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# The use of lie detectors is based on the assumption that lying produce

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Mavisdu1017 wrote:
Hello expert,
I know meaning is the king, so when I did this question I asked myself “what creates physiological response? the person OR emotional reactions?” .
But I think both the two make sense (even “the person creates” is more reasonable), so I don’t know how to choose between A and E. Could you have some other ways to deal with this question? Thanks in advance.

With option E, the sentence is:

The use of lie detectors is based on the assumption that lying produces emotional reactions in an individual who creates unconscious physiological responses in turn.

Notice that who is not preceded by a comma, and hence, is used as an "essential modifier".

So, the meaning coming out in E is that lying produces emotional reactions only in those individuals who create unconscious physiological responses.

This is clearly not the intended meaning; the intended meaning is that lying produces emotional reactions in all individuals (who are lying).

p.s. Our book EducationAisle Sentence Correction Nirvana discusses Essential and non-essential modifiers, their application and examples in significant detail. If you or someone is interested, PM me your email-id; I can mail the corresponding section.
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Mavisdu1017 wrote:
Hello expert,
I know meaning is the king, so when I did this question I asked myself “what creates physiological response? the person OR emotional reactions?” .
But I think both the two make sense (even “the person creates” is more reasonable), so I don’t know how to choose between A and E. Could you have some other ways to deal with this question? Thanks in advance.

EducationalAisle does a good job explaining this above. Another question that I think has a similar issue is here:

https://gmatclub.com/forum/some-anthrop ... 0variation.

The difference between 'suffered an event, greatly reducing their numbers' and 'suffered an event that greatly reduced their numbers' is a wonderfully subtle but important difference. In the first, it's not clear the event itself is what reduced their numbers, but it was their suffering an event. Was the event a mild bout of food poisoning? Or losing a bet in a horse race? How does 'suffering an event' greatly reduce their numbers? But the second specifies what *kind* of event they suffered--the kind that reduces their numbers.
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Mavisdu1017 wrote:
Hello expert,
I know meaning is the king, so when I did this question I asked myself “what creates physiological response? the person OR emotional reactions?” .
But I think both the two make sense (even “the person creates” is more reasonable), so I don’t know how to choose between A and E.

No need to choose between the two meanings: the GMAT has made this choice for us.
If the original sentence conveys a logical meaning, then the correct answer should retain that meaning.
Here, A conveys a logical meaning.
Since E distorts this meaning, eliminate E and select A.
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GMATGuruNY wrote:
Mavisdu1017 wrote:
Hello expert,
I know meaning is the king, so when I did this question I asked myself “what creates physiological response? the person OR emotional reactions?” .
But I think both the two make sense (even “the person creates” is more reasonable), so I don’t know how to choose between A and E.

No need to choose between the two meanings: the GMAT has made this choice for us.
If the original sentence conveys a logical meaning, then the correct answer should retain that meaning.
Here, A conveys a logical meaning.
Since E distorts this meaning, eliminate E and select A.

Hello GMATGuruNY,

We hope this finds you well.

To answer your query, on GMAT, if the first answer choice conveys a logical meaning, you should assume that meaning as the baseline; an answer choice that conveys a different meaning is only acceptable, if the first answer choice is grammatically incorrect, and the other answer choice is error-free.

Since in this question, Option A conveys a logical meaning and has no grammatical errors, Option A is correct.

We hope this helps.

All the best!
Experts' Global Team

We hope this helps.
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GMATGuruNY wrote:
If the original sentence conveys a logical meaning, then the correct answer should retain that meaning.
ExpertsGlobal5 wrote:
To answer your query, on GMAT, if the first answer choice conveys a logical meaning, you should assume that meaning as the baseline; an answer choice that conveys a different meaning is only acceptable, if the first answer choice is grammatically incorrect, and the other answer choice is error-free.

I'd be happy to understand the reasoning behind this piece of advice, but I currently cannot see how it can be correct.

If any forum member is interested in a contrary opinion, I can't say whether the advice above used to be true in the past (long ago?), but I don't think that it's a good idea to use option A as a baseline. My advice is to look at option A as if it were option B (or C, or D, or E). Or, more directly, option A is not "special". This is something that GMAC itself has confirmed in the past during meetings with test prep professionals: option A is not special in any way, and they work to ensure that every option has as close to a 20% probability of being correct as possible. This has been their position for at least the last ~10 years.

Also, as instructors, are we benefiting from prior knowledge of the kind that a test taker would not have access to? It may be that it's just easier to assert that a meaning is "logical" (or not) after we know the answer.

To be clear, my opinion is limited to this specific point. My reply does not mean that I disagree with any other portion of the incredibly helpful replies in this thread.
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AjiteshArun wrote:
GMATGuruNY wrote:
If the original sentence conveys a logical meaning, then the correct answer should retain that meaning.

I'd be happy to understand the reasoning behind this piece of advice, but I currently cannot see how it can be correct.

It is of course best to eliminate each incorrect answer for a clear and concrete reason, irrespective of the other answer choices.
As noted in my earlier post, the meaning conveyed by E is -- on its own -- nonsensical:
It is not possible for an individual to create UNCONSCIOUS responses.

That said, an earlier poster was unable to discern the meaning error in E and requested a different way to eliminate this answer choice.

When I work with a student, my goal is to teach not only knowledge but also strategy.
Many students request to work with me after months or even years of study, whether on their own or in other venues.
Often, these students possess the requisite knowledge to ace the GMAT but lack the necessary test-taking skills.
Simply put, these students have not yet mastered HOW to take the test.
My job to help them master this crucial skill.

Virtually all students will, at some point in their studies, find themselves torn between two answer choices in an SC.
If a student taking the GMAT is torn between A and another choice -- and the student is unable to cite a clear error in either option -- a choice must still be made.
Such is the nature of a multiple-choice test.
Given this situation, it is generally safer to stick with the original sentence.
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GMATGuruNY wrote:
Virtually all students will, at some point in their studies, find themselves torn between two answer choices in an SC.
If a student taking the GMAT is torn between A and another choice -- and the student is unable to cite a clear error in either option -- a choice must still be made.
Such is the nature of a multiple-choice test.
Given this situation, it is generally safer to stick with the original sentence.

That ("two answer choices") does happen and test-taking skills are important. That's why I think it's essential that test takers have the right information and tools, so that they are in the best possible position to take a decision in such situations. If we view option A as being (inherently) "safer", that may compromise a test taker's decision-making process.

Thank you for explaining the reasoning behind your opinion.
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AjiteshArun wrote:
GMATGuruNY wrote:
Virtually all students will, at some point in their studies, find themselves torn between two answer choices in an SC.
If a student taking the GMAT is torn between A and another choice -- and the student is unable to cite a clear error in either option -- a choice must still be made.
Such is the nature of a multiple-choice test.
Given this situation, it is generally safer to stick with the original sentence.

That ("two answer choices") does happen and test-taking skills are important. That's why I think it's essential that test takers have the right information and tools, so that they are in the best possible position to take a decision in such situations. If we view option A as being (inherently) "safer", that may compromise a test taker's decision-making process.

Thank you for explaining the reasoning behind your opinion.

Always up for a nice debate.

Tellingly, GMAC itself expects us to use A to determine the intended meaning.
Under Test-Taking Strategies, the OG offers the following as Step 1 for an SC:

Try to understand the specific idea or relationship that the sentence should express.

If the original sentence expresses a logical meaning and is free of errors, we can eliminate any answer choice that distorts the intended meaning.
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GMATGuruNY wrote:
Always up for a nice debate.

Tellingly, GMAC itself expects us to use A to determine the intended meaning.
Under Test-Taking Strategies, the OG offers the following as Step 1 for an SC:

Try to understand the specific idea or relationship that the sentence should express.

If the original sentence expresses a logical meaning and is free of errors, we can eliminate any answer choice that distorts the intended meaning.

I know each reply involves an investment of time, so thank you once again for taking the time to explain your reasoning.

That portion of the OG was probably not written to address the issue we're discussing, but I understand that the OG is an official GMAC product. Here are some observations:
1. Although they do ask us to understand the specific idea or relationship that the sentence should express, we may be reading those instructions differently, because should is somewhat ambiguous. That sentence tells me that they want us to figure out what the sentence should say, not what it does say.

2. That's item 1 in the section on test-taking strategies, but there's also item 3:
Quote:
The first answer choice always repeats the underlined portion of the original sentence. Choose this answer if you think that the sentence is best as originally written, but do so only after examining all the other choices.

They emphasise only after. Interestingly, they didn't do this in really old OGs.

I'm not sure whether my previous point (2) is relevant, because, again, the section on test-taking strategies was not really meant to address the "option A" issue, but the responses from GMAC in the meetings that I mentioned were. That is, audience members asked the chief psychometrician questions about the GMAT, and this specific question did come up (multiple instructors). His response was that option A is not special in any way, and that it may or may not carry the intended meaning. This question came up a few more times over the years, though not from as many people.

Personally speaking, I think GMAC can't take a risk with something like this. They can't assume that a test taker has access to any material or instructions other than what is included in the actual (current) GMAT. And what they say before the verbal section about SC comes down to just this: choose the best option.

For forum members who are interested in comparing the current instructions with the old instructions (underlining and emphasis mine):
Old instructions, SC wrote:
Sentence correction questions present a sentence, part or all of which is underlined. Beneath the sentence, you will find five ways of phrasing the underlined passage. The first answer choice repeats the original; the other four are different. If you think the original phrasing is best, choose the first answer; otherwise choose one of the others.

This type of question tests your ability to recognize the correctness and effectiveness of expression in standard written English. In choosing your answer, follow the requirements of standard written English; that is, pay attention to grammar, choice of words, and sentence construction. Choose the answer that produces the most effective sentence; this answer should be clear and exact, without awkwardness, ambiguity, redundancy, or grammatical error.

Earlier, the GMAT included phrases like "choose the first answer" and "without awkwardness".
Current instructions, SC wrote:
Each of the sentence correction questions presents a sentence, part or all of which is underlined. Beneath the sentence you will find five ways of phrasing the underlined part. The first of these repeats the original; the other four are different. Follow the requirements of standard written English to choose your answer, paying attention to grammar, word choice, and sentence construction. Select the answer that produces the most effective sentence; your answer should make the sentence clear, exact, and free of grammatical error. It should also minimize awkwardness, ambiguity, and redundancy.

Now the GMAT doesn't mention the first option at all, except to tell us that the first option is the same as the underlined portion. It also acknowledges that awkwardness, ambiguity, and redundancy are not absolute errors.
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AjiteshArun:

Your concern would be bolstered if official SCs could be found in which A conveys a wholly logical meaning, but the correct answer -- B, C, D or E -- conveys a significantly different logical meaning.

To flesh out the reasoning a bit more:
According to GMAC, we are to use option A to understand the specific idea or relationship that the sentence should express.
Thus, if the original sentence conveys a logical meaning, it stands to reason that this meaning represents what the sentence should express.
Implication:
An answer choice that distorts this meaning can be eliminated.
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GMATGuruNY wrote:
AjiteshArun:

Your concern would be bolstered if official SCs could be found in which A conveys a wholly logical meaning, but the correct answer -- B, C, D or E -- conveys a significantly different logical meaning.

To flesh out the reasoning a bit more:
According to GMAC, we are to use option A to understand the specific idea or relationship that the sentence should express.
Thus, if the original sentence conveys a logical meaning, it stands to reason that this meaning represents what the sentence should express.
Implication:
An answer choice that distorts this meaning can be eliminated.

I hesitate to consider an analysis based on a few official questions adequate support for the claim that option A is inherently safer, but a better way to test whether your advice works would be to check, when a test taker is unable to identify a meaning error in multiple options and is stuck trying to choose between A and B (or A and C or A and D or A and E), whether marking one option, A, really, consistently, beats every other option. Anything else increases the risk that we'll fall into the classic instructor trap of generating advice that requires prior knowledge of the answer to be applied reliably.

My main objective here is to provide test takers more information so that they can take the best decision for themselves, so it's worth noting that this is not really my concern as much as it is my trying to report what GMAC has said (on multiple occasions) about the precise question we're discussing. Personally speaking, I think their response (that no option is special, every option must have as close to a 20% probability of being correct as possible, and more that I'd have to go back to my notes for) is reasonable. I also think that they would watch for bias in answer patterns and perform key randomisation if that's something they do.
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AjiteshArun wrote:
GMATGuruNY wrote:
AjiteshArun:

Your concern would be bolstered if official SCs could be found in which A conveys a wholly logical meaning, but the correct answer -- B, C, D or E -- conveys a significantly different logical meaning.

To flesh out the reasoning a bit more:
According to GMAC, we are to use option A to understand the specific idea or relationship that the sentence should express.
Thus, if the original sentence conveys a logical meaning, it stands to reason that this meaning represents what the sentence should express.
Implication:
An answer choice that distorts this meaning can be eliminated.

I hesitate to consider an analysis based on a few official questions adequate support for the claim that option A is inherently safer, but a better way to test whether your advice works would be to check, when a test taker is unable to identify a meaning error in multiple options and is stuck trying to choose between A and B (or A and C or A and D or A and E), whether marking one option, A, really, consistently, beats every other option. Anything else increases the risk that we'll fall into the classic instructor trap of generating advice that requires prior knowledge of the answer to be applied reliably.

Over my 20+ years of tutoring, I have found that -- when a student is stuck between A and another option, and the student cannot cite a concrete error in A -- the correct answer turns out to be A in roughly 8 out of 10 cases.
Hence my contention that a student in this position would be wise to select A.
Of course, there are no guarantees.
Ideally, the student will discover an error in A or the other option and use this information to make the correct decision.
However, if the student is unable to find a clear error in either option, the student seems better off selecting A.

Interestingly, I think that many students are biased not toward A but against it.
Even if they cannot find a clear error in the original sentence, they fear that they might be overlooking something in A and convince themselves -- wrongly -- to pick another answer choice.
This might explain why I have found that students stuck between A and another option seem better off picking A.

Quote:
My main objective here is to provide test takers more information so that they can take the best decision for themselves, so it's worth noting that this is not really my concern as much as it is my trying to report what GMAC has said (on multiple occasions) about the precise question we're discussing. Personally speaking, I think their response (that no option is special, every option must have as close to a 20% probability of being correct as possible, and more that I'd have to go back to my notes for) is reasonable. I also think that they would watch for bias in answer patterns and perform key randomisation if that's something they do.

No one is disputing the information above.
The suggestion to pick A is not to suggest that A is a more common OA than B, C, D, or E.
The issue raised in an earlier post was constrained to meaning.
If the original sentence suggests that EMOTIONAL REACTIONS create unconscious responses -- and this meaning is logical -- the correct answer is not going to suggest that SOMETHING ELSE creates unconscious responses.
Offhand, I can't think of a single SC in which the original sentence expresses a logical meaning, but the OA expresses a significantly different meaning.
This line of reasoning does not in any way suggest that A is a more common OA than B, C, D, or E.
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GMATGuruNY wrote:
Over my 20+ years of tutoring, I have found that -- when a student is stuck between A and another option, and the student cannot cite a concrete error in A -- the correct answer turns out to be A in roughly 8 out of 10 cases.
Hence my contention that a student in this position would be wise to select A.
Of course, there are no guarantees.
Ideally, the student will discover an error in A or the other option and use this information to make the correct decision.
However, if the student is unable to find a clear error in either option, the student seems better off selecting A.

Fair enough. I respect the position your experience has led you to take, even if I don't agree with it.

I think forum members who may have seen multiple expert replies go one way but who are interested in thinking through this issue on their own now have more information on which to take a decision: That instructions for the actual GMAT do not say anything special about option A, and that GMAC has consistently refuted the claim that A is special or safer in any way, including in terms of meaning. The GMAT never makes a choice for us. As test takers, that's our job.

Thank you once again for taking the time to more completely explain the reasoning behind your opinion.
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AjiteshArun wrote:
[That instructions for the actual GMAT do not say anything special about option A, and that GMAC has consistently refuted the claim that A is special or safer in any way, including in terms of meaning. The GMAT never makes a choice for us. As test takers, that's our job.

Thank you once again for taking the time to more completely explain the reasoning behind your opinion.

My pleasure -- thanks for sharing your thoughts.
What happens in practice seems more important than what is claimed in the abstract.
Hundreds, if not thousands, of official SCs have been released over the years.
If it is possible for A to convey a logical meaning, while the correct answer conveys a significantly different meaning, it should be easy enough to find examples.
To my knowledge, no such SC exists.
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GMATNinja

Shouldn’t it be ‘those’ in place of ‘that’ to refer to a plural entity emotional reactions?

Originally posted by SushantSaini on 23 Jul 2022, 06:32.
Last edited by SushantSaini on 23 Jul 2022, 19:26, edited 1 time in total.
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SushantSaini wrote:
Shouldn???t it be ???those??? in place of ???that??? to refer to a plural entity emotional reactions?

Here I believe you're thinking about that and those as pronouns in a comparison sentence.
This instance of that, however, is something different: it introduces a modifier.

To illustrate the distinction, here's a sentence that uses both of these grammatical entities:

Movies that focus on male characters outnumber those that focus on female characters.

The instance of "that" in this problem is this type. You're trying to use a rule that applies to pronouns like this one and is therefore inapplicable here.
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flyinhair wrote:
The use of lie detectors is based on the assumption that lying produces emotional reactions in an individual that, in turn, create unconscious physiological responses.

(A) that, in turn, create unconscious physiological responses

(B) that creates unconscious physiological responses in turn

(C) creating, in turn, unconscious physiological responses

(D) to create, in turn, physiological responses that are unconscious

(E) who creates unconscious physiological responses in turn

OG16 SC129

Show SpoilerOfficial Explanation
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02.jpg

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How can we actually know that emotion reactions or an individual can create unconscious …. Response?

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