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# Studies have shown that elderly people who practice a religion are muc

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Studies have shown that elderly people who practice a religion are muc  [#permalink]

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Updated on: 11 Oct 2018, 01:52
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Studies have shown that elderly people who practice a religion are much more likely to die immediately after an important religious holiday period than immediately before one. Researchers have concluded that the will to live can prolong life, at least for short periods of time.

Which of the following, if true, would most strengthen the researchers' conclusion?

(A) Elderly people who practice a religion are less likely to die immediately before or during an important religious holiday than at any other time of the year.

(B) Elderly people who practice a religion appear to experience less anxiety at the prospect of dying than do other people.

(C) Some elderly people who do practice a religion live much longer than most elderly people who do not.

(D) Most elderly people who participate in religious holidays have different reasons for participating than young people do.

(E) Many religions have important holidays in the spring and fall, seasons with the lowest death rates for elderly people.

Verbal Question of The Day: Day 271: Critical Reasoning

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Originally posted by vksunder on 20 Jul 2008, 17:16.
Last edited by Bunuel on 11 Oct 2018, 01:52, edited 3 times in total.
Renamed the topic and edited the question.
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Re: QOTD: Studies have shown that elderly people  [#permalink]

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24 Apr 2018, 01:17
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Since we are trying to strengthen the researchers' conclusion, let's start with their conclusion: "the will to live can prolong life, at least for short periods of time." The researchers base that conclusion on the following evidence: "elderly people who practice a religion are much more likely to die immediately after an important religious holiday period than immediately before one."

This is best explained with a somewhat somber example.

• Grandma has lived a long and happy life, but she is getting old and faces many health problems associated with old age. She is not expected to survive another year, and in fact her death could come any day.
• Grandma is Jewish, and Passover is an important Jewish holiday period. This year, Passover will take place early April.
• According to the study, Grandma is much more likely to die right after the holiday period than right before the holiday period.
• The implication is that Grandma wants to be alive for Passover. Maybe without this goal she would die in March, but knowing that Passover is coming up, Grandma wills herself to hold on until the holiday period is over. Once the holiday is over, she can die peacefully.

Obviously Grandma cannot change the fact that her death is imminent. But if the researchers are right, she CAN prolong her life just enough to enjoy one last Passover. This doesn't imply that she'll be able to extend her life for years and years to enjoy several more Passovers. But if Passover is only a couple weeks or months away, then perhaps she can use the will to live to prolong her life for a short period of time.

Now we need something that would strengthen the researchers' conclusion:

Quote:
(A) Elderly people who practice a religion are less likely to die immediately before or during an important religious holiday than at any other time of the year.

Dying just before or during the holiday would be the WORST case scenario for these people. So if they actually have the power to prolong their lives for short periods of time, surely they would try to use that power to avoid dying just before or during the holiday. If the researchers are right, then elderly people would be able to will themselves to stay alive until the holiday period is over. As a result, we should see lower than average death rates just before and during holiday periods (the worst time to die).

Choice (A) tells us that this is indeed the case, suggesting that these people actually were able to avoid dying just before or during important religious holidays. This strengthens the researchers' conclusion, so keep this one.

Quote:
(B) Elderly people who practice a religion appear to experience less anxiety at the prospect of dying than do other people.

We aren't interested in anxiety levels of elderly people. Regardless of whether they were more or less anxious, were elderly people who practice a religion able to will themselves to stay alive for important holidays? (B) doesn't tell us either way, so eliminate this one.

Quote:
(C) Some elderly people who do practice a religion live much longer than most elderly people who do not.

Since (C) only talks about SOME elderly people who do practice a religion, there's no way to conclude that religious people, in general, live longer than non-religious. Regardless, the researchers are only concerned with ability to prolong life for short periods of time. Perhaps religious people generally live longer (for a variety of reasons), but can they use the will to live to prolong their lives for a few extra weeks or months? Overall life expectancy statistics have no bearing on the researchers' conclusion, so (C) can be eliminated.

Quote:
(D) Most elderly people who participate in religious holidays have different reasons for participating than young people do.

We don't care about the reasons for participating in religious holidays. We are only concerned with the ability to prolong one's life in order to live through another holiday. (D) is irrelevant and can be eliminated.

Quote:
(E) Many religions have important holidays in the spring and fall, seasons with the lowest death rates for elderly people.

Notice that the second part of (E) refers to elderly people in general, not just elderly people who practice a religion. Also, many religions might ALSO have important holidays in the summer and winter. So, with (E), we can't even safely conclude that death rates, in general, are lower during holiday seasons.

Even if we could, what about death rates within those holiday seasons? Are death rates lower immediately before and during the holidays? Without this specific information, the conclusion is not supported. Eliminate (E).

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Re: Studies have shown that elderly people who practice a religion are muc  [#permalink]

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21 Jul 2008, 13:53
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Another A.

Quote:
Studies have shown that elderly people who practice a religion are much more likely to die immediately after an important religious holiday period than immediately before one. Researchers have concluded that the will to live can prolong life, at least for short periods of time.

Which of the following, if true, would most strengthen the researchers conclusion?

Premise: religious elderly people die less before or during religious holiday.
Assumption: they didn’t die before or during the holiday because of their will to live
Conclusion: will to live can prolong life

(A) Elderly people who practice a religion are less likely to die immediately before or during an important religious holiday than at any other time of the year.
Additional evidence: death probability for religious elderly people is less for the period before or during religious holiday that for any other time of the year (not only for the period after the holiday). This evidence strengthens premise -> strengthens the conclusion.

(B) Elderly people who practice a religion appear to experience less anxiety at the prospect of dying than do other people. (Anxiety is not necessary connected to the ability to prolong life.)

(C) Some elderly people who do practice a religion live much longer than most elderly people who do not. (this is true only for ‘some’ people. However, it is not enough to make a generalization.)

(D) Most elderly people who participate in religious holidays have different reasons for participating than young people do. (The reasons for participating in holidays are not connected either to the ability to prolong life or to the will to live)

(E) Many religions have important holidays in the spring and fall, seasons with the lowest death rates for elderly people. (This in fact weakens the conclusion, since it provides alternative explanation: death rates in spring and fall may be lower for another reason)
##### General Discussion
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Re: Studies have shown that elderly people who practice a religion are muc  [#permalink]

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13 Aug 2011, 18:31
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premise is:
elderly people who practice a religion are much more likely to die immediately after an important religious holiday period than immediately before one
the conclusion is:
at least for short periods of time.

so they die right after a holiday-it's the premise and they can make it for a short term.so the holiday that come after the holiday does not really matter. how can you conclude that they live forever.

premise: religion makes power of will for a short time so the eldery are likely to die only after a holiday and not before.

so if you say that eldery are not likely to die before/during a holiday you strenghten the conclusion
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Re: Studies have shown that elderly people who practice a religion are muc  [#permalink]

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07 Sep 2012, 14:50
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Studies have shown that elderly people who practice a religion are much more likely to die immediately after an important religious holiday period than immediately before one. Researchers have concluded that the will to live can prolong life, at least for short periods of time.

Which of the following, if true, would most strengthen the researchers conclusion?

(A) Elderly people who practice a religion are less likely to die immediately before or during an important religious holiday than at any other time of the year.

This supports the conclusion that the 'will to live' influences whether someone perishes. Presumably (and I guess we have to make a tiny assumption here), religious people have surge in the will to live during religious holidays. Therefore, they are less likely to die right before or during the religious holiday.

(B) Elderly people who practice a religion appear to experience less anxiety at the prospect of dying than do other people.

This is too general.

(C) Some elderly people who do practice a religion live much longer than most elderly people who do not.

We are focused not on the longevity per se, but when exactly people die.

(D) Most elderly people who participate in religious holidays have different reasons for participating than young people do.

Out of scope.

(E) Many religions have important holidays in the spring and fall, seasons with the lowest death rates for elderly people.

There could be other seasonal variations in deaths of the elderly. We would have to control for these before making any causal inferences between religious holidays and mortality.

Hope that helps!
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Re: Studies have shown that elderly people who practice a religion are muc  [#permalink]

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03 Dec 2016, 12:38
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The conclusion is that will to live prolongs life. The premise is that religious people are more likely to die after a religious occasion than before.

The religious people intend to participate in a religious occasion - this intent creates a will to live at least till the day of the occasion. This will in turn makes them live till the day. However as soon as the day is over the intent to participate is gone and hence the will to live also reduces, thus religious people die immediately after the day of the occasion. Hence A is correct.

C is wrong because the argument does not claim that practising religion increases life span - the argument is about whether the will to live prolongs life.
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Re: Studies have shown that elderly people who practice a religion are muc  [#permalink]

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27 Aug 2017, 10:36
Studies have shown that elderly people who practice a religion are much more likely to die immediately after an important religious holiday period than immediately before one. Researchers have concluded that the will to live can prolong life, at least for short periods of time.

Which of the following, if true, would most strengthen the researchers conclusion?

(A) Elderly people who practice a religion are less likely to die immediately before or during an important religious holiday than at any other time of the year.
Correct. It is more of an inference. We know this already from the premise that the followers of a religion tend to die more number of times post the holidays than before the holidays.

(B) Elderly people who practice a religion appear to experience less anxiety at the prospect of dying than do other people.
This option is a weakener. It gives us an alternative that the anxiety is low in elderly people who follow a religion.

(C) Some elderly people who do practice a religion live much longer than most elderly people who do not.
Its a fact set. Plus, we are not worried about the comparison with the non followers of religion.

(D) Most elderly people who participate in religious holidays have different reasons for participating than young people do.
We are not worried about the reason

(E) Many religions have important holidays in the spring and fall, seasons with the lowest death rates for elderly people.
We are not worried about the time of year when the religious holidays fall.
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Re: Studies have shown that elderly people who practice a religion are muc  [#permalink]

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04 Oct 2017, 09:55
Studies have shown that elderly people who practice a religion are much more likely to die immediately after an important religious holiday period than immediately before one. Researchers have concluded that the will to live can prolong life, at least for short periods of time.

Which of the following, if true, would most strengthen the researchers conclusion?

(A) Elderly people who practice a religion are less likely to die immediately before or during an important religious holiday than at any other time of the year.
- Correct as is. Elderly people who practice a religion have a reason to WANT to avoid dying immediately before/during an important religious holiday

(B) Elderly people who practice a religion appear to experience less anxiety at the prospect of dying than do other people.
- Not sure anxiety is directly tied to prolonging life/dying. also compare religious people to other people unnecessarily -- only considered with the will to prolong life.

(C) Some elderly people who do practice a religion live much longer than most elderly people who do not.
- "Some" can be 1 or 99%. also, not concerned about living MUCH longer -- remember, Conclusion is focused on prolonging life for SHORT PERIODS OF TIME.

(D) Most elderly people who participate in religious holidays have different reasons for participating than young people do.
- Out of scope. The reasons people participate in religious holidays is irrelevant.

(E) Many religions have important holidays in the spring and fall, seasons with the lowest death rates for elderly people.
- Out of scope. Lowest death rates do NOT relate to the WILL to avoid dying.

must share that i thought this was a tough one. by using POE, i was able to knock down quite a few A/C but ultimately its about how well you understand the conclusion

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Re: QOTD: Studies have shown that elderly people  [#permalink]

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25 Apr 2018, 03:18
Experts - I have a very fundamental doubt here ... Can an option that only repeats the premise be a valid strengthen choice ?
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Re: QOTD: Studies have shown that elderly people  [#permalink]

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25 Apr 2018, 07:21
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spetznaz wrote:
Experts - I have a very fundamental doubt here ... Can an option that only repeats the premise be a valid strengthen choice ?

It doesn't just repeat the premise. It adds more detail to the premise, detail that goes on to strengthen that premise and therefore the argument.
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22 Mar 2019, 09:33
All other answers choices except A are wrong. But isn't A just stating the premise in different words i.e "studies have shown that elderly people who practice a religion are much more likely to die immediately after an important religious holiday period than immediately before one."

How is this providing new information
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Re: Studies have shown that elderly people who practice a religion are muc  [#permalink]

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09 Apr 2019, 08:39
mallya12 wrote:
All other answers choices except A are wrong. But isn't A just stating the premise in different words i.e "studies have shown that elderly people who practice a religion are much more likely to die immediately after an important religious holiday period than immediately before one."

How is this providing new information

To answer the question, we need to strengthen the conclusion that "the will to live can prolong life, at least for short periods of time."

The researchers' evidence for this conclusion is that "elderly people who practice a religion are much more likely to die immediately after an important religious holiday period than immediately before one."

Take another look at answer choice (A):
Quote:
(A) Elderly people who practice a religion are less likely to die immediately before or during an important religious holiday than at any other time of the year.

The passage compares likelihood of death immediately before a major holiday to immediately after a major holiday. This answer choice provides a different comparison -- the likelihood of death right before a religious holiday to "any other time of the year." So how does this impact the strength of the researchers' conclusion?

It actually fills in a pretty big gap in the information in the passage. If we only know that the elderly are more likely to die after a holiday than before one, how do we know that they are actually extending their life to last through the holiday, rather than the holiday causing their early demise?

Here's an example: imagine that a particular religious holiday involves eating a large amount of cake. (Mmm... cake.) Immediately following the holiday, many elderly people die from a cake overdose (or a heart attack or whatever). Instead of their will to live through the holiday prolonging their lives, their death rate has actually increased from the normal rate immediately following the holiday. Obviously, this is a problem for the researchers' conclusion.

Answer choice (A) resolves this issue nicely. By showing that the death rate before the holiday is lower than the death rate for the rest of the year, the statement makes it clear that the elderly are prolonging their lives rather than dying prematurely after enjoying their holiday.

I hope that helps!
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Re: Studies have shown that elderly people who practice a religion are muc   [#permalink] 09 Apr 2019, 08:39
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