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Because the very subject matter of anthropology is so volatile, it’s n

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New Project RC Butler 2019 - Practice 2 RC Passages Everyday
Passage # 12, Date : 06-FEB-2019
This post is a part of New Project RC Butler 2019. Click here for Details


Because the very subject matter of anthropology is so volatile, it’s no surprise that the discipline is frequently embroiled in controversy. Even when social commentators and outside observers fail to criticize the latest anthropological theory on human nature, the social science’s own practitioners are often up in arms over some study or another. Consider Ekman’s landmark study of human emotions in the 1960s.

At the time, the accepted movement in anthropology was relativism. In an effort to rid the discipline of accusations of bias, anthropologists attempted to study cultures as isolated systems. The norms, mores, and practices of each culture were analyzed only in terms of the internal consistency they possessed and any suggestion of judgment was met by howls of outrage by the anthropological establishment. Into this arena came Ekman with his startling heresy; emotions, argued Ekman, were not arbitrary cultural constructs but universal human traits. Ekman had spent years traveling the world, showing people around the globe photographs of other people expressing six basic emotions: happiness, sadness, anger, fear, disgust, and surprise. Not one person studied by Ekman failed to recognize these emotions, whether the person in the photograph was wearing the suit of a Western businessman or the tribal dress of the Fore foragers of New Guinea.

When Ekman presented his findings at an anthropological conference, he was denounced as a fascist and a racist. Some of his fellow scientists even took his research to prove not that human emotions were universal but that the hegemony of Western culture was so complete that even the most far-flung peoples were socialized into the Western mindset. Ekman was shocked at the reaction. He thought his findings would be evidence of the brotherhood of man, not of the subjugation of the world by the West. And yet, Ekman’s conclusions have been replicated again and again and are now generally accepted in the anthropology community, which apparently is like its subject matter: quick to anger but perhaps slow to admit mistakes.

1. Which of the following most accurately expresses the main idea of the passage?

A. Despite an initial outcry over his work, Ekman was eventually vindicated by the scientific community for his research findings.
B. The anthropological community as a whole is characterized by rigidity and an unwillingness to accept new ideas.
C. Anthropologists take longer to accept controversial ideas about human nature than do scientists in other fields.
D. The anthropological community’s reaction to certain heretical ideas may reflect a basic truth about the nature of the discipline.
E. Ekman’s revolutionary study about the universality of human emotions caused a stir in the anthropological community that reverberates to this day.


2. According to the passage, the results of Ekman’s study were

A. unequivocal in their support of Ekman’s thesis that there are certain emotions that are universally recognized
B. inconclusive, as they may have simply indicated the hegemony of Western culture rather than the universality of human emotions
C. invalid because Ekman only used pictures of Western businessmen and Fore tribesmen
D. inflammatory because Ekman’s personal biases influenced the results
E. limited because Ekman did not carry out enough research to properly draw the conclusion he reached


3. The passage suggests which of the following about anthropology?

A. For much of the discipline’s history it was often charged with making racist assumptions about the value of other cultures’ practices.
B. The relativist approach is no longer employed by modern anthropologists.
C. At one time, anthropologists evaluated cultures based on a culture’s relationships to other cultures in the world.
D. Members of the anthropological community are more sensitive to accusations of bias than are the members of other disciplines.
E. Anthropologists believe that the prevalence of Western cultural norms represents a threat to indigenous peoples around the world.



Source: McGraw Hills GMAT 2013 (95)
Difficulty Level: 700

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Originally posted by SajjadAhmad on 11 Jun 2018, 14:56.
Last edited by SajjadAhmad on 18 Sep 2019, 03:21, edited 1 time in total.
Updated - Complete topic (575).
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Re: Because the very subject matter of anthropology is so volatile, it’s n  [#permalink]

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New post 08 Feb 2019, 07:44
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Official Explanation


1. Which of the following most accurately expresses the main idea of the passage?

Explanation

First assess the question. This is clearly a main idea question. In order to answer this type of question, first refer to the notes you took from your analytical reading. The answer to a main idea question should reflect the major points of the entire passage, not just one part. Focus on the beginning of the paragraphs and the final few sentences to get a sense of the big picture; unless you see a word like “however,” “but,” or “although,” don’t look at the details contained in the body paragraphs.

Earlier, you gathered that the main idea was something like “Ekman’s experience shows how members of the anthropological community may initially react negatively to a new finding, but may eventually come to accept the finding.” Now look at the answer choices and see how well they match your take on the passage. Choice A focuses on Ekman, stating he was vindicated by the scientific community. But look back at the passage. Ekman and his experience is an example used by the author to support a statement about the anthropological community. So while choice A may discuss a part of the passage, it is not the main idea. Choice B makes a claim that is not supported by the passage. The author claims that the community eventually accepted Ekman’s new idea, although it caused controversy at first. Choice C compares anthropologists to scientists in other fields, but the passage makes no explicit comparison to other scientists. Now look at choice D. The best answer to main idea question encompasses all major parts of the passage. The first paragraph makes a claim about the nature of the anthropological community, the second and third paragraphs detail the reaction of the community, and the final sentence reiterates the author’s belief about the nature of the members of the anthropological community. Choice D is looking pretty good, but you must check the final answer. Choice E focuses on Ekman’s study, but it doesn’t mention anything about the nature of the anthropological community, a key idea in the passage. Furthermore, nothing in the passage supports the idea that the ideas “still reverberate to this day.” So it looks like choice D is best after all.


2. According to the passage, the results of Ekman’s study were

Explanation

This is a supporting detail question. It asks you to figure what the passage says about the results of Ekman’s study. For questions that ask about specific parts of the passage, your goal is to find the particular lines in which the author discusses the supporting idea asked about in the question. Your analytical reading should give you an understanding of the structure of the passage, which may help you figure out where to look for the answer. Alternatively, you can use the words in the question itself to aid you. The GMAT writers typically use specific words from the passage in the question stem, so scan around the passage for something like “results of Ekman’s study.” The second paragraph would probably be the best place to look first because you know from your analysis that this paragraph details Ekman’s experience. At the end of the paragraph you will find the sentence “Not one person studied by Ekman failed to recognize these emotions, whether the person in the photograph was wearing the suit of a Western businessman or the tribal dress of the Fore foragers of New Guinea.” These lines contain the answer: the results showed that everyone Ekman studied was able to recognize the emotions pictured.

Now you have to find the answer choice that matches what the passage states. Choice A looks promising since it says that the results clearly supported Ekman’s thesis. Even if you think choice A is good, you still must look at the other answer choices; sometimes it’s easy to become enamored of a certain answer choice but there may be an even better answer. Choice B is incorrect because the passage doesn’t state that the results indicated Western hegemony. Some scientists argued that but the passage states that the conclusions have been replicated and are now accepted. There is nothing in the passage to support choice C. Choice D may look tempting because the results certainly were inflammatory. However, the passage doesn’t explicitly state that the results were controversial because of Ekman’s biases. Choice E is also not stated by the author. If anything, the passage indicates the opposite by saying that Ekman spent years traveling the world for his study. Thus, choice A turns out to be the best choice.


3. The passage suggests which of the following about anthropology?

Explanation

Any question that asks what the passage suggests or implies is an inference question. Inference questions tend to be slightly more difficult than supporting detail questions, even though they both ask you about the facts in the passage. One difficulty is that inference questions tend to be open ended; from reading the question, it may not be obvious where exactly in the passage you should look for the answer. Another difficulty concerns the inference itself. An inference is not merely a guess or a hunch. Inferences on the GMAT need to be supported by the passage. Any choice that could be true or might be true just won’t cut it. This question requires you to use the information in the passage to draw an inference about anthropology. Where should you look? Considering that the entire passage is about anthropology, it would be inefficient to read practically everything.

When the question doesn’t give you much help figuring out where to look, go to the answer choices. Take each choice one by one and see if you can prove it to be true based on the passage. For choice A, look at the parts of the passage that deal with accusations of racism. The last paragraph states some scientists accused Ekman of racism, but that doesn’t help. The beginning of the second paragraph said anthropology had been accused of bias, but nothing supports the idea that these accusations occurred for “much of the discipline’s history.” So while this answer might be true, it’s not an inference. Choice B is easier to find—relativism appears in the beginning of the second paragraph. But nowhere does the passage state that relativism is no longer practiced, so choice B can be eliminated. Now for choice C, look for the part of the passage that talks about how anthropologists used to evaluate cultures. The second paragraph is a good place to look because the beginning talks about judging other cultures. The passage states that anthropologists tried “to study cultures as isolated systems. The norms, mores, and practices of each culture were analyzed only in terms of the internal consistency they possessed.” Since this was a change, it means that before, cultures were not studied as isolated systems or in terms of internal consistency. This makes choice C a good inference. Choice D is easy to eliminate because the passage doesn’t compare anthropologists to other scientists. The final choice goes too far for an inference. In the passage, Western hegemony was mentioned by a “few” scientists. But that doesn’t mean that anthropologists in general feel this way. Choice C is best.


Hope it helps
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Re: Because the very subject matter of anthropology is so volatile, it’s n  [#permalink]

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New post 11 Jun 2018, 18:28
Can anyone explain why the answer for ques 1 is D. I got the answer as B

Thanks

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Re: Because the very subject matter of anthropology is so volatile, it’s n  [#permalink]

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New post 11 Jun 2018, 22:22
raveesh1203 wrote:
Can anyone explain why the answer for ques 1 is D. I got the answer as B

Thanks

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Hi,

The passage talks about the subject - anthropology - being so volatile - even subject's own insiders sometimes are against some study/findings.The passage in general, discusses the volatileness between groups of who work on the subject and the ones who don't. Nowhere in the passage it's mentioned that any anthropological community is unwilling to accept any new ideas, it's just that they are not convinced with the explanation about a certain finding. consider the example presented in the passage about the findings of Ekamn.

Hope this helps !!
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Re: Because the very subject matter of anthropology is so volatile, it’s n  [#permalink]

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New post 19 Jul 2018, 00:06
Can anyone provide the explanation for Q3?
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Re: Because the very subject matter of anthropology is so volatile, it’s n  [#permalink]

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New post 19 Jul 2018, 06:56
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raveesh1203 wrote:
Can anyone explain why the answer for ques 1 is D. I got the answer as B

Thanks

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Hi ,
Here is the original question with all the answer choices.


Which of the following most accurately expresses the main idea of the passage?

A. Despite an initial outcry over his work, Ekman was eventually vindicated by the scientific community for his research findings.
B. The anthropological community as a whole is characterized by rigidity and an unwillingness to accept new ideas.
C. Anthropologists take longer to accept controversial ideas about human nature than do scientists in other fields.
D. The anthropological community’s reaction to certain heretical ideas may reflect a basic truth about the nature of the discipline.
E. Ekman’s revolutionary study about the universality of human emotions caused a stir in the anthropological community that reverberates to this day.

B is not inferred from the passage. Moreover there are reasons that anthropology field may take in new ideas but folks in the same field will denounce it. To clearly point out this please read the following from the passage.

Because the very subject matter of anthropology is so volatile, it’s no surprise that the discipline is frequently embroiled in controversy. Even when social commentators and outside observers fail to criticize the latest anthropological theory on human nature, the social science’s own practitioners are often up in arms over some study or another. Consider Ekman’s landmark study of human emotions in the 1960s.


At the time, the accepted movement in anthropology was relativism. In an effort to rid the discipline of accusations of bias, anthropologists attempted to study cultures as isolated systems. The norms, mores, and practices of each culture were analyzed only in terms of the internal consistency they possessed and any suggestion of judgment was met by howls of outrage by the anthropological establishment.

D on the other hand is correct as we can see form the first para that folks in the field criticize other folks with different theories.
Again we are given reaction to Ekman’s landmark study. D is the only valid answer.
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Re: Because the very subject matter of anthropology is so volatile, it’s n  [#permalink]

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New post 19 Jul 2018, 18:40
prashant6923 wrote:
Can anyone provide the explanation for Q3?


Hi Prashant,

Here's my take on Question 3:

A. For much of the discipline’s history it was often charged with making racist assumptions about the value of other cultures’ practices. From the passage, there's only one instance of such assumptions and that is in the case of EKman eliminated.
B. The relativist approach is no longer employed by modern anthropologists.The relative approach of anthropologists has not been mentioned.It only talks about the discipline itself.eliminated
C.At one time, anthropologists evaluated cultures based on a culture’s relationships to other cultures in the world. Once it is mentioned and can be concluded, keep it and look other options
D. Members of the anthropological community are more sensitive to accusations of bias than are the members of other disciplines. Comparison with member of other community not mentioned.Eliminated
E. Anthropologists believe that the prevalence of Western cultural norms represents a threat to indigenous peoples around the world.Its more of a generic statement rather than a specific statement used against Ekman in the passage.Eliminated

So, option C is the best answer :-)

Hope this helps.

Thanks
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Re: Because the very subject matter of anthropology is so volatile, it’s n  [#permalink]

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New post 24 Aug 2019, 08:23
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1. Which of the following most accurately expresses the main idea of the passage?

The passage talks about anthropology and how rigid a discipline it can be at when it comes to new ideas. The passage gives an example of Ekman, whose experience is consistent with the idea of anthropology that the author is trying to communicate - that it is a rigid field when it comes to accepting new ideas.
If you understood this much you'd be debating between B and D, more skewed towards option B, however, that option is incorrect for a simple fact. Anthropology is a rigid field when it comes to new ideas but the fellows do accept the new idea after a lot of resistance and the author gives the example of Ekman to reiterate the fact in the last line of the passage.
Hence, the answer should be D.


2. According to the passage, the results of Ekman’s study were

The author wasn't against the idea that Ekamn presented. The author was at least neutral about Ekman's findings if not for them, however, the fellows of the anthropological community was initially against the idea.
Only option A is seems to convey a positive reaction to Ekman's idea.
Hence, the answer should be A.


3. The passage suggests which of the following about anthropology?

A. For much of the discipline’s history it was often charged with making racist assumptions about the value of other cultures’ practices. - Not true, it was only for Ekman's case that we know this happened.
B. The relativist approach is no longer employed by modern anthropologists. - This would've been a correct choice had this question asked about what one would infer from the passage about anthropology. This is directly not implied in the passage, however, can be inferred. Incorrect choice
C. At one time, anthropologists evaluated cultures based on a culture’s relationships to other cultures in the world. - Correct. It was 1960s when this was the case.
D. Members of the anthropological community are more sensitive to accusations of bias than are the members of other disciplines. - There has been no comparison in the passage. Again, this option might've been correct had this been an inference question.
E. Anthropologists believe that the prevalence of Western cultural norms represents a threat to indigenous peoples around the world. - The mention of this is only native to Ekman's case according to the given information in the passage and cannot be generalized for anthropology as a discipline.


Hope this helps!
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Re: Because the very subject matter of anthropology is so volatile, it’s n  [#permalink]

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New post 19 Oct 2019, 05:41
For Q2, I know that now the result is unequivocal, but how about in the past? Doesn't the question mention the past "were" ?
If it means result in the past, can correct choice be "B"?

Thanks in advance.
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Re: Because the very subject matter of anthropology is so volatile, it’s n  [#permalink]

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New post 19 Oct 2019, 08:07
kwanatk wrote:
For Q2, I know that now the result is unequivocal, but how about in the past? Doesn't the question mention the past "were" ?
If it means result in the past, can correct choice be "B"?

Thanks in advance.


I assumed you don't have read these posts.

https://gmatclub.com/forum/because-the- ... l#p2222967
https://gmatclub.com/forum/because-the- ... l#p2344265
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Re: Because the very subject matter of anthropology is so volatile, it’s n   [#permalink] 19 Oct 2019, 08:07
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