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A researcher discovered that people who have low levels of immune-syst

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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.

Verbal Question of The Day: Day 188: Critical Reasoning


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Originally posted by ritula on 05 Jun 2008, 00:06.
Last edited by Bunuel on 08 Oct 2018, 06:07, edited 5 times in total.
Renamed the topic and edited the question.
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Re: A researcher discovered that people who have low levels of immune-syst  [#permalink]

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New post 08 Jul 2012, 14:46
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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  [#permalink]

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New post 31 May 2018, 12:11
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The researcher's conclusion is that the immune system protects against mental illness as well as against physical disease.

This conclusion is based on the following experimental data: 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.

So the people with lower levels of immune-system activity tend to score lower on mental health tests. Does that mean that the immune system protects against mental illness? Do lower levels of immune-system activity mean less protection against mental illness? In other words, do lower levels of immune-system activity cause a higher degree of mental illness (because of a lower degree of protection)? We need to find an assumption on which this argument depends:

Quote:
A. High immune-system activity protects against mental illness better than normal immune-system activity does.

What if high immune-system activity protects against mental illness just as well as normal immune-system activity? In that case, we could still conclude that the immune systems protects against mental illness. All that matters is whether LOW immune-system activity offers LESS protection against mental illness than normal/high activity. This assumption is not necessary, so eliminate (A).

Quote:
B. Mental illness is similar to physical disease in its effects on body systems.

It doesn't matter whether the EFFECTS of mental illness on body systems are similar to those of physical disease. All that matters is whether the immune system protects against mental illness. Choice (B) is not necessary and can be eliminated.

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

Protection against mental illness does not necessarily mean 100% prevention of mental illness. For example, seat belts help protect people in car accidents, but obviously seat belts do not eliminate the possibility of injury in car accidents. If the researcher's argument is valid, then we would expect people with high immune-system activity to have a greater degree of protection against mental illness than people with lower immune-system activity. But that does not mean that people with high immune-system activity CANNOT develop mental illness. Eliminate choice (C).

Quote:
D. Mental illness does not cause people’s immune-system activity to decrease.

The researcher sees that low levels of immune-system activity correspond to low scores on mental health tests. The researcher thus concludes that the lower levels of immune-system activity must have reduced the amount of protection against mental illness, making those people more susceptible to mental illness. But what if it's the other way around? What if those people had normal immune systems and developed mental illnesses that decreased their immune-system activity? This would break the researcher's logic, so choice (D) is a required assumption. Hang on to this one.

Quote:
E. Psychological treatment of mental illness is not as effective as is medical treatment.

We are not concerned with the treatment of mental illness. We need to determine whether the immune system protects against mental illness. Choice (E) is irrelevant and can be eliminated.

Choice (D) is the best answer.
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Re: A researcher discovered that people who have low levels of immune-syst  [#permalink]

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New post 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 immune-syst  [#permalink]

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New post 06 Aug 2010, 04:45
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Conclusion : Immune system protects against mental illness. X = immune system Y = protection against mental illness
The most important assumption in the causal argument is the preclusion from reversal of causality. i.e. Y does not leads to X. D does that.

D. Mental illness does not cause people’s immune-system activity to decrease. ---> Y does NOT leads to X.

Hope this is clear.
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New post 09 Aug 2010, 01:54
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D it is.

This is the classic problem of Defender Assumption.

It usually happens when two events A and B happen at the same time and Researcher then conclude that one event lead to the event say A leads to B. Of course then the assumption has to be that B doesn't lead to A. If B leads to A, how can you say A leads to B.
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New post 22 Jul 2012, 02:30
Why not B? If B is negated then also the argument falls flat..also if we dont use negation technique, option B is more apt than option D (IMO)

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

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New post 23 Jul 2012, 19:13
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B is a very tempting answer here because the conclusion bundles together mental health and physical disease. This problem type, however, is a very specific CR assumption subtype. In this subtype, the argument will present two factors that demonstrate correlation - in this case Immune System and Mental Illness. The conclusion asserts a causation (without any rationale) from one factor to the next - here the argument concludes that the Immune System protects against Mental Illness. The implicit assumption in that line of reasoning is that the causation does NOT go in the other direction or in other words you have to assume that Mental Illness does not impact the immune system. Answer choice D states that assumption correctly.

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

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New post 14 Jan 2013, 09:47
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rajathpanta 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.

Oa... later


Let's restate the argument :
Premise:
On tests of mental health : Scores of ppl with LOW ISA << Scores of ppl with NORMAL or HIGH ISA (ISA = immune-system activity)
Conclusion:
immune system protects against mental illness as well as against physical disease.

A- Wrong since we are comparing normal and high ISA with low ISA
B- Out of scope : the argument never stated any effects on body systems from either mental illness or physical disease.
C- Out of scope
D- correct : if we negate it : mental illness does cause people's ISA to decrease and that let the conclusion not valid.
E- Out of scope
Thanks for the question

i hope i get it correct this time :lol:
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Re: A researcher discovered that people who have low levels of immune-syst  [#permalink]

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New post 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 immune-syst  [#permalink]

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New post 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 immune-syst  [#permalink]

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New post 14 May 2013, 10:36
Argument:
Researcher discovery from experiment: people with 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.
Researcher conclusion: the immune system protects against mental illness as well as against physical disease.

Pre thinking:
Researcher observation is that low levels of immune-system activity tend to have lower score on mental health.
He made the conclusion that immune system protect against mental illness.
We can make another conclusion that lower score on mental health (i.e. mental) illness causes lower immune system activity. So an underlying assumption here is that mental illness does not cause low immune system activity.

Analysis of answer Choices:
(A) High immune-system activity protects against mental illness better than normal immune-system activity does.
INCORRECT: the argument is not about high and normal immune system. Nothing about normal immune system is provided.

(B) Mental illness is similar to physical disease in its effects on body systems.
INCORRECT: The argument is focussed on mental illness and immune system and conclusion has nothing to do with body systems in general.

(C) People with high immune-system activity cannot develop mental illness.
INCORRECT: Conclusion says that immune system protects against mental illness like it does again physical illness. Doesn’t mean that people with high immune system can’t develop mental or physical illness.

(D) Mental illness does not cause people's immune-system activity to decrease.
CORRECT: Look at the pre thinking. If this is false then we will get the conclusion that lower score on mental health (i.e. mental illness) causes lower immune system activity. So for researchers conclusion to hold this must be true and be the assumption.

(E)Psychological treatment of mental illness is not as effective as is medical treatment.
INCORRECT: This doesn’t tell if immune system is effective for preventing mental illness or not.

The key here was that researcher could have made multiple conclusion from his experiment.Why he reached at one conclusion helped me in determining the underlying assumption.
Hope this helps.
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Re: A researcher discovered that people who have low levels of immune-syst  [#permalink]

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New post 21 Sep 2013, 14:21
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TGC-

In your previous post you mentioned the key without realizing it. The premise discusses the connection between the immune system and mental illness. You said "Nowhere the argument mentioned PD (Physical Disease) in the premises". Physical Disease is only in the conclusion. Assumptions are the logical gaps between Premises and the Conclusion. Since Physical Disease isn't mentioned in the premises, there isn't a logical gap between premise and conclusion related to Physical Disease. Really, Physical Disease in the conclusion is acting as a distractor in the question. You could read the conclusion like this: "..the immune system protects against mental illness (just like it protects against physical disease)". The core of the conclusion is immune system PROTECTING against mental illness.

Now, let's explore option B just a bit to get fully comfortable that it's not the assumption. B states "Mental illness is similar to physical disease in its effects on body systems." Remember that assumptions are the logical gaps between premises and the conclusion.

Premise: People with low immune system score lower on mental health tests (low immune system and low mental health show up together)
Assumption - GAP
Conclusion: Therefore the immune system PROTECTS against mental health (like it PROTECTS against physical disease)

Is there a logical gap involving the effects? Do we have to assume that the EFFECTS of mental illness have to be the same as the EFFECTS of physical disease to assume that the immune system PROTECTS against mental health? No - the effects are out of the scope of the argument. We are concerned about immune system protecting against mental health problems. The immune system can PROTECT against two things that have very different effects (for example - my front door protects my home & family from the weather and from burglars, which have very different effects on my home & family).

Remember to look at the GAP between premise and conclusion. Premise says that IS & MH happen together & the conclusion states that the immune system PROTECTS against mental health. To believe that conclusion we have to assume that bad mental health doesn't impact the immune system (choice D)

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New post 30 Sep 2013, 21:32
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I'm responding to a PM on this and thought the response would be valuable for all...

"Hi,
I agree that B may not be the right choice, But can you explain why [C] cannot be right? Here is my line of thought:
-C.People with High Immune system cannot develop mental illness.
As taught, let us assume this is true. If yes, it establishes a direct relation between Mental Illness and Immune system. Incase we negate it [i.e.-People w/ high immunity CAN be mentally ill], the Authors conclusion breaks apart. However, people say that this answer choice is "really strong and unfounded".
However, the same can be said for answer D too. Also, I think answer D weakens the authors argument as if we are to assume mental illness does not cause low immunity, it does not support the conclusion that 'Immune sytem protects agains both physical and mental illness'...
Kindly explain."

People are right when they say that C is "really strong". C goes beyond what was concluded by the argument. The conclusion says that the immune system PROTECTS against mental illness as well as against physical disease. We know that the protection provided by the immune system against physical disease is not without some faults (we all get sick, right?). Therefore, the conclusion is stating that the immune system is REDUCING the incidence or severity of mental illness, not that mental illness cannot develop. Answer choice C goes beyond the conclusion and therefore cannot be the GAP between the premise and the conclusion.

Now, I'll talk about answer choice D. It's a recognizable pattern on GMAT CR problems that goes back to correlation vs. causation. The argument's premise is that there is a correlation between the immune system and mental illness. Then in the conclusion the author is moving from a "correlation" to an actual causation and that it is the immune system that is "causing" the difference in mental illness. Nothing in the argument is stating that it's the immune system that is impacting mental health, so we have to assume that the causation is not in the other direction - Mental Illness does not cause changes in the immune system.

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

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New post 26 Feb 2014, 02:05
KyleWiddison wrote:
B is a very tempting answer here because the conclusion bundles together mental health and physical disease. This problem type, however, is a very specific CR assumption subtype. In this subtype, the argument will present two factors that demonstrate correlation - in this case Immune System and Mental Illness. The conclusion asserts a causation (without any rationale) from one factor to the next - here the argument concludes that the Immune System protects against Mental Illness. The implicit assumption in that line of reasoning is that the causation does NOT go in the other direction or in other words you have to assume that Mental Illness does not impact the immune system. Answer choice D states that assumption correctly.

KW

But why the author mentioned about "physical disease"? It's really confusing
Thx.
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New post 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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New post 16 Jul 2015, 08:13
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boris54 wrote:
But why the author mentioned about "physical disease"? It's really confusing
Thx.


That is precisely why physical disease is added - to confuse you. It is a distractor from the core issue of the argument...the direction of the causation.

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

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New post 17 Jul 2015, 17:23
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 concludes that the immune system has a protective effect against mental illness because people score lower on mental health tests than the people with normal to high immune-system activity.


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. The argument compares normal to high versus low levels so this doesn't affect the argument.
(B) Mental illness is similar to physical disease in its effects on body systems.doesn't affect the argument that normal to high immune-system is protective
(C) People with high immune-system activity cannot develop mental illness.argument only goes as far as to say that it is protective, not that it eliminate the possibility of mental illness
(D) Mental illness does not cause people's immune-system activity to decrease.This is necessary, as otherwise it would reverse the purported causal relationship.
(E) Psychological treatment of mental illness is not as effective as is medical treatment.doesn't affect argument
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Re: A researcher discovered that people who have low levels of immune-syst  [#permalink]

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New post 12 May 2016, 03:22
ritula wrote:
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.


- The data/premise indicates a correlation.
- The assumption is of causation. Specifically: immune system situation (lets call it X) --> Mental functioning (lets call it Y)
- Hence there are several common assumption: Y-\-> X (negating the possibility to opposite causation), Z -\->X (negating a possible other cause).

[X] - A - the comparison within the group of High/Med immune system is not mentioned - out of scope.
[X] - B - This choice might be tempting. but, when we try to negate, we see the immune system might protect against "things" with different effects on the body.
[X] - C - this answer is too extreme.
[V] - D - fits the Y-/->X common assumption.
[X] - E - Psychological treatment and its effectiveness is out of scope.
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Re: A researcher discovered that people who have low levels of immune-syst  [#permalink]

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New post 05 Jul 2016, 05:14
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D is the answer.

if you guys have read POWERSCORE CR bible then you are going to understand what i am writing below.

this type of assumption questions are DEFENDER type. in these type of questions the answer choice will try to defend the argument conclusion.

the conclusion here in the argument is:

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

or in short

immune system -->> protects against mental illness and physical too.


option D read as:

D. Mental illness does not cause people’s immune-system activity to decrease.

this statement defends the argument that the reverse is not true( its defending the argument)

hope it helps
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Re: A researcher discovered that people who have low levels of immune-syst &nbs [#permalink] 05 Jul 2016, 05:14

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