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Cognitive psychologist: The argument against IQ as a hereditary trait

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Cognitive psychologist: The argument against IQ as a hereditary trait that is fixed throughout one’s lifetime ignores the evidence of eye orientation. That is, there is a high correlation between the speed in which a person’s eyes orient towards a stimulus and that person’s IQ. Specifically, an experiment measured the number of milliseconds subjects required to orient their eyes to the where on a large screen a word was flashed. The study found that the more rapid the response the higher that person’s IQ.

Which of the following is an assumption the cognitive psychologist makes?

A) The speed in which a person orients his or her eyes towards a stimulus is a skill that cannot be modified by experience.
B) The ability of scientists to measure a person’s IQ depends on whether that person is literate.
C) Some subjects who have a documented high IQ orient towards a stimulus slower than the average.
D) The screen used in the experiment was so large that subjects had to shift their bodies in order to read the words presented on the screen.
E) The speed at which one can orient one’s eye to a stimulus has also been highly correlated with overall health.

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Cognitive psychologist: The argument against IQ as a hereditary trait  [#permalink]

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New post 02 Sep 2015, 16:00
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Harley1980 wrote:
Cognitive psychologist: The argument against IQ as a hereditary trait that is fixed throughout one’s lifetime ignores the evidence of eye orientation. That is, there is a high correlation between the speed in which a person’s eyes orient towards a stimulus and that person’s IQ. Specifically, an experiment measured the number of milliseconds subjects required to orient their eyes to the where on a large screen a word was flashed. The study found that the more rapid the response the higher that person’s IQ.

Which of the following is an assumption the cognitive psychologist makes?

A) The speed in which a person orients his or her eyes towards a stimulus is a skill that cannot be modified by experience.
B) The ability of scientists to measure a person’s IQ depends on whether that person is literate.
C) Some subjects who have a documented high IQ orient towards a stimulus slower than the average.
D) The screen used in the experiment was so large that subjects had to shift their bodies in order to read the words presented on the screen.
E) The speed at which one can orient one’s eye to a stimulus has also been highly correlated with overall health.

Dear Harley1980,
I'm happy to respond. :-) This is a question that my buddy Chris Lele wrote.

One common test for Assumptions is the negation test, but a much simpler approach is what I might call the "Bridge Approach." I compare these two approaches to assumption questions in this blog article:
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2013/assumption ... -the-gmat/
I will use the Bridge Method here.

The first sentence of the Cognitive Psychologist is: "The argument for IQ as a hereditary trait that is fixed throughout one’s lifetime is strengthened by the evidence of eye orientation." The rest of the prompt discusses eye orientation and what it has to do with IQ, but the whole idea of what's hereditary and what's not hereditary disappears. What does eye movements have to do with being hereditary? There has to be some kind of bridge linking these two, telling us about some connection between (a) eye movement skills, and (b) what's hereditary. The assumption would be that bridge.

This is precisely what (A) tells us.
(A) The speed in which a person orients his or her eyes towards a stimulus is a skill that cannot be modified by experience.
A person cannot change their eye movement skills: in other words, those skills are hereditary, with a genetic basic. Well if these skills are predictive of IQ, it strengthens the argument that IQ is hereditary. This plugs the missing "hole" in the argument: this is the assumption.

Does this make sense?
Mike
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Re: Cognitive psychologist: The argument against IQ as a hereditary trait  [#permalink]

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New post 03 Sep 2015, 03:42
Hi Mike,
Great reply, :) as usual. The link u suggested is super helpful too.
One query:
Quote:
The first sentence of the Cognitive Psychologist is: "The argument for IQ as a hereditary trait that is fixed throughout one’s lifetime is strengthened the evidence of eye orientation."

I noticed that you basically changed the first statement in the question and your statement is far more easy to understand than the convoluted one originally given. And I believe, you used the contrapositive of the conditional statement (sorry, if I m overthinking). Would you please to elaborate on this.
Thanks in advance,
Binit.
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Re: Cognitive psychologist: The argument against IQ as a hereditary trait  [#permalink]

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New post 03 Sep 2015, 09:28
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binit wrote:
Hi Mike,
Great reply, :) as usual. The link u suggested is super helpful too.
One query:
Quote:
The first sentence of the Cognitive Psychologist is: "The argument for IQ as a hereditary trait that is fixed throughout one’s lifetime is strengthened by the evidence of eye orientation."

I noticed that you basically changed the first statement in the question and your statement is far more easy to understand than the convoluted one originally given. And I believe, you used the contrapositive of the conditional statement (sorry, if I m overthinking). Would you please to elaborate on this.
Thanks in advance,
Binit.

Dear Binit,
I'm sorry, my friend. Your question is not clear. On exactly what are you asking me to elaborate?

I'm going to suggest this blog article for you:
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2014/asking-exc ... questions/
When you ask any question, make it your goal to be a master communicator. Always put your best into everything you do.

Mike :-)
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Re: Cognitive psychologist: The argument against IQ as a hereditary trait  [#permalink]

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New post 03 Sep 2015, 14:08
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Hi Mike,
Sorry, I couldn't make myself clear.
In the given argument the first sentence was: Cognitive psychologist: The argument against IQ as a hereditary trait that is fixed throughout one’s lifetime ignores the evidence of eye orientation.
and u wrote: The first sentence of the Cognitive Psychologist is: "The argument for IQ as a hereditary trait that is fixed throughout one’s lifetime is strengthened by the evidence of eye orientation."
I found the original sentence too convoluted and had to spend some time on it, whereas ur sentence seemed easier to understand. So, I wanted to know whether this could be a good practice to convert convoluted sentences into easier ones.
Is that a bit clearer?

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Re: Cognitive psychologist: The argument against IQ as a hereditary trait  [#permalink]

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New post 03 Sep 2015, 22:30
binit wrote:
Hi Mike,
Great reply, :) as usual. The link u suggested is super helpful too.
One query:
Quote:
The first sentence of the Cognitive Psychologist is: "The argument for IQ as a hereditary trait that is fixed throughout one’s lifetime is strengthened the evidence of eye orientation."

I noticed that you basically changed the first statement in the question and your statement is far more easy to understand than the convoluted one originally given. And I believe, you used the contrapositive of the conditional statement (sorry, if I m overthinking). Would you please to elaborate on this.
Thanks in advance,
Binit.


Hello binit.

Yes, this is quite often trick when an author of question make it more convoluted by adding some negative words. Usually in such cases you can use inversion:
The argument
against IQ as a hereditary trait (invert negative part) --> IQ is a hereditary trait
that is fixed throughout one’s lifetime
ignores the evidence of eye orientation (invert negative part) --> use the evidence of eye orientation

Finally we received sentence that more easy for understanding:
"The argument that IQ is a hereditary trait that is fixed throughout one’s lifetime use the evidence of eye orientation"

The only minus of such way of solution is that if you miss one of the part of argument then you will completely distort the meaning.


The much safer way is just write basic moments of such argument and rephrase it a little:
"The argument that IQ is not a hereditary ignores the eye evidence."
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How to solve main idea questions without full understanding of RC.
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Re: Cognitive psychologist: The argument against IQ as a hereditary trait  [#permalink]

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New post 03 Sep 2015, 22:58
Hello Harley,

Thanks a lot for ur reply. My doubt was in the same line. In the present case, we have argument against A ignores B, which is nothing but A --> B
the contrapositive: B --> A should also be true. That is, use of the evidence of eye orientation leads to: IQ is a hereditary trait.. - this is what we were using and definitely its simpler to understand.
Whereas, it could be tricky to experiment with GMAT, so I was doubtful. Your suggestion, to be on the safer side by capturing the subtleties of the argument is really great. I ll try to implement that in future CRs.

Thanks again :)

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Re: Cognitive psychologist: The argument against IQ as a hereditary trait  [#permalink]

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New post 04 Sep 2015, 12:44
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binit wrote:
Hello Harley,

Thanks a lot for ur reply. My doubt was in the same line. In the present case, we have argument against A ignores B, which is nothing but A --> B
the contrapositive: B --> A should also be true. That is, use of the evidence of eye orientation leads to: IQ is a hereditary trait.. - this is what we were using and definitely its simpler to understand.
Whereas, it could be tricky to experiment with GMAT, so I was doubtful. Your suggestion, to be on the safer side by capturing the subtleties of the argument is really great. I ll try to implement that in future CRs.

Thanks again :)

Binit.

Dear Binit,
My friend, I will also give you some advice. I appreciate your use of formal logic symbolism and use of abstract logical reasoning such as the equivalence of a statement to its contrapositive. It's wonderful that you understand all that, and I am going to say: do NOT use it on GMAT CR. Think about it. The GMAT CR is designed to prepare you for practical arguments in the business world. Fundamentally, every sale's pitch is a kind of argument. I would say that 99% of folks in the business world never use formal mathematical logic, and if you rely on these more abstract tools, you will be liable to miss the rough-and-tumble real world quality of CR arguments. See this blog post:
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2012/formal-log ... reasoning/

Like the SC and the RC, the GMAT CR is ultimately about meaning: do you understand the real world meaning, the real-world push-and-pull of the situation? That's where your focus should be. Does all this make sense?

Mike :-)
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New post 04 Sep 2015, 21:43
Absolutely Mike. Thanks a ton for the great advice. I understand that formal logic is kind of bookish knowledge that is definitely good, but may not serve as an oasis in the Gmat desert. I shall take care.
Thanks,
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Re: Cognitive psychologist: The argument against IQ as a hereditary trait  [#permalink]

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New post 06 Nov 2016, 10:31
Hi Mike, thanks for your explanation.

While I arrived at option A using the same reasoning, I have reason to think this is not really an assumption, only seems like one. The conclusion in question is "The fact that there is correlation with eye skills - they need not be fixed - implies IQ is hereditary". Now a true assumption when negated (or seen as a bridge) should break (lead to) this conclusion.

Option A, however, is the assumption only for the claim that "eye skills are not modifiable". It does nothing to bridge to the claim that IQ is hereditary. What I'm getting at is that even if eye skills could change during one's lifetime, we wouldn't know if that makes any difference to the issue of IQ.

The assumption should be linking to an intermediate conclusion or the final conclusion. Here there is no intermediate conclusion and option A does not properly link to whether IQ is hereditary. In fact for it to do so, option A requires the assumption that "IQ's correlation with eye dexterity should only be considered if eye dexterity hasn't been cultivated".
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Re: Cognitive psychologist: The argument against IQ as a hereditary trait  [#permalink]

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New post 07 Nov 2016, 15:24
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sanghar wrote:
Hi Mike, thanks for your explanation.

While I arrived at option A using the same reasoning, I have reason to think this is not really an assumption, only seems like one. The conclusion in question is "The fact that there is correlation with eye skills - they need not be fixed - implies IQ is hereditary". Now a true assumption when negated (or seen as a bridge) should break (lead to) this conclusion.

Option A, however, is the assumption only for the claim that "eye skills are not modifiable". It does nothing to bridge to the claim that IQ is hereditary. What I'm getting at is that even if eye skills could change during one's lifetime, we wouldn't know if that makes any difference to the issue of IQ.

The assumption should be linking to an intermediate conclusion or the final conclusion. Here there is no intermediate conclusion and option A does not properly link to whether IQ is hereditary. In fact for it to do so, option A requires the assumption that "IQ's correlation with eye dexterity should only be considered if eye dexterity hasn't been cultivated".

Dear sanghar,

I'm happy to respond. :-)

My friend, if you are too formal and rigid in adhering to rigorous requirements of what constitutes an assumption, you run the risk of missing real assumptions on real GMAT CR arguments. You are trying to be very formulaic and neat about the nature of arguments, and there's an irreducible "messiness" about real world arguments, including those you will see on the GMAT.

Also, I would urge you to pay attention to the exact wording of (A)---exact wording is always important on GMAT CR.
The speed in which a person orients his or her eyes towards a stimulus is a skill that cannot be modified by experience.
In other words, one can't simply practice it and get better. It's not just the passive idea of change over time. This is the idea of doing something intentional to modify the skill.

For example, getting a high GMAT score IS "a skill that can be modified by experience." This is precisely why people take courses and sit for retakes. The experience of previous GMATs and/or the experience provided by Magoosh or MGMAT or wherever definitely causes folks in gain skill and change their outcome on the test. Therefore, what the GMAT "measures" about a person is not an innate hereditary quality, because it can be predictably altered by practice.

You see, up until the 1990s, the College Board made claims suggesting that the SAT was the equivalent of an IQ test. Then, Kaplan and other test prep companies demonstrated, quite conclusively, that their training could raise a student's SAT score: that definitively proved that SAT score was not measuring something innate and genetically determined, and in the face of possible lawsuits, the College Board was required to make changes to its claim. This scenario might have been the inspiration for this question, I don't know.

If we know (A), do we thereby know that eye skills are a genetically determined hereditary trait? Not necessarily. BUT, if I can so some kind of special practice, maybe take "Kaplan's premium eye movement course," and improve this skill, then it absolutely is not a genetic trait. Anything on which I can improve by studying is not innate. Thus, if (A) is not true, it destroys the argument. That's an assumption.

Does all this make sense?
Mike :-)
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Re: Cognitive psychologist: The argument against IQ as a hereditary trait  [#permalink]

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New post 07 Nov 2016, 22:13
mikemcgarry wrote:
sanghar wrote:
Hi Mike, thanks for your explanation.

While I arrived at option A using the same reasoning, I have reason to think this is not really an assumption, only seems like one. The conclusion in question is "The fact that there is correlation with eye skills - they need not be fixed - implies IQ is hereditary". Now a true assumption when negated (or seen as a bridge) should break (lead to) this conclusion.

Option A, however, is the assumption only for the claim that "eye skills are not modifiable". It does nothing to bridge to the claim that IQ is hereditary. What I'm getting at is that even if eye skills could change during one's lifetime, we wouldn't know if that makes any difference to the issue of IQ.

The assumption should be linking to an intermediate conclusion or the final conclusion. Here there is no intermediate conclusion and option A does not properly link to whether IQ is hereditary. In fact for it to do so, option A requires the assumption that "IQ's correlation with eye dexterity should only be considered if eye dexterity hasn't been cultivated".

Dear sanghar,

I'm happy to respond. :-)

My friend, if you are too formal and rigid in adhering to rigorous requirements of what constitutes an assumption, you run the risk of missing real assumptions on real GMAT CR arguments. You are trying to be very formulaic and neat about the nature of arguments, and there's an irreducible "messiness" about real world arguments, including those you will see on the GMAT.

Also, I would urge you to pay attention to the exact wording of (A)---exact wording is always important on GMAT CR.
The speed in which a person orients his or her eyes towards a stimulus is a skill that cannot be modified by experience.
In other words, one can't simply practice it and get better. It's not just the passive idea of change over time. This is the idea of doing something intentional to modify the skill.

For example, getting a high GMAT score IS "a skill that can be modified by experience." This is precisely why people take courses and sit for retakes. The experience of previous GMATs and/or the experience provided by Magoosh or MGMAT or wherever definitely causes folks in gain skill and change their outcome on the test. Therefore, what the GMAT "measures" about a person is not an innate hereditary quality, because it can be predictably altered by practice.

You see, up until the 1990s, the College Board made claims suggesting that the SAT was the equivalent of an IQ test. Then, Kaplan and other test prep companies demonstrated, quite conclusively, that their training could raise a student's SAT score: that definitively proved that SAT score was not measuring something innate and genetically determined, and in the face of possible lawsuits, the College Board was required to make changes to its claim. This scenario might have been the inspiration for this question, I don't know.

If we know (A), do we thereby know that eye skills are a genetically determined hereditary trait? Not necessarily. BUT, if I can so some kind of special practice, maybe take "Kaplan's premium eye movement course," and improve this skill, then it absolutely is not a genetic trait. Anything on which I can improve by studying is not innate. Thus, if (A) is not true, it destroys the argument. That's an assumption.

Does all this make sense?
Mike :-)


Hi Mike, I agree that I am pointing out to a difference that is minute. And irrespective of that I would have chosen option A on the exam as I get that in the real world reasoning this is absolutely fine.

The reason I pointed it out is to confirm that I myself was not missing out on some detail

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Re: Cognitive psychologist: The argument against IQ as a hereditary trait  [#permalink]

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New post 19 Jun 2017, 20:31
B is wrong because B not only is out of scope, (the ability of scientist to measure IQ is irrelevant), but also strengthens the argument that IQ will not change if there is a stimulus.
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Re: Cognitive psychologist: The argument against IQ as a hereditary trait  [#permalink]

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New post 11 Aug 2018, 04:44

Official Explanation


Premise #1 – Those who think IQ is not fixed discount evidence of eye movement.

Premise #2 – High correlation between eye movement and IQ (results of experiment)

Conclusion: IQ is hereditary and fixed through life.

Assumption: One can’t learn to orient eyes to a stimulus more rapidly. This points to (A). If we negate (A), we get the following: people can change the speed in which they orient their eyes to a target. That means that they can change their IQ, something the argument does not think is possible.

(B) is tempting but remember the experiment is only tracking how fast a person moves his or her eyes to a word, not whether that person can read the word.

(C) is wrong since the argument only mentioned that there was high correlation. Thus, inevitably there will be those with high IQ who do rapidly orient their eyes to a word, and those with low-ish IQ who are decently fast.

(D) is a possible weakener, since if subjects are turning their bodies, experimenters aren’t only using eye movement. We are, however, looking for an assumption.

(E) is irrelevant since it brings in a third factor without discussing how that third factor relates to IQ.
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