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# In many scientific disciplines, scientists generally do not do highly

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Re: In many scientific disciplines, scientists generally do not do highly [#permalink]
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Hi Prateek1793

Quote:
For Choice A, "Whether among those scientists who do highly creative work beyond age forty a large proportion entered their field at a considerably later age than is common", think what if the number of scientists entering this creative field is not a large proportion. Will the conclusion by the author still hold true? That is, what if we say that only a few scientists entered the creative field at a later stage, then the conclusion, "spending too long in a single field reduces the opportunity for creative thought." breaks down.

I feel like your reasoning is not quite right.
The proportion of scientists who enter the field does not matter. What matters is at what time in their career are they entering the field and are they creative or not.

The fact that a large proportion of scientists who entered their field at a considerably later age means they have comparatively less experience in that field and are creative people.
-So if this fact is true, this strengthens the conclusion that indeed scientists who stayed long in their respective field are less creative.
-But if this fact is not true, then that means scientists who have lesser experience as well have less creativity, then this fact casts a doubt on the conclusion. We will start thinking that there must be some other factor that is causing reduced creativity.

The fact that If only a few scientists entered the creative field at a later stage without the information at what point in their career they entered does not impact the conclusion at all.

Anyway these are my thoughts. We can discuss if I am wrong.
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Re: In many scientific disciplines, scientists generally do not do highly [#permalink]
Bunuel wrote:
In many scientific disciplines, scientists generally do not do highly creative work beyond the age of forty, a tendency that has normally been taken to show that aging carries with it a loss of creative capacity. However, by the age of forty most scientists have been working in their chosen field for at least fifteen years, so an alternative explanation is that spending too long in a single field reduces the opportunity for creative thought.

Investigating which of the following would be most useful in choosing between the competing explanations described above?

A. Whether among those scientists who do highly creative work beyond age forty a large proportion entered their field at a considerably later age than is common

B. Whether scientists' choice of research projects tends to be influenced by their own belief that their most creative work will be done relatively early in their career

C. Whether scientists who are older than forty tend to find more satisfaction in other activities, such as teaching and mentoring, than they do in pursuing their own research

D. Whether funding agencies are more inclined to award research grants to scientists who are veterans in their field than to scientists who are relative newcomers

E. Whether there is significant variation among scientific fields in the average age at which scientists working in those fields are at their most productive

This is a evaluation type question, wherein we need to check the option which if correct, strengthens/weaken the conclusion and if wrong, weakens/strengthens the conclusion.
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Re: In many scientific disciplines, scientists generally do not do highly [#permalink]
the actual statement is somewhat confusing/redundant so at least for me, it was important to boil it down to the two competing explanations that the question is referring to. what are they?

1) aging -> loss of creativity (scientists are not creative beyond 40)
premise: scientists are not creative once they reach 40
conclusion: aging causes loss of creativity
2) too long in one field -> loss of creativity
premise: by age 40, most scientists have been working in their field for a while
conclusion: working too long in one field causes loss of creativity

thus, the two competing factors that lead to loss of creativity are aging and working too long in one field.

we need an answer choice that deals with both of these. not one or the other. both.

a) entering a field at a considerably later age than common implies working for a shorter time in a field relative to other scientists. this statement links age and amount of time spent working in the field with creativity

b) weaker than above. doesn't seem entirely relevant
c) out of scope and only deals with (1)
d) deals with (2) -provides an explanation for why scientists would want to work for longer periods of time in one field, but does not help reconcile (1) and (2). this is also another statement that is plausible in the real world and makes sense, but its irrelevant here and most importantly does not deal with competing explanations
e) doesn't hep us....we can try and use this info. lets say that there is significant variation and some fields lead to more productive work then others. what does that tell us? how does that help us reconcile the "competing explanations"? it does not. this is also another likely-true-in-real-world-but-irrelevant type answer choice.

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Re: In many scientific disciplines, scientists generally do not do highly [#permalink]
Bunuel wrote:
In many scientific disciplines, scientists generally do not do highly creative work beyond the age of forty, a tendency that has normally been taken to show that aging carries with it a loss of creative capacity. However, by the age of forty most scientists have been working in their chosen field for at least fifteen years, so an alternative explanation is that spending too long in a single field reduces the opportunity for creative thought.

Investigating which of the following would be most useful in choosing between the competing explanations described above?

A. Whether among those scientists who do highly creative work beyond age forty a large proportion entered their field at a considerably later age than is common

B. Whether scientists' choice of research projects tends to be influenced by their own belief that their most creative work will be done relatively early in their career

C. Whether scientists who are older than forty tend to find more satisfaction in other activities, such as teaching and mentoring, than they do in pursuing their own research

D. Whether funding agencies are more inclined to award research grants to scientists who are veterans in their field than to scientists who are relative newcomers

E. Whether there is significant variation among scientific fields in the average age at which scientists working in those fields are at their most productive

After reading the question and glancing at the options, options A and C seem plausible. I mention option C because it provides a plausible explanation for the fact that scientists do not do creative work after 40 years of age. But this option provides extra information which is not stated in the question. This extraneous information should normally be disregarded. Hence option A seems to be most plausible.
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Re: In many scientific disciplines, scientists generally do not do highly [#permalink]
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Re: In many scientific disciplines, scientists generally do not do highly [#permalink]
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