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# In the last decade there has been a significant decrease in

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In the last decade there has been a significant decrease in [#permalink]

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03 Aug 2012, 16:11
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In the last decade there has been a significant
decrease in coffee consumption. During this same
time, there has been increasing publicity about the
adverse long-term effects on health of the caffeine in
coffee. Therefore, the decrease in coffee consumption
must have been caused by consumers' awareness of
the harmful effects of caffeine.

Which of the following, if true, most seriously calls into
question the explanation above?

(A) On average, people consume 30 percent less
coffee today than they did 10 years ago.

(B) Heavy coffee drinkers may have mild withdrawal
symptoms, such as headaches, for a day or so
after significantly decreasing their coffee
consumption.

(C) Sales of specialty types of coffee have held
steady as sales of regular brands have declined.

(D) The consumption of fruit juices and caffeine-free
herbal teas has increased over the past decade.

(E) Coffee prices increased steadily in the past
decade because of unusually severe frosts in
coffee-growing nations.
[Reveal] Spoiler: OA
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Magoosh GMAT Instructor
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Re: In the last decade there has been a significant decrease in [#permalink]

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03 Aug 2012, 17:51
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Expert's post
The argument states that the decrease in coffee consumption can only be explained by the sudden awareness amongst consumers that caffeine has adverse health effects. To weaken this argument we need an answer choice that provides a compelling alternative explanation.

(E) says that coffee prices have increased steadily in the past decade. Such an increase in price could push consumers away and therefore account for the decrease in coffee consumption.
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Re: In the last decade there has been a significant decrease in [#permalink]

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06 Aug 2012, 03:33
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(A) On average, people consume 30 percent less coffee today than they did 10 years ago. - Does not prove why the consumption of coffee has come down - Incorrect

(B) Heavy coffee drinkers may have mild withdrawal symptoms, such as headaches, for a day or so after significantly decreasing their coffee consumption. - Out of scope and Irrelevant information - Incorrect

(C) Sales of specialty types of coffee have held steady as sales of regular brands have declined. - Does not fill the gap between decreased coffee sales and awareness in people about harmful affects of caffine - Incorrect

(D) The consumption of fruit juices and caffeine-free herbal teas has increased over the past decade. - No direct relation can be assumed between increase in consumption of fruit jucies and decrease in consumption of coffee - Incorrect

(E) Coffee prices increased steadily in the past decade because of unusually severe frosts in coffee-growing nations. - Due to increase in coffee prices because of low produce, the consumption has also come down - Correct
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Re: In the last decade there has been a significant decrease in [#permalink]

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20 Aug 2012, 03:04
got it down to C and E,

Negated C , my reason was that it does try to make you infer that may this is something to do with regular coffee , but does not directly point to causality.
E does that ...
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Re: In the last decade there has been a significant decrease in [#permalink]

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23 Aug 2012, 10:28
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Clear E , in weaking questions finding an alternative to the conclusion often helps
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In the last decade there has been a significant decrease in [#permalink]

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07 Jan 2014, 18:10
ChrisLele wrote:
The argument states that the decrease in coffee consumption can only be explained by the sudden awareness amongst consumers that caffeine has adverse health effects. To weaken this argument we need an answer choice that provides a compelling alternative explanation.

(E) says that coffee prices have increased steadily in the past decade. Such an increase in price could push consumers away and therefore account for the decrease in coffee consumption.
@Chris, From stimulus, I assessed the conclusion as Cause --> Effect chain as: Awareness --->Decrease in Coffee Consumption.
For D, Cant we say that Alternate Cause "Increase in fruit juice Consumption" could have alternatively caused --->Decrease in Coffee Consumption?

Isn't an increase in coffee price is as good alternate explanation for switchover as the increase in alternate option of having fruit juices (which are healthier as well)?
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Re: In the last decade there has been a significant decrease in [#permalink]

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24 Sep 2014, 04:04
Coffee prices increased steadily in the past decade because of unusually severe frosts in coffee-growing nations. - Due to increase in coffee prices because of low produce, the consumption has also come down
Hence E. This Weakens the argument
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Re: In the last decade there has been a significant decrease in [#permalink]

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07 Nov 2014, 08:54
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joshnsit wrote:
ChrisLele wrote:
The argument states that the decrease in coffee consumption can only be explained by the sudden awareness amongst consumers that caffeine has adverse health effects. To weaken this argument we need an answer choice that provides a compelling alternative explanation.

(E) says that coffee prices have increased steadily in the past decade. Such an increase in price could push consumers away and therefore account for the decrease in coffee consumption.
Chris, From stimulus, I assessed the conclusion as Cause --> Effect chain as: Awareness --->Decrease in Coffee Consumption.
For D, Cant we say that Alternate Cause "Increase in fruit juice Consumption" could have alternatively caused --->Decrease in Coffee Consumption?

Isn't an increase in coffee price is as good alternate explanation for switchover as the increase in alternate option of having fruit juices (which are healthier as well)?

Hi Josh,
I too struggled with the same question as you.

But I resolved it with this logic:
The goal of the argument is to identify if the decrease in coffee consumption (Effect) is a result of increasing publicity about the harmful effects of Caffeine. (Cause)
The correct answer should provide a different cause for the same effect.

Consider Answer D: An increase in consumption of non-caffeinated products like fruit juices and herbal tea, points to the fact that the increasing publicity about the harmful effects of Caffeine had an effect on the consumption of non-caffeinated products. That is our cause had an unintended effect. Thus answer D is an effect and not a cause. We are looking for a cause.

Moving down to answer E. It provides a separate plausible cause for our effect. Hence is the correct answer.

Finally, you could argue that increase in non-caffeinated drinks is the cause of decrease in consumption of caffeinated drinks. However, this would be true only in a zero sum world where the sum of caffeinated and non-caffeinated drinks has to remain constant. So increase in one would lead to a decrease in another. But such a world does not exist in reality and specifically is not mentioned in the stimulus. So, one cannot consider that as a cause.

Hope the above explanation helps someone.
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Re: In the last decade there has been a significant decrease in [#permalink]

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02 Nov 2015, 19:57
can be easily narrowed down to C and E. Between C and E, only E directly addresses the conclusion by stating that there has been other cause that led to decreased consumption.
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Re: In the last decade there has been a significant decrease in [#permalink]

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27 Jun 2016, 14:10
chetan2u,
What is problem in C and D?
Thank you...
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In the last decade there has been a significant decrease in [#permalink]

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10 Jul 2016, 12:13
If one has studied syllogistic logic and fallacies in general , it is very easy to see the flaw in this argument.
This argument commits the fallacy of CAUSAL OVERSIMPLIFICATION which is a logical fallacy , belonging in the family of FALLACIES OF PRESUMPTION.

See this argument for example:-
It is because of the skilled doctors that today's generation has a higher average life period than generation of last century.

Well, skilled doctors may be one of the reasons for higher life span, but better and safer transport, less accidents, availability of better medicines, Less wars and endemic diseases (such a plague which killed 20% of entire europes population in 19th century) may be other factors. Attributing higher life to skilled doctors is not entirely right.
NOW APPLY THE SAME LOGIC HERE :-

Does the coffee consumption decreased because of studies showing its harmful effect :- HELL NO !! well may be a little. But may be coffee consumption decreased because it has become so expensive that people do not buy it as frequently as they used to earlier.

(E) Coffee prices increased steadily in the past decade because of unusually severe frosts in coffee-growing nations

betterscore wrote:
In the last decade there has been a significant
decrease in coffee consumption. During this same
time, there has been increasing publicity about the
adverse long-term effects on health of the caffeine in
coffee. Therefore, the decrease in coffee consumption
must have been caused by consumers' awareness of
the harmful effects of caffeine.

Which of the following, if true, most seriously calls into
question the explanation above?

(A) On average, people consume 30 percent less
coffee today than they did 10 years ago.

(B) Heavy coffee drinkers may have mild withdrawal
symptoms, such as headaches, for a day or so
after significantly decreasing their coffee
consumption.

(C) Sales of specialty types of coffee have held
steady as sales of regular brands have declined.

(D) The consumption of fruit juices and caffeine-free
herbal teas has increased over the past decade.

(E) Coffee prices increased steadily in the past
decade because of unusually severe frosts in
coffee-growing nations.

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In the last decade there has been a significant decrease in   [#permalink] 10 Jul 2016, 12:13
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