) Researchers added only a small amount of vinegar to the cola.
(D) Study participants were selected based on their enjoyment of white vinegar.
(E) Most cola recipes contain no white vinegar.
Can you kindly explain how option (in which way) B strengthens the argument.
Waiting eagerly for your valuable inputs. Regards, Fame
I know the OA is suppose to be (B)
, and it's clear that the other answers are all problematic in one way or another. I will say, though, this is not a satisfying question. Let's examine the world that would be true in (B)
The researchers told the subjects to focus on: which one had a secret ingredient? Let's assume subjects really were focused on that. When subjects would taste one, the normal one, it would fit their expectations. When they would taste the other, with white vinegar, presumably this one would be different from what they expected. So we know they would be trying to identify which one was different, and it's reasonable to assume that when they tasted the one with white vinegar, they had an experience different from what they were expecting. Granting all that, how do we conclude they they would like
the experience of soda with white vinegar, preferring it to the normal soda? That seems to be a gigantic leap. I could easily imagine the subjects taking a swig of the altered soda and saying, "YUCK! I don't know why that one's so foul, but there's definitely something off about it
." In other words, just because they were looking for something different, and just because they had an experience that did not meet their expectations, I see no basis for concluding with any confidence that they liked the altered soda or, even more so, that they would have preferred. Vastly unpleasant experiences can also result when one's expectations are not met.
Perhaps whoever wrote this question had in mind some assumptions from the psychology of perception, but a good CR question doesn't rely on outside knowledge. I have seriously doubts about this question.
Let me know if anyone would like to discuss this further.
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