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AbdurRakib wrote:
The Official Guide for GMAT Verbal Review 2018
Practice Question
Critical Reasoning
Question no. 182

Psychologist: In a study, researchers gave 100 volunteers a psychological questionnaire designed to measure their self-esteem. The researchers then asked each volunteer to rate the strength of his or her own social skills. The volunteers with the highest levels of self-esteem consistently rated themselves as having much better social skills than did the volunteers with moderate levels. This suggests that attaining an exceptionally high level of self-esteem greatly improves one’s social skills.

The psychologist’s argument is most vulnerable to criticism on which of the following grounds?

(A) It fails to adequately address the possibility that many of the volunteers may not have understood what the psychological questionnaire was designed to measure.

(B) It takes for granted that the volunteers with the highest levels of self-esteem had better social skills than did the other volunteers, even before the former volunteers had attained their high levels of self-esteem.

(C) It overlooks the possibility that people with very high levels of self-esteem may tend to have a less accurate perception of the strength of their own social skills than do people with moderate levels of self-esteem.

(D) It relies on evidence from a group of volunteers that is too small to provide any support for any inferences regarding people in general.

(E) It overlooks the possibility that factors other than level of self-esteem may be of much greater importance in determining the strength of one’s social skills.



Researchers measured self-esteem using questionnaire
They then asked each volunteer to rate the strength of his or her own social skills
Volunteers with the highest levels of self-esteem consistently rated themselves as having much better social skills

Conclusion: Attaining an exceptionally high level of self-esteem greatly improves one’s social skills.

Some pre-thinking: We are concluding that self esteem improves social skills. But note that the strength of social skills is judged by the volunteers themselves, not the researchers. We don't know whether people with high self esteem actually do have better social skills. We also don't know whether self esteem improves social skills or social skills improve self esteem.

(A) It fails to adequately address the possibility that many of the volunteers may not have understood what the psychological questionnaire was designed to measure.

Irrelevant. In fact, we would much rather they do not know what we are testing so that they cannot "game" the result.

(B) It takes for granted that the volunteers with the highest levels of self-esteem had better social skills than did the other volunteers, even before the former volunteers had attained their high levels of self-esteem.

It does not assume that people with high levels of self esteem had better social skill before they got high levels of self esteem. In fact, our argument is saying that attaining high levels of self esteem makes them have better social skills.

(C) It overlooks the possibility that people with very high levels of self-esteem may tend to have a less accurate perception of the strength of their own social skills than do people with moderate levels of self-esteem.

Correct. As discussed in our pre thinking, people with high self esteem rate themselves on their social skills. Due to high self esteem, they may be rating themselves better than their actual social skills. So self esteem may not have developed their social skills, it may have just developed their perception of their social skills.

(D) It relies on evidence from a group of volunteers that is too small to provide any support for any inferences regarding people in general.

We don't know the appropriate size of volunteer group.

(E) It overlooks the possibility that factors other than level of self-esteem may be of much greater importance in determining the strength of one’s social skills.

It does not overlook that other causes could be present.
The argument says: This suggests that attaining an exceptionally high level of self-esteem greatly improves one’s social skills.
We don't know what else could greatly improve one's social skills. It just says that self esteem is a contributing factor. It does not say that it is the only contributing factor.

Answer (C)
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Re: Psychologist: In a study, researchers gave 100 volunteers a psychologi [#permalink]
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Passage analysis


Psychologist: In a study, researchers gave 100 volunteers a psychological questionnaire designed to measure their self-esteem.

According to a psychologist:
A study was conducted on 100 volunteers.
Each was given a list of psychological questions.
The aim of the questionnaire was to measure the self-esteem of the volunteers.


The researchers then asked each volunteer to rate the strength of his or her own social skills.

After that, each volunteer was asked to rate himself on his/her own social skills.

The volunteers with the highest levels of self-esteem consistently rated themselves as having much better social skills than did the volunteers with moderate
levels.

The volunteers who had scored high on self-esteem invariably rated themselves as having much better social skills.
The volunteers who had scored low on self-esteem were not as consistent in rating themselves as having good social skills.
We can infer that volunteers with low self-esteem likely were not very sure of their social skills.

This suggests that attaining an exceptionally high level of self-esteem greatly improves one’s social skills.

It can be therefore concluded that:
Obtaining extraordinarily high level of self-esteem causes great improvement in one’s social skills.

Conclusion

An extraordinarily high level of self-esteem greatly enhances one’s social skills.


Prethinking


Weaken Framework


Now per our understanding of the passage, let’s first write down the weaken framework:

What new information will make us believe less in the causality

Cause: an exceptionally high level of self-esteem
Effect: great improvement in social skills.




Given that

A study was conducted on 100 volunteers
They were given a list of psychological questions to answer
The aim of the questionnaire was to calculate the self-esteem of the volunteers.
The volunteers were then asked to identify/rate the strength of his/her own social skills.
The volunteers with the highest levels of self-esteem always rated themselves as being better socially skilled than the volunteers with moderate levels of self-esteem did.


Thought process




The Causality is established based on the outcomes of the experiment.



The aim of the experiment----to assess one’s self-esteem.



What was the outcome?




People whose self-esteem scores/ levels were high had consistently rated themselves as having much better social skills
People whose self-esteem scores/ levels were lower had not as consistently rated themselves as having better social skills.


The self-esteem was measured by the questionnaire. So, self-esteem levels have been measured by an outside and impartial medium (the questionnaire).



But the ratings on social skills were done by different individuals (their chances of being impartial would be significantly lower).



What if people who had high self-esteem thought themselves to be superior and therefore rated themselves as having better social skills, even though they might not be actually having better social skills?

It is possible that people with lower self-esteems, though possessing much better social skills, were too modest to rate themselves as good as they really were.



Weakener


So, if an option suggests that people with high self-esteem often have inflated ideas about their social skills, it will weaken the causality.

Which option do you think is in line with this pre-thinking?
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this is interesting
the key to succeed on CR (for evaluate, weaken, strengthen, flaw, assumption question) is ability to criticize the argument before going to answer choices. this is call prethinking on e gmat course.

after practicing a few problems, we realize some flaw and begin know how to criticize.
I think there are two way to criticize:
1. is logic of argument is good
2. is the presenting of evidence is good

this is causal argument and we normally criticize by thinking that there is another cause or causal relation is reversed.

but we can thinking of presenting of evidence . is it good?

choice C match this prethinking. the presenting of evidence is not good. C is correct

with the mind of criticization and with two way of looking at argument, looking at logic and at presenting of evidence , we are armed and powered before going to answer choices.
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Re: Psychologist: In a study, researchers gave 100 volunteers a psychologi [#permalink]
I am inclined towards 'B' and need suggestion to clear my doubt, according to me 'B' can be seen as reversal of cause and effect ie, high esteem is the result of social skills as people with the highest level of self esteem had better social skills even before attaining high levels of self esteem
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kunalkhanna wrote:
I am inclined towards 'B' and need suggestion to clear my doubt, according to me 'B' can be seen as reversal of cause and effect ie, high esteem is the result of social skills as people with the highest level of self esteem had better social skills even before attaining high levels of self esteem

kunalkhanna and tejyr, the psychologist suggests that attaining an exceptionally high level of self-esteem greatly improves one’s social skills. In other words, a high level of self-esteem causes improved social skills.

Choice (B), on the other hand, implies that the volunteers with the highest levels of self-esteem already had better social skills, even before they had attained their high levels of self-esteem ("the former volunteers" simply refers to "the volunteers with the highest levels of self-esteem").

But this is not consistent with the argument. If they already had better social skills, that would weaken the idea that a high level of self-esteem causes improved social skills (since the social skills were already good). So (B) should be eliminated.

Check out this post for a more complete explanation.

I hope that helps!
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Re: Psychologist: In a study, researchers gave 100 volunteers a psychologi [#permalink]
GMATNinja wrote:
Thanks for all of the great replies! It looks like there is still some confusion surrounding this question, so let's try to break it down...

The conclusion is that "attaining an exceptionally high level of self-esteem greatly improves one’s social skills." In other words, attaining an exceptionally high level of self-esteem will CAUSE a great improvement in one's social skills. How does the author arrive at that conclusion?

  • 100 volunteers take a psychological questionnaire to measure their self-esteem.
  • Each volunteer is also asked to rate his or her own social skills. Note that their self-esteem was MEASURED by the questionnaire while their social skills were rated by the volunteers themselves.
  • Based on the results of the questionnaire, the psychologists could break up the 100 volunteers into groups, including those with the highest levels of self-esteem and those with moderate levels of self esteem.
  • Now the psychologists could compare the SELF-RATED social skills of those two groups: "the volunteers with the highest levels of self-esteem consistently rated themselves as having much better social skills than did the volunteers with moderate levels."

Based on that evidence, the author concludes that attaining an exceptionally high level of self-esteem would greatly improve one's social skills. Why is this argument vulnerable to criticism?

Quote:
A. It fails to adequately address the possibility that many of the volunteers may not have understood what the psychological questionnaire was designed to measure.

All that matters is that the test did in fact measure self-esteem, regardless of whether the volunteers understood what the questionnaire was designed to measure. Choice (A) can be eliminated.

Quote:
B. It takes for granted that the volunteers with the highest levels of self-esteem had better social skills than did the other volunteers, even before the former volunteers had attained their high levels of self-esteem.

The author's line of reasoning does not involve taking this assumption for granted. If anything, the author assumes something closer to the opposite (that those with high self esteem had worse social skills before attaining their high levels of self esteem. Since (B) is inaccurate, it cannot be grounds for criticizing the author's argument and can be eliminated.

Quote:
C. It overlooks the possibility that people with very high levels of self-esteem may tend to have a less accurate perception of the strength of their own social skills than do people with moderate levels of self-esteem.

What if volunteers with very high levels of self-esteem do tend to have a less accurate perception of the strength of their own social skills? In that case, the ratings those volunteers gave to describe their own social skills would be inaccurate, and we couldn't be sure which of the two groups (those with high levels of self-esteem and those with moderate levels of self-esteem) actually had better social skills. In other words, the ratings of the volunteers' social skills would not be reliable, so the ratings could not be used as valid evidence to support the author's conclusion. (C) looks pretty good.

Quote:
D. It relies on evidence from a group of volunteers that is too small to provide any support for any inferences regarding people in general.

Pay attention to the word choice in the last sentence: "This suggests that attaining an exceptionally high level of self-esteem greatly improves one’s social skills." The author does not say the evidence proves or confirms this conclusion. Thus, the author implicitly acknowledges that it is only a small sample. Regardless, evidence from a small sample can certainly suggest whether a certain theory is true. In other words, the evidence from the group of 100 volunteers certainly supports the author's conclusion, so (D) is not a valid criticism.

Quote:
E. It overlooks the possibility that factors other than level of self-esteem may be of much greater importance in determining the strength of one’s social skills.

The author does not argue that self-esteem is the only factor or even the most important factor affecting the strength of one's social skills. The author simply argues that "attaining an exceptionally high level of self-esteem greatly improves one’s social skills." This argument could still hold even if there were several other factors that had a greater impact on the strength of one's self-esteem. (E) can be eliminated.

Hopefully that adds some clarity!



Dear GMATNinja,

I have a doubt on C. Even if the researchers overlooked the possibility that people with high self-esteem sometimes are not aware of their own social skills, wouldn't they see that from the results of the two questonnaires, since first one is created by the researches and thus its result is considered reliable? I mean wouldn't they see that those with high self-esteem rating sometimes didn't rated themselves as having strong social skills? Isn't there a possibility that researches DID actually observed such a rare occasions in high self-esteem owners (according to researchers' first questionnaire), but as this occasions was rare they still concluded that having high self esteem greatly improves social skills?

I hope I could communicate my reasoning clearly :roll:
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Mehemmed wrote:
GMATNinja wrote:
Thanks for all of the great replies! It looks like there is still some confusion surrounding this question, so let's try to break it down...

The conclusion is that "attaining an exceptionally high level of self-esteem greatly improves one’s social skills." In other words, attaining an exceptionally high level of self-esteem will CAUSE a great improvement in one's social skills. How does the author arrive at that conclusion?

  • 100 volunteers take a psychological questionnaire to measure their self-esteem.
  • Each volunteer is also asked to rate his or her own social skills. Note that their self-esteem was MEASURED by the questionnaire while their social skills were rated by the volunteers themselves.
  • Based on the results of the questionnaire, the psychologists could break up the 100 volunteers into groups, including those with the highest levels of self-esteem and those with moderate levels of self esteem.
  • Now the psychologists could compare the SELF-RATED social skills of those two groups: "the volunteers with the highest levels of self-esteem consistently rated themselves as having much better social skills than did the volunteers with moderate levels."

Based on that evidence, the author concludes that attaining an exceptionally high level of self-esteem would greatly improve one's social skills. Why is this argument vulnerable to criticism?

Quote:
A. It fails to adequately address the possibility that many of the volunteers may not have understood what the psychological questionnaire was designed to measure.

All that matters is that the test did in fact measure self-esteem, regardless of whether the volunteers understood what the questionnaire was designed to measure. Choice (A) can be eliminated.

Quote:
B. It takes for granted that the volunteers with the highest levels of self-esteem had better social skills than did the other volunteers, even before the former volunteers had attained their high levels of self-esteem.

The author's line of reasoning does not involve taking this assumption for granted. If anything, the author assumes something closer to the opposite (that those with high self esteem had worse social skills before attaining their high levels of self esteem. Since (B) is inaccurate, it cannot be grounds for criticizing the author's argument and can be eliminated.

Quote:
C. It overlooks the possibility that people with very high levels of self-esteem may tend to have a less accurate perception of the strength of their own social skills than do people with moderate levels of self-esteem.

What if volunteers with very high levels of self-esteem do tend to have a less accurate perception of the strength of their own social skills? In that case, the ratings those volunteers gave to describe their own social skills would be inaccurate, and we couldn't be sure which of the two groups (those with high levels of self-esteem and those with moderate levels of self-esteem) actually had better social skills. In other words, the ratings of the volunteers' social skills would not be reliable, so the ratings could not be used as valid evidence to support the author's conclusion. (C) looks pretty good.

Quote:
D. It relies on evidence from a group of volunteers that is too small to provide any support for any inferences regarding people in general.

Pay attention to the word choice in the last sentence: "This suggests that attaining an exceptionally high level of self-esteem greatly improves one’s social skills." The author does not say the evidence proves or confirms this conclusion. Thus, the author implicitly acknowledges that it is only a small sample. Regardless, evidence from a small sample can certainly suggest whether a certain theory is true. In other words, the evidence from the group of 100 volunteers certainly supports the author's conclusion, so (D) is not a valid criticism.

Quote:
E. It overlooks the possibility that factors other than level of self-esteem may be of much greater importance in determining the strength of one’s social skills.

The author does not argue that self-esteem is the only factor or even the most important factor affecting the strength of one's social skills. The author simply argues that "attaining an exceptionally high level of self-esteem greatly improves one’s social skills." This argument could still hold even if there were several other factors that had a greater impact on the strength of one's self-esteem. (E) can be eliminated.

Hopefully that adds some clarity!



Dear GMATNinja,

I have a doubt on C. Even if the researchers overlooked the possibility that people with high self-esteem sometimes are not aware of their own social skills, wouldn't they see that from the results of the two questonnaires, since first one is created by the researches and thus its result is considered reliable? I mean wouldn't they see that those with high self-esteem rating sometimes didn't rated themselves as having strong social skills? Isn't there a possibility that researches DID actually observed such a rare occasions in high self-esteem owners (according to researchers' first questionnaire), but as this occasions was rare they still concluded that having high self esteem greatly improves social skills?

I hope I could communicate my reasoning clearly :roll:

We are looking for something that explains why the psychologist’s argument is most vulnerable to criticism. This is not the same as looking for something that completely disproves the psychologist's argument. Sure, the psychologist's conclusion might still be correct. But how does the psychologist arrive at that conclusion?

The argument is based on the evidence that "the volunteers with the highest levels of self-esteem consistently rated themselves as having much better social skills than did the volunteers with moderate levels." Sure, it is POSSIBLE that, based on the data, researchers realized that people with very high levels of self-esteem may tend to have a less accurate perception of the strength of their own social skills.

But regardless of whether they noticed this trend, this fact would hurt the evidence. Does that mean that the conclusion is wrong? Maybe, maybe not... perhaps the researchers were still able to use the data to determine that there is a relationship between self-esteem and social skills.

Either way, (C) describes why the specific evidence used in the argument is not reliable. Additional information/evidence could perhaps strengthen the conclusion, but (C) explains why the psychologist's logic is vulnerable to criticism.
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Re: Psychologist: In a study, researchers gave 100 volunteers a psychologi [#permalink]
GMATNinja wrote:
kunalkhanna wrote:
I am inclined towards 'B' and need suggestion to clear my doubt, according to me 'B' can be seen as reversal of cause and effect ie, high esteem is the result of social skills as people with the highest level of self esteem had better social skills even before attaining high levels of self esteem

kunalkhanna and tejyr, the psychologist suggests that attaining an exceptionally high level of self-esteem greatly improves one’s social skills. In other words, a high level of self-esteem causes improved social skills.

Choice (B), on the other hand, implies that the volunteers with the highest levels of self-esteem already had better social skills, even before they had attained their high levels of self-esteem ("the former volunteers" simply refers to "the volunteers with the highest levels of self-esteem").

But this is not consistent with the argument. If they already had better social skills, that would weaken the idea that a high level of self-esteem causes improved social skills (since the social skills were already good). So (B) should be eliminated.

Check out this post for a more complete explanation.

I hope that helps!



hi there GMATNinja :)

"vulnurebale to critisism" doesnt it mean "to weaken " ? i understood the question that we needed to weaken and chose B :) can you bring some clarity between

"vulnurebale to critisism" VS "to weaken "

thank you :-)
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Official Answer:

Argument Evaluation

Situation In a psychological study of 100 volunteers, those found to have the highest self-esteem consistently rated themselves as having much better social skills than did those found to have moderate self-esteem.

Reasoning What is wrong with the psychologist citing the study’s results to justify the conclusion that exceptionally high self-esteem greatly improves social skills? The psychologist reasons that the study shows a correlation between very high self-esteem and how highly one rates one’s social skills, and that this correlation in turn suggests that very high self-esteem improves social skills. This argument is vulnerable to at least two criticisms: First, the argument assumes that the volunteers’ ratings of their own social skills are generally accurate. But very high self-esteem might in many cases result from a tendency to overestimate oneself and one’s skills, including one’s social skills. Second, the argument fails to address the possibility that good social skills promote high self-esteem rather than vice versa, as well as the possibility that some third factor (such as a sunny disposition or fortunate circumstances) promotes both high self-esteem and good social skills.

Quote:
A. It fails to adequately address the possibility that many of the volunteers may not have understood what the psychological questionnaire was designed to measure.

A - An experiment’s subjects do not have to understand the experiment’s design in order for the experimental results to be accurate.

Quote:
B. It takes for granted that the volunteers with the highest levels of self-esteem had better social skills than did the other volunteers, even before the former volunteers had attained their high levels of self-esteem.

B - To the contrary, the argument concludes that the volunteers with the highest self-esteem attained their enhanced social skills as a result of attaining such high self-esteem.

Quote:
C. It overlooks the possibility that people with very high levels of self-esteem may tend to have a less accurate perception of the strength of their own social skills than do people with moderate levels of self-esteem.

C - Correct. - As explained above, very high self-esteem may often result from a tendency to overestimate oneself in general, and thus to overestimate one’s social skills.

Quote:
D. It relies on evidence from a group of volunteers that is too small to provide any support for any inferences regarding people in general.

D - A group of 100 volunteers is large enough for an experiment to provide at least a little support for at least some inferences regarding people in general.

Quote:
E. It overlooks the possibility that factors other than level of self-esteem may be of much greater importance in determining the strength of one’s social skills.

E - As explained above, the argument overlooks the possibility that some third factor may play a significant role in determining the strength of one’s social skills. But even if some factor other than self-esteem is more important in determining the strength of social skills, that would still be compatible with very high self-esteem being of some importance in improving one’s social skills.

The correct answer is C.
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Here is a simple explanation to all the folks confused with Option B -

GMATNinja as usual has given us an awesome explanation. I would like to add a few points to it!

Quote:
Psychologist: In a study, researchers gave 100 volunteers a psychological questionnaire designed to measure their self-esteem. The researchers then asked each volunteer to rate the strength of his or her own social skills. The volunteers with the highest levels of self-esteem consistently rated themselves as having much better social skills than did the volunteers with moderate levels. This suggests that attaining an exceptionally high level of self-esteem greatly improves one’s social skills.



Read the conclusion slowly " This suggests that attaining an exceptionally high level of self-esteem greatly improves one’s social skills. "
The psychologists say that high self esteem improves the social skills.


Quote:
B. It takes for granted that the volunteers with the highest levels of self-esteem had better social skills than did the other volunteers, even before the former volunteers had attained their high levels of self-esteem.


Now read option B slowly. In simple words it says "People with high self esteem already had better social skills (than other volunteers with low self esteem) even before they attained their highest level of self esteem."
Even if this were true it does not really make the argument vulnerable to criticism. Why?
Because even if they had better social skills earlier, there is still scope for improvement in their social skills which may be caused due to high levels of self esteem.
Even if volunteers with high self esteem had better social skills (than other volunteers with low self esteem) before they reached high levels of self esteem, it does not really make the argument vulnerable. Because it might be that these volunteers made their social skills even better than before. Which means they improved their social skills. Just what the conclusion says.

GMATNinja please let me know if my approach is 'vulnerable to criticism'.
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blitzkriegxX wrote:
Here is a simple explanation to all the folks confused with Option B -

GMATNinja as usual has given us an awesome explanation. I would like to add a few points to it!

Quote:
Psychologist: In a study, researchers gave 100 volunteers a psychological questionnaire designed to measure their self-esteem. The researchers then asked each volunteer to rate the strength of his or her own social skills. The volunteers with the highest levels of self-esteem consistently rated themselves as having much better social skills than did the volunteers with moderate levels. This suggests that attaining an exceptionally high level of self-esteem greatly improves one’s social skills.



Read the conclusion slowly " This suggests that attaining an exceptionally high level of self-esteem greatly improves one’s social skills. "
The psychologists say that high self esteem improves the social skills.


Quote:
B. It takes for granted that the volunteers with the highest levels of self-esteem had better social skills than did the other volunteers, even before the former volunteers had attained their high levels of self-esteem.


Now read option B slowly. In simple words it says "People with high self esteem already had better social skills (than other volunteers with low self esteem) even before they attained their highest level of self esteem."
Even if this were true it does not really make the argument vulnerable to criticism. Why?
Because even if they had better social skills earlier, there is still scope for improvement in their social skills which may be caused due to high levels of self esteem.
Even if volunteers with high self esteem had better social skills (than other volunteers with low self esteem) before they reached high levels of self esteem, it does not really make the argument vulnerable. Because it might be that these volunteers made their social skills even better than before. Which means they improved their social skills. Just what the conclusion says.

GMATNinja please let me know if my approach is 'vulnerable to criticism'.

Sadly, I'm not sure that I follow your reasoning here. The psychologist suggests that higher self-esteem leads to improved social skills. Choice (B) says that social skills can be improved even in the absence of high self-esteem. That is, in fact, not just what the conclusion says.

So the more straightforward way to eliminate (B) is to recognize that this choice contradicts the entire premise of the study. The statement made in choice (B) is simply not part of the psychologist's argument. And if it's not part of the psychologists' argument, then it's not a vulnerability of the argument that we can criticize.

I hope this clarification helps!
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Re: Psychologist: In a study, researchers gave 100 volunteers a psychologi [#permalink]
GMATNinja wrote:
blitzkriegxX wrote:
Here is a simple explanation to all the folks confused with Option B -

GMATNinja as usual has given us an awesome explanation. I would like to add a few points to it!

Quote:
Psychologist: In a study, researchers gave 100 volunteers a psychological questionnaire designed to measure their self-esteem. The researchers then asked each volunteer to rate the strength of his or her own social skills. The volunteers with the highest levels of self-esteem consistently rated themselves as having much better social skills than did the volunteers with moderate levels. This suggests that attaining an exceptionally high level of self-esteem greatly improves one’s social skills.



Read the conclusion slowly " This suggests that attaining an exceptionally high level of self-esteem greatly improves one’s social skills. "
The psychologists say that high self esteem improves the social skills.


Quote:
B. It takes for granted that the volunteers with the highest levels of self-esteem had better social skills than did the other volunteers, even before the former volunteers had attained their high levels of self-esteem.


Now read option B slowly. In simple words it says "People with high self esteem already had better social skills (than other volunteers with low self esteem) even before they attained their highest level of self esteem."
Even if this were true it does not really make the argument vulnerable to criticism. Why?
Because even if they had better social skills earlier, there is still scope for improvement in their social skills which may be caused due to high levels of self esteem.
Even if volunteers with high self esteem had better social skills (than other volunteers with low self esteem) before they reached high levels of self esteem, it does not really make the argument vulnerable. Because it might be that these volunteers made their social skills even better than before. Which means they improved their social skills. Just what the conclusion says.

GMATNinja please let me know if my approach is 'vulnerable to criticism'.

Sadly, I'm not sure that I follow your reasoning here. The psychologist suggests that higher self-esteem leads to improved social skills. Choice (B) says that social skills can be improved even in the absence of high self-esteem. That is, in fact, not just what the conclusion says.

So the more straightforward way to eliminate (B) is to recognize that this choice contradicts the entire premise of the study. The statement made in choice (B) is simply not part of the psychologist's argument. And if it's not part of the psychologists' argument, then it's not a vulnerability of the argument that we can criticize.

I hope this clarification helps!


Hi GMATNinja
Thanks for your response! :)

However, I do not understand how you concluded that "option B
says that social skills can be *improved* even in the absence of high self-esteem."

I feel option B only states that - volunteers with high level self esteem already had high social skills before achieving that high self esteem level.

And my analysis is this - so what if they already had high social skills even before reaching high self esteem level?
This still doesn't effect the conclusion. Maybe after these volunteers reached high self esteem level, they further improved on the already high social skill level.

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blitzkriegxX wrote:
gmatninja wrote:
Sadly, I'm not sure that I follow your reasoning here. The psychologist suggests that higher self-esteem leads to improved social skills. Choice (B) says that social skills can be improved even in the absence of high self-esteem. That is, in fact, not just what the conclusion says.

So the more straightforward way to eliminate (B) is to recognize that this choice contradicts the entire premise of the study. The statement made in choice (B) is simply not part of the psychologist's argument. And if it's not part of the psychologists' argument, then it's not a vulnerability of the argument that we can criticize.

I hope this clarification helps!


HiGMATNinja
Thanks for your response! :)

However, I do not understand how you concluded that "option B says that social skills can be *improved* even in the absence of high self-esteem."

I feel option B only states that - volunteers with high level self esteem already had high social skills before achieving that high self esteem level.

Hm, "improved" wasn't the best word choice on my part, because choice (B) implies that that social skills can be attained even in the absence of high self-esteem.

In other words, if group 1 (the volunteers with the highest levels of self-esteem) had better social skills even before they had high self-esteem, then they must have attained those social skills in the absence of high self-esteem. The key takeaway is that according to (B), high self-esteem was not required to attain better social skills.

I hope this eliminates any confusion I've caused!
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Re: Psychologist: In a study, researchers gave 100 volunteers a psychologi [#permalink]
GMATNinja wrote:

Quote:
B. It takes for granted that the volunteers with the highest levels of self-esteem had better social skills than did the other volunteers, even before the former volunteers had attained their high levels of self-esteem.

The author's line of reasoning does not involve taking this assumption for granted. If anything, the author assumes something closer to the opposite (that those with high self esteem had worse social skills before attaining their high levels of self esteem. Since (B) is inaccurate, it cannot be grounds for criticizing the author's argument and can be eliminated.

Quote:
C. It overlooks the possibility that people with very high levels of self-esteem may tend to have a less accurate perception of the strength of their own social skills than do people with moderate levels of self-esteem.

What if volunteers with very high levels of self-esteem do tend to have a less accurate perception of the strength of their own social skills? In that case, the ratings those volunteers gave to describe their own social skills would be inaccurate, and we couldn't be sure which of the two groups (those with high levels of self-esteem and those with moderate levels of self-esteem) actually had better social skills. In other words, the ratings of the volunteers' social skills would not be reliable, so the ratings could not be used as valid evidence to support the author's conclusion. (C) looks pretty good.

Hopefully that adds some clarity!


Dear GMATNinja,

I selected C knowing it completely breaks the conclusion. But I was confused between B & C. Perhaps my understanding of Option B was incorrect, please do help me if thats the case, since the whole process of arriving at C was time consuming and I would like to improve that.

During pre-thinking I came up with 2 assumptions -
1) As mentioned in C
2) What if its the other way round - High Social Skills increase Self-Esteem

And it was the 2nd pre-thinking that got me stuck with option B, is it not talking about how this group already had greater self-esteem before attaining better social skills.
Now between option C & B, I rejected B by thinking - even if Greater Social Skills increases Self-Esteem, this option does not conclusively say that increase in self esteem does not improve Social Skills. Also, C breaks down the argument better than B.

Was my understanding of Option B correct? If so, my method of rejecting B was time consuming. Is there anyother way to look at this.
If my understanding was incorrect? What did this option exactly mean?
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Re: Psychologist: In a study, researchers gave 100 volunteers a psychologi [#permalink]
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Let's take another look at the answer choice:
Quote:
B. It takes for granted that the volunteers with the highest levels of self-esteem had better social skills than did the other volunteers, even before the former volunteers had attained their high levels of self-esteem.

This states that the conclusion takes for granted that the volunteers with high self-esteem had already attained better social skills. As we've explained in this post, this is just not true. So it can't be a weak point in the argument.

If you find yourself spinning you wheels, stop and read the question again. In this case we need to find how the argument is "most vulnerable to criticism," which is different than an answer choice that, if true, would weaken the argument. So, a more sound way to think through the passage is to look for weak points in how the conclusion was reached (which gets us to (C) quickly), rather than thinking of alternate explanations for the conclusion (which would get us stuck on (B)).

I hope this helps!
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Re: Psychologist: In a study, researchers gave 100 volunteers a psychologi [#permalink]
Generally in CR questions, it is equally important to analyse the question stem.

The question stem clearly states , " The psychologist’s argument is most vulnerable to criticism on which of the following grounds?

This means that we cannot change the basis or the data mentioned in the argument. The argument(made by the psychologist) considers a sample of 100 people sufficient enough to conduct an experiment ie. 100 people are solid enough to conclude what the psychologist has concluded. We cannot change that. Hence option D is incorrect

Also, the experiment/research mentioned in the argument considers social skill as the only parameter, we simply cannot change that. Why? again!, because the question stem says so. Hence Option E is incorrect.

Option A is purely irrelevant as it doesn't really affect the causality mentioned in the argument. It simply doesn't really impact the conclusion.

Option B is incorrect. So what if the volunteers already had decent social skills, even before the volunteers attained their high levels of self-esteem.. The argument is precisely about increasing the current level of self esteem. Also, if you look closely, option B lies within the same causality framework as the conclusion. Hence incorrect.

We are left with Option C and that obviously is the answer. As per my analysis, the reason option C is absolutely fine is that it states an Alternate effect, another way to weaken an argument ie. people with very high levels of self-esteem may tend to have a less accurate perception of the strength of their own social skills

AjiteshArun GMATNinja is my analysis okay? Please comment. Also, the way i have eliminated option B is correct???

i look forward to hearing from you guys.

Best Regards,
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Hi Adit,

Your analysis is correct.

aditliverpoolfc wrote:
Option A is purely irrelevant as it doesn't really affect the causality mentioned in the argument. It simply doesn't really impact the conclusion.
Yes. We have no reason to think that the study was inaccurate just because many of the volunteers did not understand what the questionnaire was designed to measure.

aditliverpoolfc wrote:
Option B is incorrect. So what if the volunteers already had decent social skills, even before the volunteers attained their high levels of self-esteem.. The argument is precisely about increasing the current level of self esteem. Also, if you look closely, option B lies within the same causality framework as the conclusion. Hence incorrect.
Correct. The psychologist concludes that attaining a very high level of self-esteem leads to better social skills (self-esteem → social skills), so the assumption that better "social skills" were there even before "an exceptionally high level of self-esteem" was never made.

aditliverpoolfc wrote:
We are left with Option C and that obviously is the answer. As per my analysis, the reason option C is absolutely fine is that it states an Alternate effect, another way to weaken an argument ie. people with very high levels of self-esteem may tend to have a less accurate perception of the strength of their own social skills
Yes. If they don't have a good idea about how good their social skills are, then we can't rely on the findings of the study.
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