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# A researcher discovered that people who have low levels of

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Official Guide for GMAT Verbal Review, 2nd Edition
Practice Question
Question No.: 7
Page: 118
Difficulty:

A researcher discovered that people who have low levels of immune-system activity tend to score much lower on tests of mental health than do people with normal or high immune-system activity. The researcher concluded from this experiment that the immune system protects against mental illness as well as against physical disease.

The researcher’s conclusion depends on which of the following assumptions?

A. High immune-system activity protects against mental illness better than normal immune-system activity does.
B. Mental illness is similar to physical disease in its effects on body systems.
C. People with high immune-system activity cannot develop mental illness.
D. Mental illness does not cause people’s immune-system activity to decrease.
E. Psychological treatment of mental illness is not as effective as is medical treatment.
[Reveal] Spoiler: OA

Last edited by dentobizz on 21 Oct 2013, 22:05, edited 3 times in total.
If you have any questions
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05 Jun 2008, 00:15
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ritula wrote:
A researcher discovered that people who have low levels of immune-system activity tend to score much
lower on tests of mental health than do people with normal or high immune-system activity. The researcher
concluded from this experiment that the immune system protects against mental illness as well as against
physical disease.
The researcher’s conclusion depends on which of the following assumptions?
A. High immune-system activity protects against mental illness better than normal immune-system activity
does.
B. Mental illness is similar to physical disease in its effects on body systems.
C. People with high immune-system activity cannot develop mental illness.
D. Mental illness does not cause people’s immune-system activity to decrease.
E. Psychological treatment of mental illness is not as effective as is medical treatment.

C.
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05 Jun 2008, 00:17
ritula wrote:
A researcher discovered that people who have low levels of immune-system activity tend to score much
lower on tests of mental health than do people with normal or high immune-system activity. The researcher
concluded from this experiment that the immune system protects against mental illness as well as against
physical disease.
The researcher’s conclusion depends on which of the following assumptions?
A. High immune-system activity protects against mental illness better than normal immune-system activity
does.
B. Mental illness is similar to physical disease in its effects on body systems.
C. People with high immune-system activity cannot develop mental illness.
D. Mental illness does not cause people’s immune-system activity to decrease. ( This is the answer ? if mental illness causes people's immune-sytem activity to decrease then cause-effect relationship is reversed and argument falls apart)
E. Psychological treatment of mental illness is not as effective as is medical treatment.
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05 Jun 2008, 01:31
D is the clear winner here

what is the OA for this
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05 Jun 2008, 01:54
Yes D is the OA. Can u give the explanation as well?
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06 Jun 2008, 08:13
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ritula wrote:
A researcher discovered that people who have low levels of immune-system activity tend to score much lower on tests of mental health than do people with normal or high immune-system activity. The researcher concluded from this experiment that the immune system protects against mental illness as well as against physical disease.
The researcher’s conclusion depends on which of the following assumptions?
A. High immune-system activity protects against mental illness better than normal immune-system activity
does.
B. Mental illness is similar to physical disease in its effects on body systems.
C. People with high immune-system activity cannot develop mental illness.
D. Mental illness does not cause people’s immune-system activity to decrease.
E. Psychological treatment of mental illness is not as effective as is medical treatment.

D
The author concludes that "the immune system protects against mental illness as well as against physical disease", So the implication is that better immune system protects people from mental/physical illnesses. The author must assume that the reversal is not true that mental illness is not the cause of decreased immune system activity in the first place.
Negate this assumption and the argument falls apart.

Hope this helps.
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Re: A researcher discovered that people who have low levels of [#permalink]

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08 Jul 2012, 03:17
still not convinced with negation theory, help plz
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Re: A researcher discovered that people who have low levels of [#permalink]

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08 Jul 2012, 14:46
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Manav,

This is a classical causal argument. Note how the argument is presented:

The author starts with an observation that

low levels of immune-system and lower score on tests of mental health occur together. Based on this co-incidence, the author concludes Immune system protects against mental illness.

Now this begs the question, what about the scenario in which mental health impacted immune system (reverse causation) such that low score on mental health caused low immune system performance. However, since the author discounts such a scenario, he assumes such a scenario will not occur. Choice D says the same and is your answer.

Below is another similar argument. Can you find the assumption (along the same lines) in that argument.

A study followed a group of teenagers who had never smoked and tracked whether they took up smoking and how their mental health changed. After one year, the incidence of depression among those who had taken up smoking was four times as high as it was among those who had not. Since nicotine in cigarettes changes brain chemistry, perhaps thereby affecting mood, it is likely that smoking contributes to depression in teenagers

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Re: A researcher discovered that people who have low levels of [#permalink]

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02 Aug 2012, 12:42
egmat wrote:
Manav,

This is a classical causal argument. Note how the argument is presented:

The author starts with an observation that

low levels of immune-system and lower score on tests of mental health occur together. Based on this co-incidence, the author concludes Immune system protects against mental illness.

Now this begs the question, what about the scenario in which mental health impacted immune system (reverse causation) such that low score on mental health caused low immune system performance. However, since the author discounts such a scenario, he assumes such a scenario will not occur. Choice D says the same and is your answer.

Below is another similar argument. Can you find the assumption (along the same lines) in that argument.

A study followed a group of teenagers who had never smoked and tracked whether they took up smoking and how their mental health changed. After one year, the incidence of depression among those who had taken up smoking was four times as high as it was among those who had not. Since nicotine in cigarettes changes brain chemistry, perhaps thereby affecting mood, it is likely that smoking contributes to depression in teenagers

Let me take a crack at the assumption here then e-GMAT.

Conclusion: It is likely that smoking contributes to depression in teenagers
How did we reach the conclusion?
The study that tracked teenagers who took up smoking and how their mental health changed over one year. These teenage smokers were 4x more depressed than their non-smoking counterparts.
Why?
Nicotine changes brain chemistry, affecting one's mood.

Assumptions:
- Both groups of teenagers were equally comparable before they started smoking. In other words, one group was not more prone to depression already before they took up smoking.
- The cigarettes that the teenagers smoked contained nicotine
And, along the same lines as what we saw in the example above:
- The nicotine in cigarettes caused the depression. The depression feelings did not however influence these teenagers to smoke.
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A researcher discovered that people who have low levels of.. [#permalink]

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11 Apr 2013, 21:50
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A researcher discovered that people who have low levels of immune-system activity tend to score much
lower on tests of mental health than do people with normal or high immune-system activity. The researcher
concluded from this experiment that the immune system protects against mental illness as well as against
physical disease.
The researcher's conclusion depends on which of the following assumptions?
A. High immune-system activity protects against mental illness better than normal immune-system activity
does.
B. Mental illness is similar to physical disease in its effects on body systems.
C. People with high immune-system activity cannot develop mental illness.
D. Mental illness does not cause people's immune-system activity to decrease.
E. Psychological treatment of mental illness is not as effective as is medical treatment.

Classic GMAT question
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Re: A researcher discovered that people who have low levels of [#permalink]

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12 Apr 2013, 00:07
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ritula wrote:
A researcher discovered that people who have low levels of immune-system activity tend to score much
lower on tests of mental health than do people with normal or high immune-system activity. The researcher
concluded from this experiment that the immune system protects against mental illness as well as against
physical disease.
The researcher’s conclusion depends on which of the following assumptions?
A. High immune-system activity protects against mental illness better than normal immune-system activity
does.
B. Mental illness is similar to physical disease in its effects on body systems.
C. People with high immune-system activity cannot develop mental illness.
D. Mental illness does not cause people’s immune-system activity to decrease.
E. Psychological treatment of mental illness is not as effective as is medical treatment.

The question used cause and effect logic.
A & B both happen.
A --> B, only if B does NOT cause A

D is correct.

Hope it helps.
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Re: A researcher discovered that people who have low levels of [#permalink]

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29 Apr 2013, 09:01
ritula wrote:
A researcher discovered that people who have low levels of immune-system activity tend to score much
lower on tests of mental health than do people with normal or high immune-system activity. The researcher
concluded from this experiment that the immune system protects against mental illness as well as against
physical disease.
The researcher’s conclusion depends on which of the following assumptions?
A. High immune-system activity protects against mental illness better than normal immune-system activity
does.
B. Mental illness is similar to physical disease in its effects on body systems.
C. People with high immune-system activity cannot develop mental illness.
D. Mental illness does not cause people’s immune-system activity to decrease.
E. Psychological treatment of mental illness is not as effective as is medical treatment.

I picked C.I am not finding why c is wrong.Can u explain why c is wrong?
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Re: A researcher discovered that people who have low levels of [#permalink]

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29 Apr 2013, 22:39
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supri23 wrote:
ritula wrote:
A researcher discovered that people who have low levels of immune-system activity tend to score much
lower on tests of mental health than do people with normal or high immune-system activity. The researcher
concluded from this experiment that the immune system protects against mental illness as well as against
physical disease.
The researcher’s conclusion depends on which of the following assumptions?
A. High immune-system activity protects against mental illness better than normal immune-system activity
does.
B. Mental illness is similar to physical disease in its effects on body systems.
C. People with high immune-system activity cannot develop mental illness.
D. Mental illness does not cause people’s immune-system activity to decrease.
E. Psychological treatment of mental illness is not as effective as is medical treatment.

I picked C.I am not finding why c is wrong.Can u explain why c is wrong?

Hi,

To tackle your doubt, let me begin from the passage itself.

Understanding the Passage

A researcher discovered that people who have low levels of immune-system activity tend to score much lower on tests of mental health than do people with normal or high immune-system activity.

This statement talks about a discovery by a researcher. The researcher discovered that people who have

low immune system activity have lower mental health
normal or high immune system activity have better mental health.

So, what he saw was that mental health increased with increase in immune system activity.

The researcher concluded from this experiment that the immune system protects against mental illness as well as against physical disease.

The researcher thought about the reason as to why this pattern exists. He thought an explanation for this pattern is that immune system protects against mental illness or poor mental health. If his explanation is true, then people with lower immune system should have poorer mental health than people with normal or higher immune system activity. This is what he has observed. So, he made the conclusion as stated in the above statement of the passage.

Pre-thinking Assumption

Now, what is the assumption built in the conclusion drawn by the researcher?

The assumption is that there is no other explanation which could explain the given observed pattern. If there are other explanations for the observed pattern, then it would cast a serious doubt on the conclusion drawn by the author.

Now, what could be an alternate explanation?

This could be a hard question for people new to causal arguments but for people who have done some practice of causal arguments, they can figure out the answer to this quite easily.

Remember, the researchers concluded that immune system protects against mental illness because this can explain the observed pattern. Now, if we say that mental illness causes decline in immune system activity, then even this statement could explain the given observed pattern (where both immune system activity and mental health increase or decrease simultaneously). Now, if this could also be an explanation, then the author must have considered this explanation and 'assumed' that this cannot be be true.

So, an assumption in the above argument is that mental illness does not cause people’s immune-system activity to decrease. This is what option D is.

Now, coming to option C:

People with high immune-system activity cannot develop mental illness.

First of all, we need to think why does the author need to assume this? Remember a golden rule:

The author assumes only those things without which his argument will not hold true.

For this reason, the 'assumptions' are called must be true statements, which means that the assumptions must be true for the conclusion to hold true.

Now, is Option C a must be true statement?

What if option C is false i.e. People with high immune-system activity can develop mental illness. Will it falsify the conclusion?

The answer is No. The conclusion can still hold even when this statement is false. Therefore, it cannot be an assumption.

Hope this helps

Thanks,
Chiranjeev
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Re: A researcher discovered that people who have low levels of [#permalink]

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28 May 2014, 19:14
Hello from the GMAT Club VerbalBot!

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Re: A researcher discovered that people who have low levels of [#permalink]

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29 May 2014, 23:44
Yes, it is typical "defender" mode for causal arguments. The assumption eliminate alternative cause, reverse causation (in this case) or data invalidity
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OG VR2 #7 Pls help [#permalink]

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08 Oct 2014, 09:43
A researcher discovered that people who have low
levels of immune-system activity tend to score much
lower on tests of mental health than do people with
normal or high immune-system activity. The researcher
concluded from this experiment that the immune
system protects against mental illness as well as
against physical disease.
The researcher’s conclusion depends on which of the
following assumptions?

(A) High immune-system activity protects against
mental illness better than normal immunesystem
activity does.
(B) Mental illness is similar to physical disease in its
effects on body systems.
(C) People with high immune-system activity cannot
develop mental illness.
(D) Mental illness does not cause people’s immunesystem
activity to decrease.
(E) Psychological treatment of mental illness is not
as effective as is medical treatment.

I am trying to apply pre-thinking here but still getting it wrong.
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Re: A researcher discovered that people who have low levels of [#permalink]

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09 Oct 2014, 06:12
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arpshriv wrote:
A researcher discovered that people who have low
levels of immune-system activity tend to score much
lower on tests of mental health than do people with
normal or high immune-system activity. The researcher
concluded from this experiment that the immune
system protects against mental illness as well as
against physical disease.
The researcher’s conclusion depends on which of the
following assumptions?

(A) High immune-system activity protects against
mental illness better than normal immunesystem
activity does.
(B) Mental illness is similar to physical disease in its
effects on body systems.
(C) People with high immune-system activity cannot
develop mental illness.
(D) Mental illness does not cause people’s immunesystem
activity to decrease.
(E) Psychological treatment of mental illness is not
as effective as is medical treatment.

I am trying to apply pre-thinking here but still getting it wrong.

Can you share ur analysis in terms of premise and conclusion. That wld help to identify the mistake with ur reasoning.
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Re: A researcher discovered that people who have low levels of [#permalink]

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09 Oct 2014, 11:28
JarvisR wrote:
arpshriv wrote:
A researcher discovered that people who have low
levels of immune-system activity tend to score much
lower on tests of mental health than do people with
normal or high immune-system activity. The researcher
concluded from this experiment that the immune
system protects against mental illness as well as
against physical disease.
The researcher’s conclusion depends on which of the
following assumptions?

(A) High immune-system activity protects against
mental illness better than normal immunesystem
activity does.
(B) Mental illness is similar to physical disease in its
effects on body systems.
(C) People with high immune-system activity cannot
develop mental illness.
(D) Mental illness does not cause people’s immunesystem
activity to decrease.
(E) Psychological treatment of mental illness is not
as effective as is medical treatment.

I am trying to apply pre-thinking here but still getting it wrong.

Can you share ur analysis in terms of premise and conclusion. That wld help to identify the mistake with ur reasoning.

A researcher discovered that people who have low levels of immune-system activity tend to score much lower on tests of mental health than do people with normal or high immune-system activity. The researcher concluded from this experiment that the immune system protects against mental illness as well as against physical disease.
The researcher’s conclusion depends on which of the following assumptions?

Conclusion: immune system protects against mental illness as well as against physical disease.
Premise: low levels of immune-system activity tend to score much lower on tests of mental health than do people with normal or high immune-system activity.

As per my analysis, In premise the author did not speak about the immune system's protection against physical diseases. But the conclusion states about the Physical disease. So an answer that fills this gap could be an answer.

(A) High immune-system activity protects against mental illness better than normal immune system activity does. Irrelevant to draw the conclusion.
(B) Mental illness is similar to physical disease in its effects on body systems.
I felt this is the correct answer as this fills in the gap related to physical diseases.
(C) People with high immune-system activity cannot develop mental illness.
(D) Mental illness does not cause people’s immune system activity to decrease.
(E) Psychological treatment of mental illness is not as effective as is medical treatment. Irrelevant to draw the conclusion.

As C & D are not talking about Physical disease, I thought they are incorrect.

Clearly, I am missing something here. Can someone help?
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A researcher discovered that people who have low levels of [#permalink]

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14 Oct 2014, 15:50
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I choose D.

Among all type of trick one of the trick to crack assumption question is - remove all alternative cause to the problem.
Here it is mention x( low -immune system) cause mental illness and some physical problem.
conclusion - y( high -immune system protect the mental health n pp)

see the cause for the problem that is X and x cause y -make sense
y cause x - reverse- destroy -uncertain
but Y doesn't cause x - is true and states the same point in reverse order.

so assumption is - a patient with low immune system can have mental unsoundness but patient suffering from mental issues not necessarily have low immune system some other cause can be also be responsible - y doesn't cause x.

I am not sure whether it is true or not but i use this Trick - for such question when struck between two option check out extreme word like option c - sounds right but use of "Cannot" doesn't justify argument, as it says good immune system protect against mental illness but will not cause any damage certainly - is not claimed. so c is removed.
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A researcher discovered that people who have low levels of [#permalink]

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06 Nov 2014, 06:26
egmat wrote:
supri23 wrote:
ritula wrote:
A researcher discovered that people who have low levels of immune-system activity tend to score much
lower on tests of mental health than do people with normal or high immune-system activity. The researcher
concluded from this experiment that the immune system protects against mental illness as well as against
physical disease.
The researcher’s conclusion depends on which of the following assumptions?
A. High immune-system activity protects against mental illness better than normal immune-system activity
does.
B. Mental illness is similar to physical disease in its effects on body systems.
C. People with high immune-system activity cannot develop mental illness.
D. Mental illness does not cause people’s immune-system activity to decrease.
E. Psychological treatment of mental illness is not as effective as is medical treatment.

I picked C.I am not finding why c is wrong.Can u explain why c is wrong?

Hi,

To tackle your doubt, let me begin from the passage itself.

Understanding the Passage

A researcher discovered that people who have low levels of immune-system activity tend to score much lower on tests of mental health than do people with normal or high immune-system activity.

This statement talks about a discovery by a researcher. The researcher discovered that people who have

low immune system activity have lower mental health
normal or high immune system activity have better mental health.

So, what he saw was that mental health increased with increase in immune system activity.

The researcher concluded from this experiment that the immune system protects against mental illness as well as against physical disease.

The researcher thought about the reason as to why this pattern exists. He thought an explanation for this pattern is that immune system protects against mental illness or poor mental health. If his explanation is true, then people with lower immune system should have poorer mental health than people with normal or higher immune system activity. This is what he has observed. So, he made the conclusion as stated in the above statement of the passage.

Pre-thinking Assumption

Now, what is the assumption built in the conclusion drawn by the researcher?

The assumption is that there is no other explanation which could explain the given observed pattern. If there are other explanations for the observed pattern, then it would cast a serious doubt on the conclusion drawn by the author.

Now, what could be an alternate explanation?

This could be a hard question for people new to causal arguments but for people who have done some practice of causal arguments, they can figure out the answer to this quite easily.

Remember, the researchers concluded that immune system protects against mental illness because this can explain the observed pattern. Now, if we say that mental illness causes decline in immune system activity, then even this statement could explain the given observed pattern (where both immune system activity and mental health increase or decrease simultaneously). Now, if this could also be an explanation, then the author must have considered this explanation and 'assumed' that this cannot be be true.

So, an assumption in the above argument is that mental illness does not cause people’s immune-system activity to decrease. This is what option D is.

Now, coming to option C:

People with high immune-system activity cannot develop mental illness.

First of all, we need to think why does the author need to assume this?Remember a golden rule:

The author assumes only those things without which his argument will not hold true.

For this reason, the 'assumptions' are called must be true statements, which means that the assumptions must be true for the conclusion to hold true.

Now, is Option C a must be true statement?

What if option C is false i.e. People with high immune-system activity can develop mental illness. Will it falsify the conclusion?

The answer is No. The conclusion can still hold even when this statement is false. Therefore, it cannot be an assumption.

Hope this helps

Thanks,
Chiranjeev

Although i completely get THE REVERSE CAUSATION rule that is necessary for the conclusion to hold true.

After going through above explanation, i could not really justify my stand on given points from above (highlighted too):

A) The researcher concluded from this experiment that the immune system protects against mental illness as well as against physical disease.
B) What if option C is false i.e. People with high immune-system activity can develop mental illness. Will it falsify the conclusion?

Now A) concludes that Immune system protects from mental illness and with B) (which is a negation of option C) we get- people with high immune system CAN DEVELOP mental illness.
So isn't this option also breaking the conclusion??

A researcher discovered that people who have low levels of   [#permalink] 06 Nov 2014, 06:26

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