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A recent university survey asked respondents to report the number of h

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A recent university survey asked respondents to report the number of h [#permalink]

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A recent university survey asked respondents to report the number of hours per week that they spend outdoors, and to whether they regularly feel symptoms of depression. The group reporting that they spend the most amount of time outdoors was less than half as likely to report feeling symptoms of depression as was the group reporting that they spend the least amount of time outdoors. These results suggest that spending time outdoors is an effective way to prevent feelings of depression.

Which of the following, if true, most calls in to question the conclusion above?

A. The survey only included respondents from the immediate geographic region surrounding the university.
B. The group of respondents who indicated on another question that they spend the most time exercising per week had an even lower depression rate than the group that spent the most time
outdoors.
C. The survey did not distinguish between the amount of time spent outdoors in the summer versus the amount of time spent outdoors during the winter.
D. The conclusion overlooks the possibility that people who feel symptoms of depression often stay indoors as a way of coping with those feelings privately.
E. The results of the survey varied based on the age, gender, and education level of the respondents.​
[Reveal] Spoiler: OA

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Re: A recent university survey asked respondents to report the number of h [#permalink]

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New post 14 Jul 2017, 03:10
gauravraos wrote:
A recent university survey asked respondents to report the number of hours per week that they spend outdoors, and to whether they regularly feel symptoms of depression. The group reporting that they spend the most amount of time outdoors was less than half as likely to report feeling symptoms of depression as was the group reporting that they spend the least amount of time outdoors. These results suggest that spending time outdoors is an effective way to prevent feelings of depression.

Which of the following, if true, most calls in to question the conclusion above?

A. The survey only included respondents from the immediate geographic region surrounding the university.
B. The group of respondents who indicated on another question that they spend the most time exercising per week had an even lower depression rate than the group that spent the most time
outdoors.
C. The survey did not distinguish between the amount of time spent outdoors in the summer versus the amount of time spent outdoors during the winter.
D. The conclusion overlooks the possibility that people who feel symptoms of depression often stay indoors as a way of coping with those feelings privately.
E. The results of the survey varied based on the age, gender, and education level of the respondents.​


A flaw in the argument is that it overlooks the reverse effect: The regular activities could be caused by feelings of depression, not a reason to effect feelings of depression.

Hence, D is the correct answer as it conveys this flaw.
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Re: A recent university survey asked respondents to report the number of h [#permalink]

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gauravraos wrote:
A recent university survey asked respondents to report the number of hours per week that they spend outdoors, and to whether they regularly feel symptoms of depression. The group reporting that they spend the most amount of time outdoors was less than half as likely to report feeling symptoms of depression as was the group reporting that they spend the least amount of time outdoors. These results suggest that spending time outdoors is an effective way to prevent feelings of depression.

Which of the following, if true, most calls in to question the conclusion above?

A. The survey only included respondents from the immediate geographic region surrounding the university.
B. The group of respondents who indicated on another question that they spend the most time exercising per week had an even lower depression rate than the group that spent the most time
outdoors.
C. The survey did not distinguish between the amount of time spent outdoors in the summer versus the amount of time spent outdoors during the winter.
D. The conclusion overlooks the possibility that people who feel symptoms of depression often stay indoors as a way of coping with those feelings privately.
E. The results of the survey varied based on the age, gender, and education level of the respondents.​


Hi all,

Here is my analysis :)

X = spending time outdoors

Y = depression

Argument: X is a good way to prevent Y

Weaken:

+ What if it might work BACKWARD, that is Y causes X.

For example, when people feel depressed, they tend to spend time outdoors to release these depression.

+ What if there is another factor, Z, that causes either Y or both X and Y.

A. The geographic region of respondents does not matter because the survey result is still there and it is what it is. So A is irrelevant to the argument.

B. Time exercising has nothing to with the argument --> irrelevant

C. The amount of time spent outdoors in the summer versus the amount of time spent outdoors during the winter --> irrelevant

D. Correct. D shows that Y causes X. It is working BACKWARD

E. The inconsistence of the survey is irrelevant.

IMO D.



Sent from my SM-T116NU using GMAT Club Forum mobile app

Last edited by SISDIT on 14 Jul 2017, 04:47, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: A recent university survey asked respondents to report the number of h [#permalink]

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New post 14 Jul 2017, 03:55
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Solution:

This argument says that X causes Y.
To weaken the argument we need to
1. either provide alternate reason
2. To provide information that X & Y are caused by Z.
3. To reverse the causation.

Option D, uses the Option 3 to weaken the argument.
Therefore, the answer is Option D.

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Re: A recent university survey asked respondents to report the number of h [#permalink]

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New post 09 Aug 2017, 12:40
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Official explanation from Veritas prep:
This Weaken question directly tests the concept of correlation-vs.-causation: just because two things occur together does not mean that one causes the other!

Here in the argument you're told that the group that spent the most time outdoors was the least likely group to report feeling depression. Does that necessarily mean, as the conclusion suggests, that being outdoors reduces depression? One easy test on a correlation/causation problem is asking yourself "could it be the other way around?" If the conclusion says that, because X and Y happen together, X causes Y, ask yourself whether instead Y could have caused X. Here that means asking "could a lack of depression cause someone to go outside" or "could depression prevent someone from going outside?" And answer choice D provides just that objection, saying that the two items coincide not because the outdoors cures depression, but instead that depression causes people to want to stay indoors. Choice D is therefore correct.

Choice A is incorrect in that it does not directly attack the conclusion. It is certainly conceivable that the group studied was large and diverse enough to draw a conclusion, even if they were in the same geographic area. Choice B is also incorrect and showcases a common trap answer type on the GMAT: a better solution does not mean that the proposed solution will not work! Here the suggestion that exercise might be an even more effective treatment for depression does not mean that the outdoors is not a solution whatsoever.

Choice C is irrelevant to the conclusion: the conclusion doesn't require seasonal data, so the lack of it is not a weakness. Choice E is wrong for similar reasons: variance among different populations does not mean that a study cannot establish a general trend.

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Re: A recent university survey asked respondents to report the number of h [#permalink]

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New post 10 Aug 2017, 03:37
A recent university survey asked respondents to report the number of hours per week that they spend outdoors, and to whether they regularly feel symptoms of depression. The group reporting that they spend the most amount of time outdoors was less than half as likely to report feeling symptoms of depression as was the group reporting that they spend the least amount of time outdoors. These results suggest that spending time outdoors is an effective way to prevent feelings of depression.

Type - weaken
Boil it down - Survey results suggest that spending time outdoors is an effective way to prevent feelings of depression.
Pre-thinking - What if depression itself is causing people to stay indoors

A. The survey only included respondents from the immediate geographic region surrounding the university. - Incorrect - Though it tells that sample used in survey lived near university , it gives us no reason to believe that is not correct representation of people in general
B. The group of respondents who indicated on another question that they spend the most time exercising per week had an even lower depression rate than the group that spent the most time outdoors. - Out of scope
C. The survey did not distinguish between the amount of time spent outdoors in the summer versus the amount of time spent outdoors during the winter. - Out of scope - outside weather is not relevant
D. The conclusion overlooks the possibility that people who feel symptoms of depression often stay indoors as a way of coping with those feelings privately. - Correct - reverse cause
E. The results of the survey varied based on the age, gender, and education level of the respondents. - Irrelevant

Answer D
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Re: A recent university survey asked respondents to report the number of h   [#permalink] 10 Aug 2017, 03:37
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