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Psychologist: In a survey, several hundred volunteers rated their own levels of self-control and their overall life satisfaction. The volunteers who rated themselves as having better self-control also reported greater satisfaction with their lives. This suggests that self-control is one factor that helps people avoid situations likely to produce dissatisfaction.

In order to assess the strength of the psychologist's argument, it would be most helpful to know whether
Type - evaluate
Core- self-control(cause) is one factor that helps people avoid situations(effect) likely to produce dissatisfaction.

A. people typically rate themselves as having significantly better self-control than expert psychological assessments would rate them as having- incorrect, but this would affect all types of people

B. people's perceptions of how satisfied they are with their lives could be affected by factors of which they are unaware- incorrect, we know that self-control is ONE of the factors that helps people avoid situations likely to produce dissatisfaction.

C. there is a high level of self-control that tends to reduce overall life satisfaction- incorrect, we do not how this high level of self-control affects people's ability to avoid situations likely to produce dissatisfaction

D. people's ratings of their overall satisfaction with their lives tend to temporarily decrease in situations likely to produce dissatisfaction- irrelevant, this is expected but this does not address our issue

E. feelings of dissatisfaction significantly interfere with people's ability to exercise self-control- Correct, this reverses the cause and effect.


Answer E
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Re: Psychologist: In a survey, several hundred volunteers rated their own [#permalink]
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Psychologist: In a survey, several hundred volunteers rated their own levels of self-control and their overall life satisfaction. The volunteers who rated themselves as having better self-control also reported greater satisfaction with their lives. This suggests that self-control is one factor that helps people avoid situations likely to produce dissatisfaction.

In order to assess the strength of the psychologist's argument, it would be most helpful to know whether

A. people typically rate themselves as having significantly better self-control than expert psychological assessments would rate them as having

B. people's perceptions of how satisfied they are with their lives could be affected by factors of which they are unaware

C. there is a high level of self-control that tends to reduce overall life satisfaction

D. people's ratings of their overall satisfaction with their lives tend to temporarily decrease in situations likely to produce dissatisfaction

E. feelings of dissatisfaction significantly interfere with people's ability to exercise self-control


CR87051.01


Official Explanation

Argument Evaluation

Which one of the further pieces of information given in the answer choices would most help us evaluate the psychologist's argument?

A psychologist tells us that people surveyed who reported high levels of self-control reported high levels of life satisfaction also. The psychologist infers from this that self-control is one factor that helps people avoid situations likely to produce dissatisfaction with their lives.

Note that only answer options C and E directly address a possible causal link between degree of life satisfaction and degree of self-control. Answer option C tells us that a high degree of self-control can actually reduce life satisfaction.

However, this information, if accurate, does little to weaken support for the conclusion that self-control helps people avoid situations likely to create dissatisfaction. Furthermore, it provides no support for that conclusion.

That leaves E as the most likely candidate for the correct response. Suppose E were correct; that is, feelings of dissatisfaction make effective self-control less likely. This is compatible with the correlation between self-control and feelings of satisfaction—but also strongly suggests that self-control is the effect rather than the cause of feelings of satisfaction. And this undermines the conclusion of the argument.

A. This suggests that the self-ascribed levels of self-control of the participants in the survey may have been exaggerated. This weakens the psychologists' conclusion without completely invalidating this evidence.

B. This implies that survey participants were not fully aware of all the factors that affected their perceptions of life satisfaction. However, the conclusion does not depend on the participants' degree of awareness of the factors affecting their perceptions of life satisfaction.

C. This may be true, but even if true in some cases, this information does not necessarily invalidate the psychologist's conclusion in general.

D. This implies that people's ratings of their life satisfaction can vary, and be temporarily lowered, by encountering a situation likely to produce dissatisfaction. But such possible sources of random error would be allowed for in the statistical analysis of the survey results and do not necessarily invalidate the study's results.

E. Correct. As explained, this information undermines the psychologist's conclusion by providing an alternative explanation for the survey results.

The correct answer is E.
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Re: Psychologist: In a survey, several hundred volunteers rated their own [#permalink]
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Very nice question ! This is classic correlation and Causation problem. Conclusion states that people having higher self control tend to rate themselves having higher satisfaction. Now we need to make sure it is not the other way round which means " Satisfaction does not interfere with self control"... Option E does exactly that with a twist that it mentions " dissatisfaction to mislead the test takers :)
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Re: Psychologist: In a survey, several hundred volunteers rated their own [#permalink]
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The Story

Psychologist: In a survey, several hundred volunteers rated their own levels of self-control and their overall life satisfaction. - In a survey, volunteers rated their self-control (SC) and life satisfaction (LS).

The volunteers who rated themselves as having better self-control also reported greater satisfaction with their lives. - The guys who rated themselves higher on SC also rated themselves higher on LS.

This suggests that self-control is one factor that helps people avoid situations likely to produce dissatisfaction. - On the basis of the results of the survey, the author claims that SC helps people avoid situations that might lead to dissatisfaction.

Gist:In a survey rating self-control and life satisfaction, people who rated themselves higher on SC also rated themselves higher on LS (support), Thus, SC helps people avoid situations that might lead to dissatisfaction(conclusion).

The Gap

============================

Is it an Evaluate the argument question ?
The first clear gap in the argument is the assumed causal link. Here’s an example to explain it:

In a survey, it was found that people with bigger cars had more wealth. Thus, owning a big car helps one in attaining wealth.

Does the argument make sense? No.

The flaw in the argument is a classic one: it jumps from correlation to causality.

The author doesn’t stop there though. The psychologist does not claim that self-control helps people increase satisfaction. The claim is that self-control helps people avoid situations likely to produce dissatisfaction.

First of all, satisfaction can be increased in ways other than avoiding situations that likely produce dissatisfaction e.g. by engaging in more situations that likely produce satisfaction.

Besides, let’s get into a little bit of mindfulness. Are people unhappy because of the situations, or because of the way they respond to situations? Can’t two different people face a similar situation and have different responses? Thus, we can’t say that self-control helps people avoid situations likely to produce dissatisfaction. It is entirely possible self-control helps people avoid not the situations but dissatisfaction in such situations.

The Goal


The goal is to assess or evaluate the strength of the psychologist’s argument. The evaluation can be done by playing on any of the three gaps mentioned above:

    1. Whether correlation means causation
    2. Whether self-control can lead to increased satisfaction by helping people engage in more situations likely to produce satisfaction
    3. Whether self-control can lead to increased satisfaction by helping people not feel dissatisfied in situations likely to produce dissatisfaction.

There could be other pieces of information as well that could help us assess the strength of the argument.

The Evaluation

A. people typically rate themselves as having significantly better self-control than expert psychological assessments would rate them as having
Incorrect. If we take expert psychological assessments to be accurate assessments, then essentially this option asks whether people typically were very generous in their assessments of self-control. However, without any additional information, this generosity should apply to both sets of people: those having more life satisfaction and having less life satisfaction. Thus, the correlation would continue to hold between more self-control and more life satisfaction. As a result, the reasoning in the argument will continue to hold as is. Thus, this option does not help in evaluating the argument

B. people's perceptions of how satisfied they are with their lives could be affected by factors of which they are unaware
Incorrect. It’s easy to reject this option for the reason that it talks about “factors of which they are unaware”. However, let’s change the option to say:

people's perceptions of how satisfied they are with their lives are affected only by factors of which they are unaware

Now, is the above option incorrect? Don’t think so. Why? The reason is that if people are unaware of these factors, it doesn’t seem likely that they’ll be able to use self-control with these factors. Thus, it would seem unlikely then that self-control leads to increased life satisfaction or helps people avoid dissatisfying situations.

The given option is incorrect since it asks whether people’s perceptions are affected by factors of which they are unaware. Even if there are such factors, their presence doesn’t preclude the presence of factors of which people could be aware. Since people could use self-control w.r.t. factors of which they are aware, they can still increase life satisfaction through self-control. Thus, this option doesn’t help us evaluate the argument.

C. there is a high level of self-control that tends to reduce overall life satisfaction
Incorrect. If I tell you that if you take a medicine in high doses, you’ll be harmed rather than helped by the medicine, does that mean that the medicine, in general, does not help people feel better? No. Similarly, this option will not help us evaluate the argument.

D. people's ratings of their overall satisfaction with their lives tend to temporarily decrease in situations likely to produce dissatisfaction
Incorrect. The option would be correct without the word ‘temporarily’:
people's ratings of their overall satisfaction with their lives tend to decrease in situations likely to produce dissatisfaction

This version would be correct since it’d link people’s ratings of their life satisfaction with their facing situations likely to produce dissatisfaction. This link is the link between the premise and the conclusion in our argument.

The given option is incorrect since it’s talking about ‘temporary’ decrease in some situations. Even if people’s ratings decrease temporarily in certain situations, we have no indication as to whether any of the participants were in such a situation. Thus, the option has no impact.

E. feelings of dissatisfaction significantly interfere with people's ability to exercise self-control
Correct. This option presents reverse causality. The option essentially asks whether dissatisfaction leads to a lack of self-control. If it does, then this could be the reason for the correlation we observed in the survey (i.e. people who are more dissatisfied will have less self-control and people who are more satisfied will have more self-control). Thus, in such a case, we won’t be able to say, on the basis of the survey results, that self-control leads to increased life satisfaction.


If you have any doubts regarding any part of this solution, please feel free to ask.
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Psychologist: In a survey, several hundred volunteers rated their own [#permalink]
GMATIntensive wrote:
The Story

Psychologist: In a survey, several hundred volunteers rated their own levels of self-control and their overall life satisfaction. - In a survey, volunteers rated their self-control (SC) and life satisfaction (LS).

The volunteers who rated themselves as having better self-control also reported greater satisfaction with their lives. - The guys who rated themselves higher on SC also rated themselves higher on LS.

This suggests that self-control is one factor that helps people avoid situations likely to produce dissatisfaction. - On the basis of the results of the survey, the author claims that SC helps people avoid situations that might lead to dissatisfaction.

Gist:In a survey rating self-control and life satisfaction, people who rated themselves higher on SC also rated themselves higher on LS (support), Thus, SC helps people avoid situations that might lead to dissatisfaction(conclusion).

The Gap


The first clear gap in the argument is the assumed causal link. Here’s an example to explain it:

In a survey, it was found that people with bigger cars had more wealth. Thus, owning a big car helps one in attaining wealth.

Does the argument make sense? No.

The flaw in the argument is a classic one: it jumps from correlation to causality.

The author doesn’t stop there though. The psychologist does not claim that self-control helps people increase satisfaction. The claim is that self-control helps people avoid situations likely to produce dissatisfaction.

First of all, satisfaction can be increased in ways other than avoiding situations that likely produce dissatisfaction e.g. by engaging in more situations that likely produce satisfaction.

Besides, let’s get into a little bit of mindfulness. Are people unhappy because of the situations, or because of the way they respond to situations? Can’t two different people face a similar situation and have different responses? Thus, we can’t say that self-control helps people avoid situations likely to produce dissatisfaction. It is entirely possible self-control helps people avoid not the situations but dissatisfaction in such situations.

The Goal


The goal is to assess or evaluate the strength of the psychologist’s argument. The evaluation can be done by playing on any of the three gaps mentioned above:

    1. Whether correlation means causation
    2. Whether self-control can lead to increased satisfaction by helping people engage in more situations likely to produce satisfaction
    3. Whether self-control can lead to increased satisfaction by helping people not feel dissatisfied in situations likely to produce dissatisfaction.

There could be other pieces of information as well that could help us assess the strength of the argument.

The Evaluation

A. people typically rate themselves as having significantly better self-control than expert psychological assessments would rate them as having
Incorrect. If we take expert psychological assessments to be accurate assessments, then essentially this option asks whether people typically were very generous in their assessments of self-control. However, without any additional information, this generosity should apply to both sets of people: those having more life satisfaction and having less life satisfaction. Thus, the correlation would continue to hold between more self-control and more life satisfaction. As a result, the reasoning in the argument will continue to hold as is. Thus, this option does not help in evaluating the argument

B. people's perceptions of how satisfied they are with their lives could be affected by factors of which they are unaware
Incorrect. It’s easy to reject this option for the reason that it talks about “factors of which they are unaware”. However, let’s change the option to say:

people's perceptions of how satisfied they are with their lives are affected only by factors of which they are unaware

Now, is the above option incorrect? Don’t think so. Why? The reason is that if people are unaware of these factors, it doesn’t seem likely that they’ll be able to use self-control with these factors. Thus, it would seem unlikely then that self-control leads to increased life satisfaction or helps people avoid dissatisfying situations.

The given option is incorrect since it asks whether people’s perceptions are affected by factors of which they are unaware. Even if there are such factors, their presence doesn’t preclude the presence of factors of which people could be aware. Since people could use self-control w.r.t. factors of which they are aware, they can still increase life satisfaction through self-control. Thus, this option doesn’t help us evaluate the argument.

C. there is a high level of self-control that tends to reduce overall life satisfaction
Incorrect. If I tell you that if you take a medicine in high doses, you’ll be harmed rather than helped by the medicine, does that mean that the medicine, in general, does not help people feel better? No. Similarly, this option will not help us evaluate the argument.

D. people's ratings of their overall satisfaction with their lives tend to temporarily decrease in situations likely to produce dissatisfaction
Incorrect. The option would be correct without the word ‘temporarily’:
people's ratings of their overall satisfaction with their lives tend to decrease in situations likely to produce dissatisfaction

This version would be correct since it’d link people’s ratings of their life satisfaction with their facing situations likely to produce dissatisfaction. This link is the link between the premise and the conclusion in our argument.

The given option is incorrect since it’s talking about ‘temporary’ decrease in some situations. Even if people’s ratings decrease temporarily in certain situations, we have no indication as to whether any of the participants were in such a situation. Thus, the option has no impact.

E. feelings of dissatisfaction significantly interfere with people's ability to exercise self-control
Correct. This option presents reverse causality. The option essentially asks whether dissatisfaction leads to a lack of self-control. If it does, then this could be the reason for the correlation we observed in the survey (i.e. people who are more dissatisfied will have less self-control and people who are more satisfied will have more self-control). Thus, in such a case, we won’t be able to say, on the basis of the survey results, that self-control leads to increased life satisfaction.


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



GMATIntensive, Option E states "feelings of dissatisfaction significantly interfere with people's ability to exercise self-control".
However, if feelings of dissatisfaction interfere (not significantly) with people's ability to exercise SC, in that case also conclusion fails.
My question is why the feeling of dissatisfaction has to "significantly" interfere with people's ability?
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Psychologist: In a survey, several hundred volunteers rated their own [#permalink]
gmatt1476 wrote:
Psychologist: In a survey, several hundred volunteers rated their own levels of self-control and their overall life satisfaction. The volunteers who rated themselves as having better self-control also reported greater satisfaction with their lives. This suggests that self-control is one factor that helps people avoid situations likely to produce dissatisfaction.

In order to assess the strength of the psychologist's argument, it would be most helpful to know whether

A. people typically rate themselves as having significantly better self-control than expert psychological assessments would rate them as having

B. people's perceptions of how satisfied they are with their lives could be affected by factors of which they are unaware

C. there is a high level of self-control that tends to reduce overall life satisfaction

D. people's ratings of their overall satisfaction with their lives tend to temporarily decrease in situations likely to produce dissatisfaction

E. feelings of dissatisfaction significantly interfere with people's ability to exercise self-control


CR87051.01


Hi GMATNinja KarishmaB DmitryFarber! Can you help me out with this question? Why D is wrong and E is right? Thank you! :please:
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Re: Psychologist: In a survey, several hundred volunteers rated their own [#permalink]
D. people's ratings of their overall satisfaction with their lives tend to temporarily decrease in situations likely to produce dissatisfaction

I think this is wrong because the answer hints that it may go back to normal instanteously.
I let the verbal expert commend on my thoughts.
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Quote:
Can you help me out with this question? Why D is wrong and E is right? Thank you! :please:

The gist here is that last line: self-control is one factor that helps people avoid situations that make them dissatisfied. The support for the claim is the study showing the correlation between people reporting greater self-control and those reporting greater life satisfaction.

We want something that would be useful to know, and (D) isn't helpful at all. First, the whole point of the argument is that self-control allows people to avoid dissatisfaction. (D) doesn't say anything about self-control. Really, it doesn't seem to be saying much of anything. A dissatisfying situation might cause people to temporarily rate their lives as less satisfying? Well, yeah -- that seems like common sense. And it certainly doesn't shed any light on whether self-control is a factor.

(E), on the other hand, would be very useful to know. If dissatisfaction interferes with people's self-control, then it stands to reason that satisfaction would allow self-control. This would turn the argument on its head. Instead of self-control allowing people to avoid dissatisfaction, it's the satisfaction leading to self-control!

Because (E) would help shed light on the whether the argument is valid, it's our winner.

I hope that helps!
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Re: Psychologist: In a survey, several hundred volunteers rated their own [#permalink]
KarishmaB wrote:
gmatt1476 wrote:
Psychologist: In a survey, several hundred volunteers rated their own levels of self-control and their overall life satisfaction. The volunteers who rated themselves as having better self-control also reported greater satisfaction with their lives. This suggests that self-control is one factor that helps people avoid situations likely to produce dissatisfaction.

In order to assess the strength of the psychologist's argument, it would be most helpful to know whether

A. people typically rate themselves as having significantly better self-control than expert psychological assessments would rate them as having

B. people's perceptions of how satisfied they are with their lives could be affected by factors of which they are unaware

C. there is a high level of self-control that tends to reduce overall life satisfaction

D. people's ratings of their overall satisfaction with their lives tend to temporarily decrease in situations likely to produce dissatisfaction

E. feelings of dissatisfaction significantly interfere with people's ability to exercise self-control


CR87051.01


People rated their own self control and satisfaction.
The two things seem to appear together (those who claimed to be high on self control claimed to be high on satisfaction too)

Conclusion: Self-control helps avoid dissatisfaction.

Our study reveals that self control and satisfaction are correlated. Our conclusion says that self control causes satisfaction (avoids dissatisfaction).
Is the conclusion valid? We need to find whether self control leads to satisfaction. What if satisfaction leads to self control instead? That is why they are appearing together.

This is what (E) suggests. It asks the question whether dissatisfaction leads to loss of self control (inverse of what we concluded). If that were true, then also self control and satisfaction would appear together but our conclusion would not be valid. Hence, we must find out the answer to (E) in order to assess the strength of our conclusion.


A. people typically rate themselves as having significantly better self-control than expert psychological assessments would rate them as having

Irrelevant. Both self control and satisfaction were rated by people themselves. We need to find the relation between them. How the ratings would vary if a psychologist rated is irrelevant.

B. people's perceptions of how satisfied they are with their lives could be affected by factors of which they are unaware

Irrelevant. We are talking about one of the factors only - self control.

C. there is a high level of self-control that tends to reduce overall life satisfaction

Self control and satisfaction appear together. We are trying to establish why. This option is not valid for our argument.

D. people's ratings of their overall satisfaction with their lives tend to temporarily decrease in situations likely to produce dissatisfaction

Temporary decrease is irrelevant.

Answer (E)


Hi KarishmaB! I understood why E is the correct AC, but can you shed some more light on why C is wrong? If a "high-level" of self-control reduces life "satisfaction", isn't is disproving the argument? Thank you! :please:
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Re: Psychologist: In a survey, several hundred volunteers rated their own [#permalink]
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Will2020 wrote:
KarishmaB wrote:
gmatt1476 wrote:
Psychologist: In a survey, several hundred volunteers rated their own levels of self-control and their overall life satisfaction. The volunteers who rated themselves as having better self-control also reported greater satisfaction with their lives. This suggests that self-control is one factor that helps people avoid situations likely to produce dissatisfaction.

In order to assess the strength of the psychologist's argument, it would be most helpful to know whether

A. people typically rate themselves as having significantly better self-control than expert psychological assessments would rate them as having

B. people's perceptions of how satisfied they are with their lives could be affected by factors of which they are unaware

C. there is a high level of self-control that tends to reduce overall life satisfaction

D. people's ratings of their overall satisfaction with their lives tend to temporarily decrease in situations likely to produce dissatisfaction

E. feelings of dissatisfaction significantly interfere with people's ability to exercise self-control


CR87051.01


People rated their own self control and satisfaction.
The two things seem to appear together (those who claimed to be high on self control claimed to be high on satisfaction too)

Conclusion: Self-control helps avoid dissatisfaction.

Our study reveals that self control and satisfaction are correlated. Our conclusion says that self control causes satisfaction (avoids dissatisfaction).
Is the conclusion valid? We need to find whether self control leads to satisfaction. What if satisfaction leads to self control instead? That is why they are appearing together.

This is what (E) suggests. It asks the question whether dissatisfaction leads to loss of self control (inverse of what we concluded). If that were true, then also self control and satisfaction would appear together but our conclusion would not be valid. Hence, we must find out the answer to (E) in order to assess the strength of our conclusion.


A. people typically rate themselves as having significantly better self-control than expert psychological assessments would rate them as having

Irrelevant. Both self control and satisfaction were rated by people themselves. We need to find the relation between them. How the ratings would vary if a psychologist rated is irrelevant.

B. people's perceptions of how satisfied they are with their lives could be affected by factors of which they are unaware

Irrelevant. We are talking about one of the factors only - self control.

C. there is a high level of self-control that tends to reduce overall life satisfaction

Self control and satisfaction appear together. We are trying to establish why. This option is not valid for our argument.

D. people's ratings of their overall satisfaction with their lives tend to temporarily decrease in situations likely to produce dissatisfaction

Temporary decrease is irrelevant.

Answer (E)


Hi KarishmaB! I understood why E is the correct AC, but can you shed some more light on why C is wrong? If a "high-level" of self-control reduces life "satisfaction", isn't is disproving the argument? Thank you! :please:


We are given that self control and satisfaction appear together. We need to establish why. Whether there is a level of self control at which satisfaction reduces is not relevant to us.

This is like saying, "A good intake of salt improves health."
Does "a high intake worsens your health" impact our previous conclusion? No. It is about moderation vs excess. How one thing impacts in moderation can be very different from how it impacts when taken in excess. So we don't have to worry about those levels of salt at all. We found out that moderate intake and good health appear together so we are only trying to figure out whether moderate intake is causing good health.

That is why (C) is not relevant to us.
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KarishmaB excellent analogy and great explanation! thank you! :)
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Psychologist: In a survey, several hundred volunteers rated their own [#permalink]
gmatt1476 wrote:
Psychologist: In a survey, several hundred volunteers rated their own levels of self-control and their overall life satisfaction. The volunteers who rated themselves as having better self-control also reported greater satisfaction with their lives. This suggests that self-control is one factor that helps people avoid situations likely to produce dissatisfaction.

In order to assess the strength of the psychologist's argument, it would be most helpful to know whether

Break down the argument in simple terms. High level - 2 things occur at the same time (self-control and greater satisfaction) and the conclusion is that one causes the other (SC -> S)

To evaluate the argument, you can brainstorm ideas to weaken or strengthen the argument. What if the cause-and-effect relationship is reversed? What if there's a third factor that causes 2 things to happen at the same time? What if 2 things happened at the same time as a coincidence? What if the survey was on faulty data? These are all the relevant questions you should be asking when you see an argument that concludes a causation from a premise that shows a correlation.


A. people typically rate themselves as having significantly better self-control than expert psychological assessments would rate them as having

B. people's perceptions of how satisfied they are with their lives could be affected by factors of which they are unaware

C. there is a high level of self-control that tends to reduce overall life satisfaction

This is an "exception" that is irrelevant.

D. people's ratings of their overall satisfaction with their lives tend to temporarily decrease in situations likely to produce dissatisfaction


No mention of Self Control


E. feelings of dissatisfaction significantly interfere with people's ability to exercise self-control

Suggests that the conclusion should be the opposite


CR87051.01
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Psychologist: In a survey, several hundred volunteers rated their own [#permalink]
gmatt1476 wrote:
Psychologist: In a survey, several hundred volunteers rated their own levels of self-control and their overall life satisfaction. The volunteers who rated themselves as having better self-control also reported greater satisfaction with their lives. This suggests that self-control is one factor that helps people avoid situations likely to produce dissatisfaction.

In order to assess the strength of the psychologist's argument, it would be most helpful to know whether

A. people typically rate themselves as having significantly better self-control than expert psychological assessments would rate them as having

B. people's perceptions of how satisfied they are with their lives could be affected by factors of which they are unaware

C. there is a high level of self-control that tends to reduce overall life satisfaction

D. people's ratings of their overall satisfaction with their lives tend to temporarily decrease in situations likely to produce dissatisfaction

E. feelings of dissatisfaction significantly interfere with people's ability to exercise self-control


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KarishmaB GMATNinja MartyMurray

Doesn't (A) slightly weaken the argument and the negation of (A) slightly strengthen it? (As a result, becoming essential for evaluating the argument)
If people who attempted the survey rated themselves differently than an expert (psychologist) would, then wouldn't that make the conclusion (high self-control -> avoid dissatisfaction) less likely to be true? The survey data itself becomes questionable, and hence, so does the conclusion.
Yet, if people rated themselves as aptly as an expert would, the conclusion becomes more likely to be true.

One other thing to note here is that although the reasoning used is from survey data, the conclusion is made about people in general, so (A) should be relevant to the arg.
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Psychologist: In a survey, several hundred volunteers rated their own [#permalink]
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SlowTortoise wrote:
Doesn't (A) slightly weaken the argument and the negation of (A) slightly strengthen it? (As a result, becoming essential for evaluating the argument)
If people who attempted the survey rated themselves differently than an expert (psychologist) would, then wouldn't that make the conclusion (high self-control -> avoid dissatisfaction) less likely to be true? The survey data itself becomes questionable, and hence, so does the conclusion.
Yet, if people rated themselves as aptly as an expert would, the conclusion becomes more likely to be true.

One other thing to note here is that although the reasoning used is from survey data, the conclusion is made about people in general, so (A) should be relevant to the arg.

Here's the argument:

Psychologist: In a survey, several hundred volunteers rated their own levels of self-control and their overall life satisfaction. The volunteers who rated themselves as having better self-control also reported greater satisfaction with their lives. This suggests that self-control is one factor that helps people avoid situations likely to produce dissatisfaction.

Notice that the evidence is, basically, that better self-control than other volunteers reported is associated with greater satisfaction than other volunteers reported.

Now, here's (A):

A. people typically rate themselves as having significantly better self-control than expert psychological assessments would rate them as having

Here's what we need to notice about (A).

What (A) says about people rating themselves as having better self-control APPLIES TO ALL THE VOLUNTEERS. So, all the volunteers likely inflated their self-control ratings. Thus, the relative levels of the ratings still have the same indicative value.

For example:

VolunteerVolunteer Self-Control RatingPsychologist Self-Control RatingVolunteer Satisfaction Rating
Volunteer A968
Volunteer B746


In the above example, Volunteer A's self-control rating of 9 is higher than Volunteer B's self-control rating of 7, and Volunteer A's satisfaction rating is also higher. So, those ratings support the conclusion.

Now, notice that, while a psychologist may have given Volunteer A a self-control rating of only 6, if all the volunteers' self-control ratings are inflated, the psychologist's rating for A would still be higher than B's psychologist self-control rating. So, the relationship of a higher self-control rating being associated with a higher satisfaction rating still stands. Thus, the data would still support the conclusion.

So, regardless of whether people typically rate themselves as having significantly better self-control than expert psychological assessments would rate them as having, the data still supports the conclusion.

Thus, (A) has no effect on the argument one way or the other.
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Psychologist: In a survey, several hundred volunteers rated their own [#permalink]
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