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Medical doctor: Sleep deprivation is the cause of many social ills,...

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New post 05 Nov 2014, 11:43
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Medical doctor: Sleep deprivation is the cause of many social ills, ranging from irritability to potentially dangerous instances of impaired decision making. Most people today suffer from sleep deprivation to some degree. Therefore we should restructure the workday to allow people flexibility in scheduling their work hours.

Which one of the following, if true, would most strengthen the medical doctor's argument?

(A) The primary cause of sleep deprivation is overwork.
(B) Employees would get more sleep if they had greater latitude in scheduling their work hours.
(C) Individuals vary widely in the amount of sleep they require.
(D) More people would suffer from sleep deprivation today than did in the past if the average number of hours worked per week had not decreased.
(E) The extent of one's sleep deprivation is proportional to the length of one's workday.
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New post 05 Nov 2014, 11:55
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LaxAvenger wrote:
Medical doctor: Sleep deprivation is the cause of many social ills, ranging from irritability to potentially dangerous instances of impaired decision making. Most people today suffer from sleep deprivation to some degree. Therefore we should restructure the workday to allow people flexibility in scheduling their work hours.

Which one of the following, if true, would most strengthen the medical doctor's argument?

(A) The primary cause of sleep deprivation is overwork.
(B) Employees would get more sleep if they had greater latitude in scheduling their work hours.
(C) Individuals vary widely in the amount of sleep they require.
(D) More people would suffer from sleep deprivation today than did in the past if the average number of hours worked per week had not decreased.
(E) The extent of one's sleep deprivation is proportional to the length of one's workday.


The question asks you to strengthen the conclusion.

First we identify the conclusion. "Therefore" is often a big flag of conclusion statements, and that holds true here also. The conclusion is:
"we should restructure the workday to allow people flexibility in scheduling their work hours."

Now we look to the preceding sentences (premises). The premise is that sleep deprivation is bad and common.

The typical structure of an argument is Premise + Assumption = Conclusion

Since we've identified the premise and the conclusion, one way to strengthen the conclusion is to prove one of the assumptions, so that the link between premise and conclusion is stronger. Another way is to reinforce a premise.

Let's look at the answer choices:

a) This says overwork causes sleep deprivation. However, there is still nothing that says that overwork is the same as having an inflexible schedule for working hours. Therefore I eliminate this.
b) This one is correct. Some non-native English speakers might be thrown off by the use of "latitude" because this employs the secondary definition of the word, "scope for freedom of action or thought." If this statement were true, then the argument makes more sense: sleep deprivation is bad -> flexible scheduling fixes sleep deprivation -> we should have more flexible scheduling.
c) This seems somewhat irrelevant if not contrary to the premise.
d) This also seems irrelevant. It's taking about a hypothetical situation that doesn't matter for this argument.
e) This answer choice MIGHT make sense if the conclusion was something about shortening the work day. But because the conclusion says nothing about fewer hours (instead it says flexible hours), it is irrelevant.

Correct answer: B
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New post 05 Nov 2014, 20:34
B it is for me... Supporter type strengthen answer....
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New post 21 Oct 2015, 12:52
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I think such questions cannot appear on the GMAT. It's too direct that you start doubting your take.
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New post 12 Nov 2018, 06:38
Hi!

I am trying to understand better the weakener on a plan type question.

My question is: would answer A be considered a Weakener of the argument? In GMAT standards could stating a reason like this mean that the proposed flexibility plan would be ineffective? And if so, would it still be a weakener if it just said that it is A cause of sleep deprivation and not THE PRIMARY cause?

Thanks in advance!!
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New post 12 Nov 2018, 09:54
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Yeah, good question lguerreromeseguer. A huge thing to keep in mind is that with Plan/Strategy questions, the stated goal or objective is everything. Here this is an older question (I remember teaching this one back in 2003 when I started) so it works okay as a Strengthen-the-argument question, but if you're looking for good "Weaken the Plan" logic let's try this version:

Sleep deprivation is the cause of many social ills, ranging from irritability to potentially dangerous instances of impaired decision making. Most people today suffer from sleep deprivation to some degree. In order to reduce sleep deprivation for their employees, companies should restructure the workday to allow people flexibility in scheduling their work hours.

Which of the following most suggests that the plan outlined above will not achieve its goals?

(A) The primary cause of sleep deprivation is overwork.
(B) Employees would get more sleep if they had greater latitude in scheduling their work hours.
(C) Individuals vary widely in the amount of sleep they require.
(D) More people would suffer from sleep deprivation today than did in the past if the average number of hours worked per week had not decreased.
(E) The extent of one's sleep deprivation is proportional to the length of one's workday.


***Note - I changed the intro to the last sentence to make it a valid plan/strategy problem, identifying that the goal is to reduce sleep deprivation.***

When you're doing plan/strategy, make sure you understand the parameters of the goal. Here it's just to "reduce" sleep deprivation, not eliminate it altogether. And that's where choice (A) would get interesting. Even if the primary cause of sleep deprivation is overwork, and the plan doesn't address the length of the workday, there could be other causes (like the time of day you wake up, etc.) that the plan would address. So I wouldn't choose (A) in a weaken the plan context...it actually has all the makings of a good trap answer, since it gets you thinking "hey there are bigger causes of this problem we should address" when in reality the goal is just to reduce it, so attacking lesser causes can get you that reduction.

But choice (E) is a pretty good Weakener. If the extent of sleep deprivation is proportional to the length of one's workday, that suggests that length of workday is the only driver (it's probably a stronger answer if it says "directly proportional" so that it's really clear that length of workday is the only factor...the longer your workday the more sleep deprived you are). In that case, addressing anything other than the length of the workday just wouldn't have any effect.

(Caveats here...I'm sure you could make a case that you need something stronger like "directly proportional" and not just "proportional" so don't take this one as an official problem if you find fault in E, but for teaching purposes of "what if this were a Weaken the Plan?" I think the above is worth learning from, at least)
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New post Updated on: 12 Nov 2018, 12:36
VeritasPrepBrian, thank you very very much for your response. It has shed light on a couple of issues that confused me quite a bit. Thank you for the perfect response :)

Originally posted by LGIX on 12 Nov 2018, 10:30.
Last edited by LGIX on 12 Nov 2018, 12:36, edited 1 time in total.
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New post 12 Nov 2018, 10:32
Medical doctor: Sleep deprivation is the cause of many social ills, ranging from irritability to potentially dangerous instances of impaired decision making. Most people today suffer from sleep deprivation to some degree. Therefore we should restructure the workday to allow people flexibility in scheduling their work hours.

Which one of the following, if true, would most strengthen the medical doctor's argument?

(A) The primary cause of sleep deprivation is overwork.
(B) Employees would get more sleep if they had greater latitude in scheduling their work hours.
(C) Individuals vary widely in the amount of sleep they require.
(D) More people would suffer from sleep deprivation today than did in the past if the average number of hours worked per week had not decreased.
(E) The extent of one's sleep deprivation is proportional to the length of one's workday

pretty direct.....option...B..if employees are able to manage their work schedule, then they will do that in a way that they pbly get enough sleep and thus no sleep deprivation
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New post 28 Sep 2019, 11:26
Below is the official explanation:

Strengthen. December 2001 LSAT, Section 2, #7. The correct answer choice is (B).

Following is the structure of the medical doctor's argument:
Premise: Sleep deprivation is the cause of many social ills, ranging from irritability to potentially dangerous instances of impaired decision making.
Premise: Most people today suffer from sleep deprivation to some degree.
Conclusion: Therefore we should restructure the workday to allow people flexibility in scheduling their work hours.

The first premise contains a causal assertion (not a causal conclusion), and the second premise indicates that most people suffer from the stated cause. This combination would lead to the conclusion that most people have a social ill (which could be irritability or impaired decision making, or something in between). However, the conclusion in the argument leaps over this idea to conclude that the workday should be restructured. The missing link-or assumption-in the argument is that restructuring the workday would alleviate the sleep deprivation. As always, whenever you see a gap in the argument, you can strengthen the argument by eliminating that gap. By relating sleep to work, answer choice (B) closes the gap in the argument.

Answer Choice (A): This is a tricky answer, and the key word is "overwork." While the author clearly believes that work schedules affect sleep, this does not mean that employees are being overworked. For example, a person may be sleep deprived because they have to come into work at 8 A.M. Perhaps they have children so they must get up very early to take care of their family. The person might then work a normal eight hour day and be sleep deprived not because of overwork but because of rising early.

Answer Choice (B): This is the correct answer. By indicating that employees would avoid sleep deprivation with a revised workday, this answer affirms that the leap (or gap) made in the argument is not an unreasonable one.

Answer Choice (C): This answer may hurt the argument by suggesting that some individuals cannot be helped by the restructuring of the workday. At best, this answer has not impact on the argument because we already know that most people suffer from sleep deprivation to some degree.

Answer Choice (D): This answer addresses the fact that the hours worked per week has decreased. But the argument is not about the average number of hours worked, but rather the way that those hours affect sleep. Thus, this answer does not help the conclusion that people should be allowed flexibility in scheduling.

Answer Choice (E): The argument does not suggest that the workday will be shortened, only that the day will be structured so that people have more flexibility in scheduling their hours. Thus, knowing that the extent of sleep deprivation is proportional to the length of one's workday does not strengthen the argument.



Please give kudos if this was helpful in any way!
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New post 30 Nov 2019, 20:17
Isn't option B same as that of the conclusion? We need an answer that will support the argument right?
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Re: Medical doctor: Sleep deprivation is the cause of many social ills,...   [#permalink] 30 Nov 2019, 20:17
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