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# Columnist: The advent of television helps to explain why the growth in

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Math Expert
Joined: 02 Sep 2009
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Columnist: The advent of television helps to explain why the growth in  [#permalink]

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03 Aug 2019, 11:15
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47% (02:01) correct 53% (01:59) wrong based on 164 sessions

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Columnist: The advent of television helps to explain why the growth in homicide rates in urban areas began significantly earlier than the growth in homicide rates in rural areas. Television sets became popular in urban households about four years earlier than in rural households. Urban homicide rates began increasing in 1958, about four years earlier than a similar increase in rural homicide rates began.

Which one of the following, if true, most support the columnist’s argument?

(A) In places where the number of violent television programs is low, the homicide rates are also low.
(B) The portrayal of violence on television is a cause, not an effect of the violence in society.
(C) There were no violent television programs during the early years of television.
(D) The earlier one is exposed to violence on television, the more profound the effect.
(E) Increasing one’s amount of leisure time increases one’s inclination to act violently.

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Joined: 13 Apr 2019
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Re: Columnist: The advent of television helps to explain why the growth in  [#permalink]

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07 Aug 2019, 02:26
(A) In places where the number of violent television programs is low, the homicide rates are also low.
(B) The portrayal of violence on television is a cause, not an effect of the violence in society.

The whole argument of columnist depends on one theory, which is violence on TV. If there is violence on TV, then it will cause violence in society. Now A is not the correct answer because though it fails to show that the condition "if homicide rates are high then the violent programs are the reason behind it". Also the 'number' of TV programs is really not important.
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Joined: 16 May 2019
Posts: 709
Re: Columnist: The advent of television helps to explain why the growth in  [#permalink]

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22 May 2020, 06:40
AbhishekDhanraJ72 wrote:

Hello, AbhishekDhanraJ72. I would be happy to help you understand this one a little better. The question tells us that we need to support the columnist's argument, so we have to be clear on just what that argument says and what any premises that the argument is based upon say.

Sentence 1 is the argument. Television lies at the root of the earlier growth in homicide rates in urban areas compared to rural areas.

Sentence 2 provides information to show that television sets in urban households did indeed predate the appearance of the new device in rural households, by about four years.

Sentence 3 provides information about homicide rates in urban areas versus rural areas, and that number 4 pops up again: the growth in the urban homicide rate predated the growth in the rural homicide rate by about 4 years.

If we are to strengthen the argument, then we need to back up the statement in sentence 1, to show that television is to blame for the earlier rise in the rate of homicide in urban areas versus rural areas. What do the answer choices have in store for us?

Bunuel wrote:
(A) In places where the number of violent television programs is low, the homicide rates are also low.

The number of violent programs might not create the link between television-viewing and higher rates of homicide, just the presence of any such programming, perhaps. We do not know from the passage, for example, whether cities showed more violent programs than their rural counterparts. We just know that televisions in general started to appear in urban households about four years earlier.

Bunuel wrote:
(B) The portrayal of violence on television is a cause, not an effect of the violence in society.

The argument concerns itself with explaining why the growth in homicide rates in urban areas began significantly earlier than the growth in homicide rates in rural areas, or, in other words, putting a finger on the cause of the roughly four-year difference in homicide-rate growth between the two types of area. If you reverse the arrow of causality here and it were true instead that violence in society was reflected in the portrayal of violence on television, then the argument would fall apart at the seams. But if violence on television causes violent behavior instead, the argument cannot be debunked, so this is exactly what we are looking for.

Bunuel wrote:
(C) There were no violent television programs during the early years of television.

If this were true, then what would explain the four-year gap between the rise in rates of homicide in urban areas and rural areas? We would expect the later, more violent programming to have affected both groups similarly around the same time such violent programming had been introduced. If the reason behind the four-year gap remains a mystery, then we need to press on.

Bunuel wrote:
(D) The earlier one is exposed to violence on television, the more profound the effect.

We do not know who these homicidal maniacs might have been in either area, whether they were younger around the time that television sets started to become popular in urban and rural areas, respectively. The relationship outlined here, that earlier television exposure leads to stronger effects, has no bearing on the argument presented.

Bunuel wrote:
(E) Increasing one’s amount of leisure time increases one’s inclination to act violently.

This is another misguided correlation. Although television-viewing might constitute a leisurely activity, so, too, might reading books, playing games—yes, those existed in the 1950s—or listening to the radio. We are interested in the correlation between households with television sets and the rise in homicide rates in those areas, nothing more.

I hope that helps clarify the passage, question, and answer choices a bit more. If you (or any other readers) have further questions, feel free to ask. Good luck with your studies.

- Andrew
Re: Columnist: The advent of television helps to explain why the growth in   [#permalink] 22 May 2020, 06:40