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# Errors in the performance of repetitive or “boring” tasks—often attrib

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Re: Errors in the performance of repetitive or “boring” tasks—often attrib [#permalink]
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jabhatta2 wrote:
avigutman - hmmm still think for a statement like below, we are in quadrant I (in the image above)

Whenever one red bar shows up on the RT PCR Test, the patient is always COVID positive.

I actually think, even with the presence of 'whenever' -- i dont think a statement like the above gets rid of false positives.

It just shows the RT PCR Tests indicate you have COVID (Quadrant I)

jabhatta2 here's an analogy that might help:
Researchers observed that several minutes before a wolf would show up, the boy cried wolf.
The researchers concluded that the monitoring of the boy's cries could provide warning of an impending wolf attack.

A critical person might propose the following challenge to the above conclusion:
But, what if most of the times the boy cries wolf, no wolf shows up? [lots of false positives]

(C) Other research found that whenever the boy cries wolf, it is generally soon before a wolf attack.
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Re: Errors in the performance of repetitive or “boring” tasks—often attrib [#permalink]
jabhatta2 wrote:
There is a difference between the two statements i thought

i) Whenever one red bar shows up on the RT PCR Test, the patient is always COVID positive. -- This DOES NOT GET rid of false positives
ii) Whenever one red bar shows up on the RT PCR Test, the patient is not known to have other ailments other than COVID -- This DOES GET rid of false positives

In scenario # 1 -- perhaps he does have COVID + heart problems at the same time.... And it is the heart problem that is causing the one red bar

In scenario # 2 -- we can be sure that Heart problems is not causing the red bar to show up on the RT PCR Test (because in the 2nd scenario, the patient doesnt have any other ailments other than COVID) - so in this case, only COVID can be the cause of the red bar in the RT PCR test

jabhatta2 scenario # 1 is NOT a false positive. It would only be a false positive if he didn't have COVID.
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Re: Errors in the performance of repetitive or boring tasksoften attrib [#permalink]
GMATNinja

In the argument its not mentioned clearly that region x becomes active few seconds before it is the cognitive region that is stated becomes active few seconds before.

isnt option D a possible answer as well
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Hi avigutman - the criticism for (D) is that (D) is technically NOT telling us any new information. I have to disagree a bit

Actually if you read the argument (the red and the blue)
Quote:
Errors in the performance of repetitive or “boring” tasks—often attributed to a momentary lapse in concentration—can be serious in such activities as flying a passenger aircraft. Is there any method that would provide warning of such lapses—for example by monitoring brain activity? Researchers scanned the brains of volunteers performing a repetitive task. When the tasks were being performed correctly, the volunteers' brains showed activity in cognitive-processing regions. However, these regions became less active several seconds before some errors were made, and another brain region, region X, became active. The researchers concluded that the monitoring of region X could provide warning of an impending error.

D. The diminution of brain activity in cognitive processing regions and the increase of activity in region X began at least 5 seconds before the errors occurred.

Based on the red -- we are sure that cognitive regions become less active before the error is made. But not so sure about Region X.

If you read the blue carefully - it never says region X became active BEFORE THE ERROR. The presence of "and" does nothing to convey that Region X is becoming active BEFORE the erorr.

So, We DONT KNOW if region X also becomes active
• Before the error (and/or)
• At the time of error (and/or)
• Remain active even after the error

Thus, i thought (D) provided NEW INFORMATION because (D) provides us with extreme clarity that Region X is active BEFORE the error
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Re: Errors in the performance of repetitive or boring tasksoften attrib [#permalink]
jabhatta2 wrote:
Hi avigutman - the criticism for (D) is that (D) is technically NOT telling us any new information. I have to disagree a bit

Actually if you read the argument (the red and the blue)
Quote:
Errors in the performance of repetitive or “boring” tasks—often attributed to a momentary lapse in concentration—can be serious in such activities as flying a passenger aircraft. Is there any method that would provide warning of such lapses—for example by monitoring brain activity? Researchers scanned the brains of volunteers performing a repetitive task. When the tasks were being performed correctly, the volunteers' brains showed activity in cognitive-processing regions. However, these regions became less active several seconds before some errors were made, and another brain region, region X, became active. The researchers concluded that the monitoring of region X could provide warning of an impending error.

D. The diminution of brain activity in cognitive processing regions and the increase of activity in region X began at least 5 seconds before the errors occurred.

Based on the red -- we are sure that cognitive regions become less active before the error is made. But not so sure about Region X.

If you read the blue carefully - it never says region X became active BEFORE THE ERROR. The presence of "and" does nothing to convey that Region X is becoming active BEFORE the erorr.

So, We DONT KNOW if region X also becomes active
• Before the error (and/or)
• At the time of error (and/or)
• Remain active even after the error

Thus, i thought (D) provided NEW INFORMATION because (D) provides us with extreme clarity that Region X is active BEFORE the error

jabhatta2
https://gmatclub.com/forum/errors-in-th ... l#p2900260
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Re: Errors in the performance of repetitive or boring tasksoften attrib [#permalink]
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Shivanshnagi1102 wrote:
GMATNinja

In the argument its not mentioned clearly that region x becomes active few seconds before it is the cognitive region that is stated becomes active few seconds before.

isnt option D a possible answer as well

I'm not sure I fully understand your question, but the passage does tell us outright that "several seconds before some errors were made... another brain region, region X, became active".

So, (D) doesn't really add anything to support the argument. The only thing answer choice (D) adds is that these changes occurred "at least five seconds before the error occurred," but this doesn't strengthen the conclusion. We already know that the changes occurred "several seconds" before the error, so the fact that it was 5 seconds or longer doesn't add much.

I hope that helps!
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GMATNinja

"However, these regions became less active several seconds before some errors were made, and another brain region, region X, became active."

I just had a doubt in this sentence. Was not sure if the two activities :
"these regions - cognitive regions becoming inactive" and "new regions - Region X becoming active" happens at the same time - few seconds before error

I thought use of "and" is to give two independent clauses and thus choose D option - giving info that these two activities happens at the same time
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Re: Errors in the performance of repetitive or boring tasksoften attrib [#permalink]
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Shivanshnagi1102 wrote:
GMATNinja

"However, these regions became less active several seconds before some errors were made, and another brain region, region X, became active."

I just had a doubt in this sentence. Was not sure if the two activities :
"these regions - cognitive regions becoming inactive" and "new regions - Region X becoming active" happens at the same time - few seconds before error

I thought use of "and" is to give two independent clauses and thus choose D option - giving info that these two activities happens at the same time

You're asking exactly the right question: did Region X become active "several seconds before" the errors were made, along with the decrease of activity in the cognitive-processing regions? Or is the sentence implying that the activity in Region X didn't happen until later?

In fact, the statement "several seconds before some errors were made" applies to BOTH Region X and the cognitive regions. In other words, the word "and" links two events, both of which happened "several seconds before some errors were made."

To illustrate this point, consider the following example:

"I woke up in the middle of the night and made myself a delicious turkey and mango sandwich."

In this case, making the sandwich isn't directly linked with the words "in the middle of the night," but it's clear from the context that both events happened in the middle of the night. Otherwise, the sentence wouldn't make much sense. The same reasoning can be applied to the passage.

Put another way: the idea that Region X became active at some totally undefined time seems pretty odd, and wouldn't be logical in the context of the passage. Did Region X become active an hour after the errors? Two days after the errors? Probably not. So even if the wording feels slightly ambiguous, only one interpretation is reasonable given the context.

Even if you were still worried that the wording is ambiguous, notice that (C) clearly supports the conclusion no matter how you interpret the timeline for Region X. (Check out our previous analysis of (C) and (D) here.) And since clear support is better than ambiguous support, we can comfortably eliminate (D).

I hope that helps!
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Re: Errors in the performance of repetitive or boring tasksoften attrib [#permalink]
Thank you sir
I would add one more point to waken Choice D:

“D. The diminution of brain activity in cognitive processing regions and the increase of activity in region X began at least 5 seconds before the errors occurred.”

D informs 2 events happen same time, but it does not mean these events are associated. It also does not say X relates to boring tasks.

“ C. Other research found that whenever significant activity occurs in region X, it is generally with repetitive tasks, soon before an error occurs.”

Whereas C informs clearly that significant activity in X often come with boring task and then errors.

GMATNinja wrote:
Paras0111 wrote:
GMATNinja I am unfortunately having difficulty in accepting any of the reasons provided above for why (C) is correct and (D) is incorrect. In any other CR question, we would have eliminated (C) citing we are not concerned with 'other research' and also the soon vs atleast 5 sec debate. (D) clearly states 'atleast 5 secs before' which means it could definitely be more than 5 seconds. (C) mentions soon which could mean anything. Could you please help resolve this?

Just because an answer choice mentions "other research" doesn't mean that the answer choice is wrong. When you see this kind of wording, just analyze the answer choice as you normally would, asking yourself how well it answers the question.

Let's take a look at (C):
Quote:
C. Other research found that whenever significant activity occurs in region X, it is generally with repetitive tasks, soon before an error occurs.

We're trying to support the conclusion that "monitoring region X could provide warning of an impending error." Answer choice (C) tells us that "other research" found significant activity in region X soon before an error occurred. In other words, this "other research" has independently found the same results as the research mentioned in the passage. This strengthens the possibility that the research mentioned in the passage is correct, because "other research" has found the same thing.

In addition, the argument tells us that region X becomes more active before people start making errors. However, it doesn't tell us how active region X is in other circumstances -- maybe region X becomes active in a ton of different scenarios! For instance, maybe region X becomes active when someone eats a banana. If that were the case, then monitoring region X wouldn't be super useful for preventing errors, because it would give false alarms all the time.

(C) closes that gap by telling us that when region X becomes active, it is "generally" right before someone makes an error. Now we can monitor region X without being too worried about banana-related alarms going off.

So (C) directly supports the conclusion, making it the correct answer.

Let's consider (D):
Quote:
D. The diminution of brain activity in cognitive processing regions and the increase of activity in region X began at least 5 seconds before the errors occurred.

The problem with this answer choice is that it doesn't add anything significant.

We already know from the passage that volunteers' brains showed "diminution of brain activity in cognitive processing regions" and an "increase of activity in region X" several seconds before errors were made. The only thing answer choice (D) adds is that these changes occurred "at least five seconds before the error occurred," but this doesn't strengthen the conclusion. We already know that the changes occurred "several seconds" before the error, so the fact that it was 5 seconds or longer doesn't add much.

That's why (D) is out.

I hope that helps!

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GMATNinja wrote:
Paras0111 wrote:
GMATNinja I am unfortunately having difficulty in accepting any of the reasons provided above for why (C) is correct and (D) is incorrect. In any other CR question, we would have eliminated (C) citing we are not concerned with 'other research' and also the soon vs atleast 5 sec debate. (D) clearly states 'atleast 5 secs before' which means it could definitely be more than 5 seconds. (C) mentions soon which could mean anything. Could you please help resolve this?

Just because an answer choice mentions "other research" doesn't mean that the answer choice is wrong. When you see this kind of wording, just analyze the answer choice as you normally would, asking yourself how well it answers the question.

Let's take a look at (C):
Quote:
C. Other research found that whenever significant activity occurs in region X, it is generally with repetitive tasks, soon before an error occurs.

We're trying to support the conclusion that "monitoring region X could provide warning of an impending error." Answer choice (C) tells us that "other research" found significant activity in region X soon before an error occurred. In other words, this "other research" has independently found the same results as the research mentioned in the passage. This strengthens the possibility that the research mentioned in the passage is correct, because "other research" has found the same thing.

In addition, the argument tells us that region X becomes more active before people start making errors. However, it doesn't tell us how active region X is in other circumstances -- maybe region X becomes active in a ton of different scenarios! For instance, maybe region X becomes active when someone eats a banana. If that were the case, then monitoring region X wouldn't be super useful for preventing errors, because it would give false alarms all the time.

(C) closes that gap by telling us that when region X becomes active, it is "generally" right before someone makes an error. Now we can monitor region X without being too worried about banana-related alarms going off.

So (C) directly supports the conclusion, making it the correct answer.

Let's consider (D):
Quote:
D. The diminution of brain activity in cognitive processing regions and the increase of activity in region X began at least 5 seconds before the errors occurred.

The problem with this answer choice is that it doesn't add anything significant.

We already know from the passage that volunteers' brains showed "diminution of brain activity in cognitive processing regions" and an "increase of activity in region X" several seconds before errors were made. The only thing answer choice (D) adds is that these changes occurred "at least five seconds before the error occurred," but this doesn't strengthen the conclusion. We already know that the changes occurred "several seconds" before the error, so the fact that it was 5 seconds or longer doesn't add much.

That's why (D) is out.

I hope that helps!

Hi GMATNinja, I had narrowed down the options to C and D, but rejected C because it said 'significant' activity, whereas the argument doesn't mention that the activity is significant. What if the activity is less, and option C caters only to cases with significant activity? Wouldn't option C, in that case, not really strengthen the argument?
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Re: Errors in the performance of repetitive or boring tasksoften attrib [#permalink]
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anshgupta_2 wrote:
Hi GMATNinja, I had narrowed down the options to C and D, but rejected C because it said 'significant' activity, whereas the argument doesn't mention that the activity is significant. What if the activity is less, and option C caters only to cases with significant activity? Wouldn't option C, in that case, not really strengthen the argument?

If the activity were "not significant", it would of course have to be insignificant. And if the researchers only noted insignificant activity in region X, then they wouldn't say that region X became active.

If that's not clear, imagine you're monitoring noise levels on a street corner. If there's a significant change in noise level, you'll notice the change. If there are only insignificant changes, you probably won't notice any difference.

insignificant changes can be minor fluctuations that happen all the time, and it's impossible to correlate such changes with other phenomenon. (If your friend tells you that she can cause an insignificant change in the weather by doing some pushups, you probably won't be too impressed.)

So even though the word "significant" isn't specifically used in the passage, it's implied by the context. If the researchers notice region X becoming active, there must be some "significant" activity to notice. And since (D) doesn't add any support at all, (C) is definitely our best answer.

I hope that helps!
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Re: Errors in the performance of repetitive or boring tasksoften attrib [#permalink]

GMATIntensive wrote:
The Story

Errors in the performance of repetitive or “boring” tasks—often attributed to a momentary lapse in concentration—can be serious in such activities as flying a passenger aircraft. - Errors while performing repetitive tasks can have serious repercussions. For example, while flying a passenger aircraft. Such errors are often said to have been caused by a lapse in concentration.

Is there any method that would provide warning of such lapses—for example by monitoring brain activity? - The author poses a question asking whether there is a method that can provide warning before such lapses occur – possibly by monitoring brain activity.

Researchers scanned the brains of volunteers performing a repetitive task. - The author gets into talking about research conducted on brains of people performing a repetitive task. (He seems to be answering his own question posed before. He’ll perhaps tell us more about the research next.)

When the tasks were being performed correctly, the volunteers’ brains showed activity in cognitive-processing regions.
- Here is one finding of the research related to when the tasks were being performed correctly. When tasks were going fine, there was activity in cognitive-processing regions (CPRs).

However, these regions became less active several seconds before some errors were made, and another brain region, region X, became active. - ‘However’ tells us that the author will now go in the opposite direction. In this statement, we find out what goes on in the brain seconds before some errors were made. The CPRs become less active, and region X becomes active.

The researchers concluded that the monitoring of region X could provide warning of an impending error. - So the research concludes that one way to provide warning before errors while performing repetitive tasks occur is to monitor brain’s region X.

Gist:
The author sets up the context in the first two statements – why a method that warns us before an error while performing a repetitive task occurs is needed – because such errors can be serious. He wonders if there is any such method. And then talks about a research that gives us a possible method.

Based on the findings (support):
When tasks were performed correctly, the brains showed activity in CPRs.
Several seconds before some errors, CPRs became less active and region X became active.

The researchers conclude that monitoring region X could provide warning of an impending error (researchers’conclusion).

The Gap

Was there some other independent factor (and not the impending errors) that might have led to region X becoming active in the research? If so, the activity in region X would not signify an impending error. Basically, were the activity in region X and the errors coincidental?

There could, of course, be other gaps as well.

The Goal

An answer choice that helps us bridge the gap we’ve talked about would work. There could, as always, be some other gap too that the correct option helps bridge.

The Evaluation

A. The cognitive effort required in performing a repetitive task diminishes significantly with increases in the number of repetitions of the task performance.
Incorrect. First let’s understand what this option says. Cognitive effort required to perform a repetitive task is inversely proportional (at least in one direction) to the number of repetitions of the task. More the repetitions, lower the effort. Even if we assume ‘cognitive effort’ and ‘activity in cognitive-processing regions’ are co-related, all this option hints at is why activity might reduce. No impact on whether monitoring region X could warn about an error.

B. Once a mistake was made and detected, brain activity in regions associated with cognitive effort sometimes increased.
Incorrect. This option talks about what sometimes happens after a mistake has been made and detected. The researchers have drawn a conclusion about what they believe will help prevent errors by raising warnings. Brain activity after a mistake has been detected has no bearing on that.

C. Other research found that whenever significant activity occurs in region X, it is generally with repetitive tasks, soon before an error occurs.
Correct. What did this ‘other’ research find? Typically, significant activity in region X happens only before errors in repetitive tasks. Now that’s interesting. We know from the research in the passage that region X became active before some errors were made. So, often errors are preceded by region X becoming more active. Now we also understand that region X typically becomes active right before errors in repetitive tasks. So, region X activity and errors in repetitive tasks are roughly 1 to 1 mapped. Region X typically does not become active for unrelated reasons. Thus, monitoring region X to raise alarms before errors makes sense.

Let’s say that a research finds that whenever errors in repetitive tasks occured, the volunteers’ eyes were blinking right before. Therefore, monitoring eye movement will help provide warning of impending errors. A counterpoint to this argument would be that eyes blink even when errors do not occur. Thus, monitoring eye movement is not a reliable way to catch impending errors. This option handles such a counterpoint by highlighting that activity in region X typically only happens just before errors in repetitive tasks.

D. The diminution of brain activity in cognitive processing regions and the increase of activity in region X began at least 5 seconds before the errors occurred.
Incorrect. Tricky option. Let’s consider an inverse case. What if the increase of activity in region X began just a split-second before the errors occurred? Does that weaken the conclusion that monitoring region X could provide warnings of impending errors? Not really. Just that perhaps there would not be enough time to act on the warnings to prevent the errors. However, researchers’ conclusion is not that monitoring region X could prevent errors. Their conclusion is that monitoring the region could provide warnings. So the conclusion is not impacted by how much time before the errors the increase of activity began.

E. Reduced activity in brain regions associated with cognitive effort was accompanied by increased activity in regions that become active during sleep.
Incorrect. Reduced activity in certain regions is accompanied by increased activity in certain others.

Lower activity in cognitive effort related regions happens simultaneously with higher activity in regions that become active during sleep.

Even if we take this option to mean that reduced activity in cognitive effort associated regions happens along with higher levels of sleepiness, this option still focusses just on the ‘why’ errors might happen. Whether monitoring region X would help raise warnings is not impacted at all.

If you have any doubts regarding any part of this solution, please feel free to ask.

­HI GMATIntensive

I have a doubt.
The conclusion states - "Monitoring of region X, could provide warning of an impending error."
Even if region X gives false alarams because of being activated at times other than before error in a repetitive task, it still CAN provide warning of the impending error.
Had the conclusion stated that monitoring of region X could reliably provide warning of an impending error, I would have completely agreed with this explanation.
But, because my thought process was in the direction that I highlighted above, I skipped this choice, that even if X gives false alarms, it can still warn of impending error.

Request you to please clarify my doubt.

Thank you.
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