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Researchers took a group of teenagers who had never smoked [#permalink]
02 Nov 2006, 21:21
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Researchers took a group of teenagers who had never smoked and for one year tracked whether they took up smoking and how their mental health changed. Those who began smoking within a month of the studyâ€™s start were four times as likely to be depressed at the studyâ€™s end than those who did not begin smoking. Since nicotine in cigarettes changes brain chemistry, perhaps thereby affecting mood, it is likely that smoking contributes to depression in teenagers.
Which of the following, if true, most strengthens the argument?
A. Participants who were depressed at the studyâ€™s start were no more likely to be smokers at the studyâ€™s end than those who were not depressed.
B. Participants who began smoking within a month of the studyâ€™s start were no more likely than those who began midway through to have quit smoking by the studyâ€™s end.
C. Few, if any, of the participants in the study were friends or relatives of other participants.
D. Some participants entered and emerged from a period of depression within the year of the study.
E. The researchers did not track use of alcohol by the teenagers.
I'm going to throw a curve ball in here and say B.
If they started smoking within the 1st month but quit just before the end, the depression could be due to withdrawal symptoms. (This is hypothetical but bear with me) If most people who start smoking try to quit 11 months later, then the depression could be due to withdrawal, however if they were no more likely to quit than any of the other subjects, then this would be negated.
Also note with A that there is no mention in the paragraph of whether the people who started smoking in the first month were still smoking at the end of the test.
I would say that bringing in quitting would be out of the scope of the argumnt since it only deals with smoking and depression. While your argument is logical, the question is not asking you to infer anything about quitting or withdrawal.
agree that it may be an inference too far (and one that i wouldn't make in the real test, but i'm guessing this isn't an OG question ), but A is out of scope too IMO as there is no mention in the passage of who was smoking at the end of the test.
eliminating reverse causality - Straight A. Ensuring that smoking causes depression and that its not the other way around.
Yes. In A we are ruling out the possibility that people who are more depressed by nature dont turn to smoking. If they turn to smoking then naturally, there will be higher proportion of depressed people among smokers than non-smokers.
The path is long, but self-surrender makes it short;
the way is difficult, but perfect trust makes it easy.