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Re: Aldolase is a protein found in the brain. In an experiment, subjects [#permalink]
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Aldolase is a protein found in the brain. In an experiment, subjects that consistently chose to sweet drinks when offered a choice between salty and sweet drinks were found to have significantly higher concentrations of Aldolase in their brains than did subjects that consistently chose salty drinks over sweet drinks.

This observation strongly supports the conclusion that Aldolase causes subjects to crave sweet drinks.

Which one of the following, if true, most supports the argument?

We have to prove that "Aldolase causes subjects to crave sweet drinks". I am looking for an answer that weakens the other possible theories such as the one that reverses the Aldolase=>Sweet Drinks relation into Sweet Drinks=>Adolase

D) The subjects that preferred sweetened drinks had the higher concentrations of Aldolase in their brains before they were offered sweetened drinks.

D shows us that 1- it's not that "sweet drinks cause Aldolase" 2- Aldolase was present in the brain before, hence is not caused by sweet drinks.

IMO D
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Re: Aldolase is a protein found in the brain. In an experiment, subjects [#permalink]
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Vercules wrote:
Aldolase is a protein found in the brain. In an experiment, subjects that consistently chose to sweet drinks when offered a choice between salty and sweet drinks were found to have significantly higher concentrations of Aldolase in their brains than did subjects that consistently chose salty drinks over sweet drinks. This observation strongly supports the conclusion that Aldolase causes subjects to crave sweet drinks.

Which one of the following, if true, most supports the argument?


This is a classic "X to Y" problem. We should look for AC that excludes alternate/reverse explanation for the conclusion.
Conclusion: Ald. causes subjects to crave sweet drinks.
Alternate/reverse: Sweet drinks boost Ald. level.

A) The craving for sweetened drinks does not invariably result in a subject’s choosing those drinks over salty drinks.
The experiment is based on the choices made. Hypothetical choices are irrelevant.
B) The brains of the subjects that consistently chose to drink sweetened drinks did not contain significantly more sugar than did the brains of subjects that consistently chose salty drinks.
Sugar level in brain is out of scope.
C) The chemical components of Aldolase are present in both sweetened and salty drinks.
And how on Earth would that support the argument?
D) The subjects that preferred sweetened drinks had the higher concentrations of Aldolase in their brains before they were offered sweetened drinks.
Sweetened drinks did not boost the Ald. level. We were looking for this AC.
E) Subjects that metabolize sugar less efficiently than do other subjects develop high concentrations of Aldolase in their brains.
Metabolism is out of scope.
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Re: Aldolase is a protein found in the brain. In an experiment, subjects [#permalink]
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souvik101990 wrote:
Aldolase is a protein found in the brain. In an experiment, subjects who consistently chose sweetened drinks when offered a choice between salty and sweetened drinks were found, on average, to have significantly higher concentrations of Aldolase in their brains than subjects who consistently chose salty drinks over sweetened drinks. Thus, an increase in the level of Aldolase in the brain is likely to cause an increase in cravings for sweetened drinks.

Which one of the following, if true, most supports the argument?


(A) Craving sweetened drinks does not invariably result in a subject’s choosing those drinks over salty drinks.
This choice weakens the argument. If craving sweetened drinks doesn't result in choosing sweetened drinks over salty drinks, then an increase in the level of Aldolase in the brain could have no effect on a subject’s choosing sweetened drinks over salty drinks.

(B) The brains of the subjects who consistently chose to drink sweetened drinks did not contain significantly more sugar than the brains of subjects that consistently chose salty drinks.
Irrelevant. The argument mentions about the level of Aldolase in the brain, not the level of sugar in the brain.

(C) The chemical components of Aldolase are present in sweetened drinks.
Irrelevan. The argument didn't mention anything about the level of Aldolase in these drinks.

(D) The subjects that preferred sweetened drinks had higher concentrations of Aldolase in their brains before they were offered sweetened drinks.
Correct. This choice eliminates the case that drinking sweetened drinks leads to the increase in the level of Aldolase in the brain (reverse cause).

(E) In a study of subjects who drank one sweetened drink per day for an entire year, the concentrations of Aldolase in the brains of most subjects gradually increased over the course of the year.
This choice fails in explaning that the level of Aldolase in the brain could effect a subject's behavior in choosing sweetened drinks over salty drinks.
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Aldolase is a protein found in the brain. In an experiment, subjects [#permalink]
GMATNinja wrote:
This is a classic correlation vs. causation CR question. And as always, I like to start with a nice, clear restatement of the conclusion:
Quote:
Thus, an increase in the level of Aldolase in the brain is likely to cause an increase in cravings for sweetened drinks.

This is strong, clear causal language: Aldolase causes the increase in cravings for sweetened drinks. And what's the reasoning given in the passage itself? Really, it's just one sentence that leads to the conclusion:

Quote:
In an experiment, subjects who consistently chose sweetened drinks when offered a choice between salty and sweetened drinks were found, on average, to have significantly higher concentrations of Aldolase in their brains than subjects who consistently chose salty drinks over sweetened drinks.

The author assumes that Aldolase is the cause of the cravings for sweetened drinks, but as is often the case in correlation vs. causation questions, we might wonder if the direction of causality could also be reversed. The author says that Aldolase causes the cravings, but why couldn't the consumption of sweetened drinks lead to higher concentrations of Aldolase in the brain instead?

The question is just asking us to strengthen the conclusion ("an increase in the level of Aldolase in the brain is likely to cause an increase in cravings for sweetened drinks.") One way to strengthen the conclusion might be to eliminate the possibility of a "causal reversal": that the sweetened drinks cause the increase in Aldolase in the brain, instead of Aldolase causing an increase in cravings for sweetened drinks. Also notice that we do not need a statement that PROVES that the conclusion is true; rather, we need a statement that SUPPORTS the argument.

Quote:
(A) Craving sweetened drinks does not invariably result in a subject’s choosing those drinks over salty drinks.

Statement (A) is tempting at first! At first glance, it seems it seems to eliminate the "causal reversal" we discussed above. The trouble is, (A) only addresses the link between craving sweetened drinks and choosing those drinks; it does nothing to link Aldolase to the cravings or the consumption of sweetened drinks. And as we'll see in a moment, (D) is a much stronger answer.

Quote:
(B) The brains of the subjects who consistently chose to drink sweetened drinks did not contain significantly more sugar than the brains of subjects that consistently chose salty drinks.

The argument discusses the concentration of Aldolase in the brains of subjects, but the amount of sugar in subjects' brains is irrelevant to the argument. We can eliminate (B).
Quote:
(C) The chemical components of Aldolase are present in sweetened drinks.

The argument claims that Aldolase in the brain causes subjects to crave sweetened drinks. Whether Aldolase is present in the drinks themselves is irrelevant to the argument. And even if we (improperly!) assume that drinking "the chemical components of Aldolase" leads to increased Aldolase in the brain, then this would work against the argument, since it would suggest that drinking sweetened drinks causes higher levels of Aldolase in the brain. Either way, (C) is gone.

Quote:
(D) The subjects that preferred sweetened drinks had higher concentrations of Aldolase in their brains before they were offered sweetened drinks.

The answer strengthens the argument by eliminating the possibility that the stated causal relationship is reversed: if the subjects had higher concentrations of Aldolase prior to taking the sweetened drinks, then the sweetened drinks cannot be the cause of the higher concentration of Aldolase. This does not PROVE that the conclusion is true, but it certainly supports the argument.

Quote:
(E) In a study of subjects who drank one sweetened drink per day for an entire year, the concentrations of Aldolase in the brains of most subjects gradually increased over the course of the year.

(E) hurts the argument by suggesting that the causal relationship in the conclusion is reversed: if (E) is true, then drinking sweetened drinks would increase Aldolase levels in the brain, instead of the other way around.

So (D) is our answer.


Hi GMATNinja AndrewN EducationAisle

While i agree that option D looks correct, my doubt is with Option B. Why can't it be considered as eliminating an alternate cause.
For e.g,i it sugar was higher in the brain, then there is a possiblity that it is more sugar and not Aldolase which causes more cravings. Hence, option B eliminates this possiblity and hence, can be a strengthener.
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shanks2020 wrote:
Hi GMATNinja AndrewN EducationAisle

While i agree that option D looks correct, my doubt is with Option B. Why can't it be considered as eliminating an alternate cause.
For e.g,i it sugar was higher in the brain, then there is a possiblity that it is more sugar and not Aldolase which causes more cravings. Hence, option B eliminates this possiblity and hence, can be a strengthener.

Hello, shanks2020. You are employing what I call one-step-removed logic by conjuring up this potential alternative explanation. Notice first that the question itself asks us which of the following most supports the argument. If that argument runs that an increase in the level of Aldolase in the brain is likely to cause an increase in cravings for sweetened drinks, then we need to get behind this notion, not look for some other potential reason. In (B), you could replace sugar with just about anything you wanted and make the same case you are presenting above. Since we are talking about macronutrients (at least proteins and sugars), we could just as easily talk about some type of carbohydrate that did not eventually lead to the preference discussed in the passage. Would that strengthen the argument? Not at all. It would simply take away yet another potential contributing factor. Basically, since we are not told that there are two and only two competing hypotheses to explain these experimental results, and we are tasked with strengthening the one explanation we are provided, we ought to do our best to work with that explanation. It is much harder to debate (D), for the very reason GMATNinja touched on above: it nixes the notion that the arrow of causality runs in reverse.

When you resort to one-step-removed logic, you will almost always end up getting the question wrong. I would urge you to pursue the path of least resistance instead, the one that falls in line most directly with what the passage tells you.

Thank you for thinking to ask about this one. (The most interesting thing to me in looking back on (B) is the shift from who to that in reference to the brains of subjects... I guess the subjects were choosing in the first instance while the brain was pulling the strings in the latter part of the answer choice. I do not think such a comparison would fly in SC, but I had fun thinking about the situation.)

- Andrew
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Re: Aldolase is a protein found in the brain. In an experiment, subjects [#permalink]
GMATNinja

Can you please elaborate on how is Option D any different to what has been stated in the premise (i.e people who chose sweetened drink had higher adoloase) ?

I selected, option A because I thought it eliminated the causal reversal, and eliminated option D for being a mere re-statement.
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Re: Aldolase is a protein found in the brain. In an experiment, subjects [#permalink]
Dear sing086

option A provides info that helps to eliminate some case, but such info does not prove or rebut that Aldolase -> Sweetened Drinks
(A) Craving sweetened drinks does not invariably result in a subject’s choosing those drinks over salty drinks.

in contrast, option D clearly endorses that A - > SD, excluding reversal effect
(D) The subjects that preferred sweetened drinks had higher concentrations of Aldolase in their brains before they were offered sweetened drinks.


Hope it helps :)
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