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Recent studies have found that teenagers

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Recent studies have found that teenagers [#permalink]

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New post 06 Jan 2018, 23:52
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Recent studies have found that teenagers who listen regularly to the heavy-metal band Suicidal Intentions are ten times as likely to attempt suicide as are other teenagers. It can therefore be concluded that the band’s lyrics inspire teenagers to attempt suicide.

Which of the following, if true, most weakens the conclusion of the passage?


A )Teenagers, especially males, commit suicide at much higher rates than do people in any other age group.

B) Among teenagers who listen regularly to the band, only a small minority have attempted suicide.

C) The band’s lyrics, which reflect existential despair and nihilism, attract teenagers who have considered attempting suicide.

D) One of the members of the band has himself attempted suicide on three different occasions.

E) Relatively few of the band’s regular listeners are teenagers.
[Reveal] Spoiler: OA

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Re: Recent studies have found that teenagers [#permalink]

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New post 07 Jan 2018, 00:47
reverse causal relationship -> C
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Re: Recent studies have found that teenagers [#permalink]

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New post 07 Jan 2018, 12:55
sahilvijay wrote:
Recent studies have found that teenagers who listen regularly to the heavy-metal band Suicidal Intentions are ten times as likely to attempt suicide as are other teenagers. It can therefore be concluded that the band’s lyrics inspire teenagers to attempt suicide.

Which of the following, if true, most weakens the conclusion of the passage?


A )Teenagers, especially males, commit suicide at much higher rates than do people in any other age group.

B) Among teenagers who listen regularly to the band, only a small minority have attempted suicide.

C) The band’s lyrics, which reflect existential despair and nihilism, attract teenagers who have considered attempting suicide.

D) One of the members of the band has himself attempted suicide on three different occasions.

E) Relatively few of the band’s regular listeners are teenagers.


This is a classic example of correlation being confused with causation. We are told a) suicide and b) listening to Suicidal Intentions are correlated ("10 times more likely...") and are told the conclusion is (a) causes (b).
There are always a few possible ways to weaken this type of claim:
1) the causal connection is actually reversed - b causes a
2) There is a third factor causing both - c causes both a and b
3) There is no causal connection - b and a's correlation is random/ accidental

In this case, answer (C) explicitly tells (1 - reverse causation) is the case.

A different solution strategy is simply USING THE ANSWERS, and checking which weakens the claim that listening to the music > suicide.

A )Teenagers, especially males, commit suicide at much higher rates than do people in any other age group. But why? This is neither here nor there.

B) Among teenagers who listen regularly to the band, only a small minority have attempted suicide. Yes, but we already know this small minority is 10 times greater than the percentage among those who don't listen. So this doesn't weaken

C) The band’s lyrics, which reflect existential despair and nihilism, attract teenagers who have considered attempting suicide. Great! This means the connection is exactly the opposite - it's not the music causing people to be suicidal, it's suicidal people who choose to listen to the mishc

D) One of the members of the band has himself attempted suicide on three different occasions. If anything, this strengthens it (not really though)

E) Relatively few of the band’s regular listeners are teenagers. Irrelevant - we care what happens to those who are teenagers
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Re: Recent studies have found that teenagers   [#permalink] 07 Jan 2018, 12:55
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