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The role of nurturing in determining one’s behavioral traits

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The role of nurturing in determining one’s behavioral traits  [#permalink]

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New post 11 Sep 2018, 21:54
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The role of nurturing in determining one’s behavioral traits has been hotly contested. Historically, geneticists believed that behavioral traits are inherited. After all, many properties of the brain are genetically organized and don't depend on information coming in from the senses. Since active genes are essentially inherited, most traditional geneticists believe that nurturing environment plays little role in shaping one’s behavioral traits.

However, a new line of research indicated that methyl groups can activate dormant genes, bringing about a slew of changes much later in a person’s life. The methyl group works like a placeholder in a cookbook, attaching to the DNA within each cell to select only those recipes - er, genes - necessary for that particular cell’s proteins, telling the DNA what kind of cells to form. The first such observation was in which methyl groups activated by causes ranging from exposure to certain chemicals to changes in diet set off a cascade of cellular changes resulting in cancer. Because methyl groups are attached to the genes, residing beside but separate from the double-helix DNA code, their study is dubbed epigenetics - “epi” referring to Greek for outer or above.

Behavioral geneticists, encouraged by this discovery proved that traumatic experiences such as child neglect, drug abuse, or other severe stresses also set off epigenetic changes to the DNA inside the neurons of a person’s brain, permanently altering behavior. Similarly, through multivariate analysis, they proved that identical twins, in scenarios where one twin has gone through a life altering event, can have vastly different reaction to a stressful situation.

1. The primary purpose of the passage is to

A. propose a new framework that incorporates the role of genetics and the role to life experiences in determining an individual’s behavioral traits.
B. summarize the new research on behavioral traits and inheritance.
C. present findings indicating that, like inheritance, nurturing plays a role in shaping one’s behavioral traits
D. argue through new findings that life experiences play a vital role in shaping an individual’s behavioral traits.
E. establish a causal relationship between an individual’s life experiences and his reaction to stressful situations.



2. Why does the author state highlighted text:

A. to provide a reason for geneticists belief that behavioral traits are inherited.
B. to prove that active genes and not dormant genes define key behavioral traits.
C. to describe the role played by genetic inheritance in determining one’s personality.
D. to indicate that there have been few experiments in the past linking behavior and life experience.
E. to lay the foundation for the development of epigenetics.



3. Which of the following may be inferred from the passage?

A. It is quite likely for twins to develop different personality traits.
B. Resetting the changes introduced by corresponding methyl groups can help cure cancer.
C. Most cancers are caused due to one’s life experiences rather than due to one’s genetic make-up.
D. Traumatic experiences that activate dormant genes can bring about behavioral changes.
E. Identical twins who have led different lives are likely to have different behavioral traits.



4. In the context of this passage, what is the importance of the example illustrating how cancer is caused?

A. It proved that life experiences can alter a person’s personality traits.
B. It provided definitive proof of personality change in a person much later in his life.
C. It showed that genes that may be dormant could be activated by external triggers many years after birth.
D. It led to the coining of the term - epigenetics.
E. It led to a boom in the study of Behavioral genetics.



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The role of nurturing in determining one’s behavioral traits  [#permalink]

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New post 11 Sep 2018, 23:09
7
Solved in 5 mins, 4/4 correct. Very interesting passage.
Please find below my explanations for the 4 questions,

Q1.
Quote:
1. The primary purpose of the passage is to

A. propose a new framework that incorporates the role of genetics and the role to life experiences in determining an individual’s behavioral traits.
B. summarize the new research on behavioral traits and inheritance.
C. present findings indicating that, like inheritance, nurturing plays a role in shaping one’s behavioral traits
D. argue through new findings that life experiences play a vital role in shaping an individual’s behavioral traits.
E. establish a causal relationship between an individual’s life experiences and his reaction to stressful situations.


The passage is concerned with providing findings and examples which prove that nurturing plays a vital role in shaping behavioral traits. Hence option C is correct.

A is out because this is not an new framework. D is too extreme, the author is not arguing in the passage, eliminate D. E is not correct, the causality between life experiences and stressful situations has been mentioned once but is not the summary of the passage. Eliminate E.

I was confused between B and C, but on skimming through the passage again, the passage provides findings rather than summarizing the research, hence C is the clear winner.

Q.2
Quote:
2. Why does the author state highlighted text:

A. to provide a reason for geneticists belief that behavioral traits are inherited.
B. to prove that active genes and not dormant genes define key behavioral traits.
C. to describe the role played by genetic inheritance in determining one’s personality.
D. to indicate that there have been few experiments in the past linking behavior and life experience.
E. to lay the foundation for the development of epigenetics.


The purpose of the highlighted text is to explain why geneticists thought that behavioral traits are inherited.
Quote:
The properties of the brain are genetically organized and don't depend on information coming in from the senses.

Hence Option A is correct.

Q.3
Quote:
3. Which of the following may be inferred from the passage?

A. It is quite likely for twins to develop different personality traits.
B. Resetting the changes introduced by corresponding methyl groups can help cure cancer.
C. Most cancers are caused due to one’s life experiences rather than due to one’s genetic make-up.
D. Traumatic experiences that activate dormant genes can bring about behavioral changes.
E. Identical twins who have led different lives are likely to have different behavioral traits.


Since this is an inference question, I would go option by option and eliminate.
A. Referring to the following sentence in the passage
Quote:
Similarly, through multivariate analysis, they proved that identical twins, in scenarios where one twin has gone through a life altering event, can have vastly different reaction to a stressful situation.

But option A states its quite likely for identical twins to develop personality traits, which is not correct, because only in same cases if one if the twins experiences a life altering event, he/she may react differently to stressful situations.
Eliminate A.

B. Referring to the following sentence in the passage
Quote:
The first such observation was in which methyl groups activated by causes ranging from exposure to certain chemicals to changes in diet set off a cascade of cellular changes resulting in cancer.

Now, this does not mean resetting the changes by methyl groups will cure cancer. There is no information given about this in the passage.
Eliminate B.

C. The word most is not correct, we have no information present in the passage to state the same. Eliminate C.

D. Traumatic experiences that activate dormant genes can bring about behavioral changes. Notice the word can, and not will. The passage does mention this as we can see in the following lines -
Quote:
Behavioral geneticists, encouraged by this discovery proved that traumatic experiences such as child neglect, drug abuse, or other severe stresses also set off epigenetic changes to the DNA inside the neurons of a person’s brain, permanently altering behavior.


Hence D is the correct answer.

E. Identical twins who have led different lives are likely to have different behavioral traits
We are not told that they are likely to have different behavioral traits, and this cannot be inferred from the passage. Eliminate E.

Hence the correct answer is D.

Q.4
Quote:
4. In the context of this passage, what is the importance of the example illustrating how cancer is caused?

A. It proved that life experiences can alter a person’s personality traits.
B. It provided definitive proof of personality change in a person much later in his life.
C. It showed that genes that may be dormant could be activated by external triggers many years after birth.
D. It led to the coining of the term - epigenetics.
E. It led to a boom in the study of Behavioral genetics.


The example of how cancer is caused is given in order to indicate that methyl groups can activate dormant genes, bringing about a slew of changes much later in a person’s life. So, going through the options, C is the correct answer.

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New post 11 Sep 2018, 21:56
2
1. The primary purpose of the passage is to


A. propose a new framework that incorporates the role of genetics and the role to life experiences in determining an individual’s behavioral traits.

INCORRECT Out of scope. The passage doesn't present nay framework.

B. summarize the new research on behavioral traits and inheritance.

INCORRECT Out of scope. The passage doesn't summarize any new research.

C. present findings indicating that, like inheritance, nurturing plays a role in shaping one’s behavioral traits

Correct

D. argue through new findings that life experiences play a vital role in shaping an individual’s behavioral traits.

INCORRECT Partial scope. This is mentioned only in the 3rd paragraph.

E. establish a causal relationship between an individual’s life experiences and his reaction to stressful situations.

INCORRECT Inconsistent. The passage talks about life altering experience. Also, change in behavior is not just limited to just stressful situations.

2. Why does the author state highlighted text:


A. to provide a reason for geneticists belief that behavioral traits are inherited.

Correct The author mentions this line to substantiate the thought of the geneticists that behavioral traits are inherited.

B. to prove that active genes and not dormant genes define key behavioral traits.

INCORRECT Out of scope.

C. to describe the role played by genetic inheritance in determining one’s personality.

INCORRECT Out of scope.

D. to indicate that there have been few experiments in the past linking behavior and life experience.

INCORRECT

E. to lay the foundation for the development of epigenetics.

INCORRECT This is opposite in connection to epigenetics

3. Which of the following may be inferred from the passage?


A. It is quite likely for twins to develop different personality traits.

INCORRECT Out of scope. The presence of "Quite likely" makes this choice extreme.

B. Resetting the changes introduced by corresponding methyl groups can help cure cancer.

INCORRECT Out of scope. The passage states that certain changes in methyl group can result in cancer but the reverse cannot be inferred.

C. Most cancers are caused due to one’s life experiences rather than due to one’s genetic make-up.

INCORRECT Out of scope.

D. Traumatic experiences that activate dormant genes can bring about behavioral changes.

Correct This information can be inferred from the first line of second and third paragraphs.

E. Identical twins who have led different lives are likely to have different behavioral traits.

INCORRECT The word "likely" makes this choice incorrect.

4. In the context of this passage, what is the importance of the example illustrating how cancer is caused?


A. It proved that life experiences can alter a person’s personality traits.

INCORRECT The illustration doesn't prove the point given in this option.

B. It provided definitive proof of personality change in a person much later in his life.

INCORRECT Out of scope. The example illustrated doesn't prove anything about personality change.

C. It showed that genes that may be dormant could be activated by external triggers many years after birth.

Correct How cancer is caused is illustrated to show that certain changes in dormant genes show later in life.

D. It led to the coining of the term - epigenetics.

INCORRECT Out of scope.

E. It led to a boom in the study of Behavioral genetics.

INCORRECT Out of scope.
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Re: The role of nurturing in determining one’s behavioral traits  [#permalink]

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New post 12 Sep 2018, 04:37
1
workout wrote:
The role of nurturing in determining one’s behavioral traits has been hotly contested. Historically, geneticists believed that behavioral traits are inherited. After all, many properties of the brain are genetically organized and don't depend on information coming in from the senses. Since active genes are essentially inherited, most traditional geneticists believe that nurturing environment plays little role in shaping one’s behavioral traits.

However, a new line of research indicated that methyl groups can activate dormant genes, bringing about a slew of changes much later in a person’s life. The methyl group works like a placeholder in a cookbook, attaching to the DNA within each cell to select only those recipes - er, genes - necessary for that particular cell’s proteins, telling the DNA what kind of cells to form. The first such observation was in which methyl groups activated by causes ranging from exposure to certain chemicals to changes in diet set off a cascade of cellular changes resulting in cancer. Because methyl groups are attached to the genes, residing beside but separate from the double-helix DNA code, their study is dubbed epigenetics - “epi” referring to Greek for outer or above.

Behavioral geneticists, encouraged by this discovery proved that traumatic experiences such as child neglect, drug abuse, or other severe stresses also set off epigenetic changes to the DNA inside the neurons of a person’s brain, permanently altering behavior. Similarly, through multivariate analysis, they proved that identical twins, in scenarios where one twin has gone through a life altering event, can have vastly different reaction to a stressful situation.
Notes: Old thot: Behav Trait(BT) Inherited,
Reason- Many brain properties inherited and not thru senses.
Active genes responsible for BT.
Therefore, nurturing Env plays little role in shaping BT.

New Research- Methyl Activates Dormant genes.
Cell has DNA, DNA has Methyl group, which tells DNA what kind of new cells to form.

Result-Methyl grup activates, Reasons- Exposure or Even diet change(cancerous)

Traumatic xperience also cause changes to DNA thus Altering behavior.


1. The primary purpose of the passage is to

A. propose a new framework that incorporates the role of genetics and the role to life experiences in determining an individual’s behavioral traits-NO, author doesnt propose. He presents.
B. summarize the new research on behavioral traits and inheritance-No, he doesnt summarize, he presents.
C. present findings indicating that, like inheritance, nurturing plays a role in shaping one’s behavioral traits-Correct, Matches our pre-thinking.(inheritance and nurturing play a role in BT)
D. argue through new findings that life experiences play a vital role in shaping an individual’s behavioral traits-No, life experiences play a vital role but author doesnt discard inheritance fully.
E. establish a causal relationship between an individual’s life experiences and his reaction to stressful situations-Out of scope, too specific.



2. Why does the author state highlighted text:

A. to provide a reason for geneticists belief that behavioral traits are inherited- Correct, preceding line tells the fact.
B. to prove that active genes and not dormant genes define key behavioral traits.-Out of scope.
C. to describe the role played by genetic inheritance in determining one’s personality-No, It doesnt describe the role.
D. to indicate that there have been few experiments in the past linking behavior and life experience-No, nothign about few experiments is mentioned
E. to lay the foundation for the development of epigenetics-Out of scope.



3. Which of the following may be inferred from the passage?

A. It is quite likely for twins to develop different personality traits- No, not quite likely. Only in the event when one of them has gone thru a life altering experience
B. Resetting the changes introduced by corresponding methyl groups can help cure cancer-No, Mthyl group ataching to DNA due to diet changes may cause cancer but detaching it will undo cancer is no where to be found and thus cant be inferred. What if cancer is irrevocable?
C. Most cancers are caused due to one’s life experiences rather than due to one’s genetic make-up-No, Not always.
D. Traumatic experiences that activate dormant genes can bring about behavioral changes.-Correct, Trauma can bring BT.
E. Identical twins who have led different lives are likely to have different behavioral traits.
D[/spoiler- No, not always.

4. In the context of this passage, what is the importance of the example illustrating how cancer is caused?

A. It proved that life experiences can alter a person’s personality traits- No, it tells that dormant genes can cause cancer.
B. It provided definitive proof of personality change in a person much later in his life-No, its not a "Definitive" proof, its an observation.
C. It showed that genes that may be dormant could be activated by external triggers many years after birth-Correct, this is what the example illustrates.
D. It led to the coining of the term - epigenetics.-No, out of scope.
E. It led to a boom in the study of Behavioral genetics-No, out of scope.

[spoiler=]C


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The role of nurturing in determining one’s behavioral traits  [#permalink]

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New post 12 Sep 2018, 06:32
1
P1 - nurturing + behavioral traits ; geneticists plays little role in shaping one’s behavioral traits
P2 - methyl groups + DNA + cells
P3 - Discovery in P2 + Behavioral geneticists by examples.

Main point - nurturing + behavioral traits are explained with examples.
Tone - informative.
---------------------------------------

1. The primary purpose of the passage is to

A. propose a new framework that incorporates the role of genetics and the role to life experiences in determining an individual’s behavioral traits. - looks close but when this situation pick words ask, is it this ? is it "new framework" ? Also is it "determining" "behavioral traits" ? like C shaping one’s behavioral traits. "determining" is used when more like you need to tell which one of these is something.
B. summarize the new research on behavioral traits and inheritance. - No research on inheritance.
C. present findings indicating that, like inheritance, nurturing plays a role in shaping one’s behavioral traits - Balanced tone. all 3 paragraphs are likely covered.
D. argue through new findings that life experiences play a vital role in shaping an individual’s behavioral traits. - 'argue ' is extreme word. Argue is for place when author is trying to prove something with reasons. author is just informative here.
E. establish a causal relationship between an individual’s life experiences and his reaction to stressful situations. - Only P3

----------------------------------------
2. Why does the author state highlighted text:
What to do - Read a line before this part.
Pre-think - Highlighted text is explaining that "geneticists believed that behavioral traits are inherited"

A. to provide a reason for geneticists belief that behavioral traits are inherited.

----------------------------------------
3. Which of the following may be inferred from the passage?
What to do - Read every option. if you can eliminate some then good. look for passage once you read all choices.
I end up eliminating B and C in one Go for rest i have to read specific part.


A. It is quite likely for twins to develop different personality traits. - likely defines surety ~90%. 'can' could have made this choice promising.
B. Resetting the changes introduced by corresponding methyl groups can help cure cancer. - Cure is never mentioned.
C. Most cancers are caused due to one’s life experiences rather than due to one’s genetic make-up. - We dont know much about Most.
D. Traumatic experiences that activate dormant genes can bring about behavioral changes. - smallest scope. just defined a possibility. 1st line of P3 is on same lines. Best of the lot.
E. Identical twins who have led different lives are likely to have different behavioral traits. - Again same explanation as A.

-----------------------------------------
4. In the context of this passage, what is the importance of the example illustrating how cancer is caused?
What to do - anchor phrase is "how cancer is caused" this is defined in 2nd half of P2.
Pre-thinking - what is the importance of the example? Well this example described "telling the DNA what kind of cells to form."

C. It showed that genes that may be dormant could be activated by external triggers many years after birth. - This one is closest of all.
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Re: The role of nurturing in determining one’s behavioral traits  [#permalink]

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New post 13 Sep 2018, 01:27
For question 1
C. present findings indicating that, like inheritance, nurturing plays a role in shaping one’s behavioral traits -
D. argue through new findings that life experiences play a vital role in shaping an individual’s behavioral traits. -

/I am confused between C and D . Not convinced with the explanation above. Can anyone help
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Re: The role of nurturing in determining one’s behavioral traits  [#permalink]

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New post 13 Sep 2018, 01:41
1
aftergmat wrote:
For question 1
C. present findings indicating that, like inheritance, nurturing plays a role in shaping one’s behavioral traits -
D. argue through new findings that life experiences play a vital role in shaping an individual’s behavioral traits. -

/I am confused between C and D . Not convinced with the explanation above. Can anyone help


Let me try one more time. So how to answer Main point questions:

- answer choice must be covering whole passage not the summaries of individual parts. How an answer do that? Well a combination of all paragraphs
- use POE to eliminate other choices. --- I think you are able to eliminate A,B and E
- have a reasonable explanation of why this choice is right. ---- So what is the reasonable explanation for C and D.
- Look for the vocab and it must match with the Tone of the passage. In whole passage author never used any extreme words So main point can not be an argument. Think of it as you are the writer of this abstract. you are saying all this to someone. Someone told you that you are arguing. How will you react? Is it argument? In general look for the tone of the passage. Usually tone questions do not appear in GMAT but they really decide the vocab used in options.

Let me know if you have any kind of doubts.
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Re: The role of nurturing in determining one’s behavioral traits  [#permalink]

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New post 13 Sep 2018, 11:07
I don't like C here.It should have been "nurturing environment" instead of just plain "nurturing".Nurturing does not do anything here.The passage is about
experiences and its effect.Marked D hence.

In the present format just "Nurturing" does not do justice at all
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The role of nurturing in determining one’s behavioral traits  [#permalink]

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New post 07 Oct 2018, 00:08
workout This initiative of RC butler is really great and I think it is helping a lot of people as well. I a personally benefiting a lot out of it.
I don't know if it is possible or not but I was thinking can you start mentioning the ideal time that should be taken to finish each passage depending on length, difficulty etc. that we can start monitoring if we are moving in the right direction towards timing??
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The role of nurturing in determining one’s behavioral traits &nbs [#permalink] 07 Oct 2018, 00:08
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