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# Columnist: There are several symptoms of depression. One sym

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Columnist: There are several symptoms of depression. One sym  [#permalink]

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11 Nov 2013, 03:38
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15% (low)

Question Stats:

78% (01:20) correct 22% (01:44) wrong based on 184 sessions

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Columnist: There are several symptoms of depression. One symptom is sleeping more than 12 hours a day. Therefore, you should buy an alarm clock so that you do not sleep more than 8 hours a day to cure your depression.

If the article also noted that excessive sleeping is caused by reduced serotonin levels resulting from depression, then which of the arguments below best describes the logical flaw in the columnist’s reasoning?
A. Sleep has many beneficial effects.
B. The columnist has mistaken an argument for an explanation.
C. The columnist has mistaken a premise for a conclusion.
D. The columnist has failed to consider that an alarm clock may not be a reliable means of assuring a person wakes up.
E. The columnist has mistaken a symptom for a cause.

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Re: Columnist: There are several symptoms of depression. One sym  [#permalink]

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11 Nov 2013, 06:36
1
This critical reasoning question confuses the order of causation. If depression (x) causes reduced serotonin levels (y), and reduced serotonin levels (y) cause a person to sleep excessively (z), then depression ultimately causes a person to sleep excessively (x-->y-->z). The argument is stating that you should buy an alarm clock to eliminate z, and thus eliminate your depression (x). As we can see from the flow chart, eliminating z will not eliminate x...the order is backwards. This argument therefore mistakes a symptom (aka a result) for a cause, making answer choice E correct.

I hope this helps!!!
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Re: Columnist: There are several symptoms of depression. One sym  [#permalink]

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11 Nov 2013, 08:10
E
The depression has resulted in reduced serotonin levels. This result has caused the excessive sleeping. Hence, excessive sleeping is a symptom of depression.
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Re: Columnist: There are several symptoms of depression. One sym  [#permalink]

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28 Mar 2014, 10:21
honchos wrote:
Columnist: There are several symptoms of depression. One symptom is sleeping more than 12 hours a day. Therefore, you should buy an alarm clock so that you do not sleep more than 8 hours a day to cure your depression.

If the article also noted that excessive sleeping is caused by reduced serotonin levels resulting from depression, then which of the arguments below best describes the logical flaw in the columnist’s reasoning?
A. Sleep has many beneficial effects.
B. The columnist has mistaken an argument for an explanation.
C. The columnist has mistaken a premise for a conclusion.
D. The columnist has failed to consider that an alarm clock may not be a reliable means of assuring a person wakes up.
E. The columnist has mistaken a symptom for a cause.

I can narrow it down to E by elimination method, but the option is confusing. Can someone please explain option E!!
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Re: Columnist: There are several symptoms of depression. One sym  [#permalink]

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28 Mar 2014, 14:57
1
lohith wrote:
honchos wrote:
Columnist: There are several symptoms of depression. One symptom is sleeping more than 12 hours a day. Therefore, you should buy an alarm clock so that you do not sleep more than 8 hours a day to cure your depression.

If the article also noted that excessive sleeping is caused by reduced serotonin levels resulting from depression, then which of the arguments below best describes the logical flaw in the columnist’s reasoning?
A. Sleep has many beneficial effects.
B. The columnist has mistaken an argument for an explanation.
C. The columnist has mistaken a premise for a conclusion.
D. The columnist has failed to consider that an alarm clock may not be a reliable means of assuring a person wakes up.
E. The columnist has mistaken a symptom for a cause.

I can narrow it down to E by elimination method, but the option is confusing. Can someone please explain option E!!

E states that the flaw in the argument is that the columnist mistakes a symptom for a cause - that oversleeping causes depression. Per the argument, if you stop oversleeping, you stop the depression. This doesn't work, however, because the oversleeping is a result of the depression's reduction of serotonin levels, resulting in excessive sleep.

I'll use a silly (imperfect) example to illustrate this issue of symptoms not equalling causes:
One of the symptoms of having hair follicles is that hair grows consistently. One symptom of having hair growth in humans is the need to periodically get a hair cut. If you stop cutting your hair, your hair will stop growing.

Clearly this makes no sense because needing a hair cut is a symptom of hair growth, not a cause. The hair growth is caused by all those biological functions that produce hair and are completely independent of the frequency of hair cuts. Symptoms do not equal causes, therefore impacting a symptom doesn't necessarily fix the "problem".

Does this help?
KW
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Re: Columnist: There are several symptoms of depression. One sym  [#permalink]

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22 Jan 2018, 10:40
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Re: Columnist: There are several symptoms of depression. One sym   [#permalink] 22 Jan 2018, 10:40
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