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# A study comparing a group of chronically depressed

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A study comparing a group of chronically depressed  [#permalink]

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Updated on: 23 May 2017, 08:20
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A study comparing a group of chronically depressed individuals with an otherwise matched group of individuals free from depression found significantly more disorders of the immune system among the depressed group. According to the researchers, these results strongly support the hypothesis that mental states influence the body’s vulnerability to infection.

Which of the following, if true, casts the most serious doubt on the researchers’ interpretation of their findings?

(A) The researchers’ view does little more than echo a familiar theme in folklore and literature.
(B) Chronically depressed individuals are no less careful than others to avoid exposure to infections.
(C) Disorders of the immune system cause many of those individuals who have them to become chronically depressed.
(D) Individuals who have previously been free from depression can become depressed quite suddenly.
(E) A high frequency of infections can stem from an unusually high level of exposure rather than from any disorder of the immune system.

My answer : E beacause it states that disorder of immune system can be because of high level of exposure to the infections.

Originally posted by shahPranay14 on 18 Jun 2014, 08:56.
Last edited by broall on 23 May 2017, 08:20, edited 2 times in total.
Reformatted question
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Re: A study comparing a group of chronically depressed  [#permalink]

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18 Jun 2014, 11:21
Straight C.
Here we have to weaken the reasoning.
If we can prove that the Disorders of the immune system cause the depression, then we can weaken the reasoning.

As for option E, it does not connect the Disorders of the immune system and depression, hence cannot be the answer.
Hope that helps
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Re: A study comparing a group of chronically depressed  [#permalink]

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18 Jun 2014, 12:00
I agree C is correct..but I don't understand why E is incorrect. E clearly weakens the argument by saying that there are other sources(high exposure to infections in this case) that can cause disorder to immune system and it need not be primarily because of the mental state.
As far as C is concerned, it weakens the argument by stating the opposite of what's stated in the conclusion.

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Re: A study comparing a group of chronically depressed  [#permalink]

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19 Jun 2014, 07:22
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shahPranay14 wrote:
I agree C is correct..but I don't understand why E is incorrect. E clearly weakens the argument by saying that there are other sources(high exposure to infections in this case) that can cause disorder to immune system and it need not be primarily because of the mental state.
As far as C is concerned, it weakens the argument by stating the opposite of what's stated in the conclusion.

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As you mentioned:
"As far as C is concerned, it weakens the argument by stating the opposite of what's stated in the conclusion."
Bingo. Choice C attacks the conclusion. Choice E has no bearing on the conclusion, as the claim can still stand.
Choice E does nothing to change the author's claim, because it doesn't attack the claim.

The author's claim: The results strongly support the hypothesis that mental states influence the body’s vulnerability to infection.

Choice E: A high frequency of infections can stem from an unusually high level of exposure rather than from any disorder of the immune system.

We're looking at the correlation between depression and the immune system, and how the author uses the results to come to her claim. That's why Choice C works, because it affects the evidence the author relies on in order to make her conclusion.
Choice E doesn't do that at all. It just says that a high frequency of infections can stem from a high level of exposure. Period.
We're not concerned with a rate of infections that stem from any disorder of the immune system.
The author can still use her evidence from the tests, and still come to her same conclusion. Therefore, Choice E can't work.

Hope that helps
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Re: A study comparing a group of chronically depressed  [#permalink]

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19 Jun 2014, 23:51
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shahPranay14 wrote:
A study comparing a group of chronically depressed individuals with an otherwise matched group of individuals free from depression found significantly more disorders of the immune system among the depressed group. According to the researchers, these results strongly support the hypothesis that mental states influence the body’s vulnerability to infection.
Which of the following, if true, casts the most serious doubt on the researchers’ interpretation of their findings?
(A) The researchers’ view does little more than echo a familiar theme in folklore and literature.
(B) Chronically depressed individuals are no less careful than others to avoid exposure to infections.
(C) Disorders of the immune system cause many of those individuals who have them to become chronically depressed.
(D) Individuals who have previously been free from depression can become depressed quite suddenly.
(E) A high frequency of infections can stem from an unusually high level of exposure rather than from any disorder of the immune system.

My answer : E beacause it states that disorder of immune system can be because of high level of exposure to the infections.

Premises:
People who are depressed are found to have more immune system disorders.

Conclusion:
Mental states influence the body’s vulnerability to infection. (In other words, depression causes immune system disorders)

Doesn't this make you think that it could be the other way around too (in which case the conclusion would be wrong)? Just because depression and immune system disorders appear together, it doesn't necessarily mean that depression causes immune system disorders. What if actually immune system disorders often cause depression? You will see similar results if you study depressed people vs others in that case too.

Anyway, let's look at the options now to find the one that weakens.

Option (C) is right on target -
(C) Disorders of the immune system cause many of those individuals who have them to become chronically depressed.

(E) A high frequency of infections can stem from an unusually high level of exposure rather than from any disorder of the immune system.
On the other hand, (E) gives you an alternative cause of immune system disorders. Note that this does not weaken our conclusion. Just because there are additional ways that lead to immune disorders, it does not mean that depression may not be responsible for immune disorders.

Taking a simple example:
If we see that A and B appear together, can we say that A causes B? Well, that's not necessary. B could cause A instead.
What if I tell you that C causes B? Does it mean that A cannot cause B? Absolutely not! Perhaps both A and C can lead to B. So knowing that C causes B, does not weaken A causes B.
Hence (E) is not correct.
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Re: A study comparing a group of chronically depressed  [#permalink]

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23 Jun 2014, 10:39
VeritasPrepKarishma wrote:
shahPranay14 wrote:
A study comparing a group of chronically depressed individuals with an otherwise matched group of individuals free from depression found significantly more disorders of the immune system among the depressed group. According to the researchers, these results strongly support the hypothesis that mental states influence the body’s vulnerability to infection.
Which of the following, if true, casts the most serious doubt on the researchers’ interpretation of their findings?
(A) The researchers’ view does little more than echo a familiar theme in folklore and literature.
(B) Chronically depressed individuals are no less careful than others to avoid exposure to infections.
(C) Disorders of the immune system cause many of those individuals who have them to become chronically depressed.
(D) Individuals who have previously been free from depression can become depressed quite suddenly.
(E) A high frequency of infections can stem from an unusually high level of exposure rather than from any disorder of the immune system.

My answer : E beacause it states that disorder of immune system can be because of high level of exposure to the infections.

Premises:
People who are depressed are found to have more immune system disorders.

Conclusion:
Mental states influence the body’s vulnerability to infection. (In other words, depression causes immune system disorders)

Doesn't this make you think that it could be the other way around too (in which case the conclusion would be wrong)? Just because depression and immune system disorders appear together, it doesn't necessarily mean that depression causes immune system disorders. What if actually immune system disorders often cause depression? You will see similar results if you study depressed people vs others in that case too.

Anyway, let's look at the options now to find the one that weakens.

Option (C) is right on target -
(C) Disorders of the immune system cause many of those individuals who have them to become chronically depressed.

(E) A high frequency of infections can stem from an unusually high level of exposure rather than from any disorder of the immune system.
On the other hand, (E) gives you an alternative cause of immune system disorders. Note that this does not weaken our conclusion. Just because there are additional ways that lead to immune disorders, it does not mean that depression may not be responsible for immune disorders.

Taking a simple example:
If we see that A and B appear together, can we say that A causes B? Well, that's not necessary. B could cause A instead.
What if I tell you that C causes B? Does it mean that A cannot cause B? Absolutely not! Perhaps both A and C can lead to B. So knowing that C causes B, does not weaken A causes B.
Hence (E) is not correct.

I slightly disagree with you. I see that C happens to weaken the arguement more that E. But E would have been a correct choice if the word "Can" was not used in it.
Am I correct?
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Re: A study comparing a group of chronically depressed  [#permalink]

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23 Jun 2014, 19:41
shahPranay14 wrote:
I slightly disagree with you. I see that C happens to weaken the arguement more that E. But E would have been a correct choice if the word "Can" was not used in it.
Am I correct?

No, even if "can" was not used, you could not say that (E) is correct. We are seeking the connection between "immune disorders" and "depression". (E) says that "Infections can stem from high level of exposure rather than from immune disorders". It says that causes of frequent infection could be exposure instead of immune disorders. It has no connection to our argument.

Note our conclusion: "mental states influence the body’s vulnerability to infection"
In other words, depression (mental state) affects immunity (body's vulnerability to infection)

What actually causes or does not cause infections is none of our business. We are only concerned with depression and vulnerability to infection.
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A study comparing a group of chronically depressed  [#permalink]

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Updated on: 23 May 2017, 08:21
A study comparing a group of chronically depressed individuals with an otherwise matched group of individuals free from depression found significantly more disorders of the immune system among the depressed group. According to the researchers, these results strongly support the hypothesis that mental states influence the body's vulnerability to the infection.

Q: Which of the following, if true, cast the most serious doubt on the researcher's interpretation?

A: The researchers' view does little more than echo a familiar theme in folklore an literature
B Chronically depressed individuals are no less careful than others to avoid exposure to infections
C: Disorders of the immune system cause many of those individuals who have them to become chronically depressed
D: Individuals who have previously been free from depression can become depressed quite suddenly
E: A high frequency of infections can stem from an unusually high level of exposure rather than from any disorder of the immune system

OA : C

Question : why is E not the answer? Following was my reason for picking E

Conclusion : Mental state causes vulnerability to the infection.

Goal : Weaken conclusion

E states, infections come from high level of exposure ....so its not related to the disorder of the immune system or the mental state of the person....Doesnt this weaken the argument ?

Please let me know where I am going wrong !

Thank you

Originally posted by jabhatta@umail.iu.edu on 23 May 2017, 05:47.
Last edited by broall on 23 May 2017, 08:21, edited 2 times in total.
Merged topic. Please search before posting question.
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Re: A study comparing a group of chronically depressed individuals with an  [#permalink]

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23 May 2017, 06:18
Let's go with C.
Conclusion: mental states influence the body's vulnerability to the infection.
E mentions another factor that influences body's vulnerability to infection. Another cause does not necessarily negate the conclusion. Both of them can be true at the same time.
C states that disorders of inmune system make people become chronically depressed. This claim casts doubt on the experiment. You can see if C is true, the whole arguement is a mess of cause and effect.

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A study comparing a group of chronically depressed individuals with an  [#permalink]

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23 May 2017, 06:30
The argument is of the form A causes B.

In order to weaken it we need to find either one of the following:

1. B causes A
2. A and B occurred together at the same time.

Note that if we are saying A causes B then it may also happen that C can also cause B. So, any alternate cause of B WILL NOT be a weakener.

A: The researchers' view does little more than echo a familiar theme in folklore an literature : Irrelevant. There view is OFS.

B Chronically depressed individuals are no less careful than others to avoid exposure to infections : Whether they are careful is OFS.

C: Disorders of the immune system cause many of those individuals who have them to become chronically depressed B causes A

D: Individuals who have previously been free from depression can become depressed quite suddenly : We don't care. Do we?

E: A high frequency of infections can stem from an unusually high level of exposure rather than from any disorder of the immune system It is saying C caused B. Fine but not a weakener.
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