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There are some basic conceptual problems hovering about the widespread

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There are some basic conceptual problems hovering about the widespread  [#permalink]

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New Project RC Butler 2019 - Practice 2 RC Passages Everyday
Passage # 130, Date : 06-APR-2019
This post is a part of New Project RC Butler 2019. Click here for Details


There are some basic conceptual problems
hovering about the widespread use of brain scans as
pictures of mental activity. As applied to medical
diagnosis (for example, in diagnosing a brain tumor),
(5) a brain scan is similar in principle to an X-ray: it
is a way of seeing inside the body. Its value is
straightforward and indubitable. However, the use of
neuroimaging in psychology is a fundamentally
different kind of enterprise. It is a research method the
(10) validity of which depends on a premise: that the
mind can be analyzed into separate and distinct modules,
or components, and further that these modules are
instantiated in localized brain regions. This premise
is known as the modular theory of mind.

(15) It may in fact be that neither mental activity,
nor the physical processes that constitute it, are
decomposable into independent modules. Psychologist
William Uttal contends that rather than distinct
entities, the various mental processes are likely to be
(20) properties of a more general mental activity that is
distributed throughout the brain. It cannot be said,
for instance, that the amygdala is the seat of emotion
and the prefrontal cortex is the seat of reason, as the
popular press sometimes claims. For when I get angry,
(25) I generally do so for a reason. To cleanly
separate emotion from reason-giving makes a hash of
human experience.

But if this critique of the modular theory of mind
is valid, how can one account for the fact that brain
(30) scans do, in fact, reveal well-defined areas that
"light up" in response to various cognitive tasks? In the case
of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI),
what you are seeing when you look at a brain scan is
actually the result of a subtraction. The fMRI is
(35) usually interpreted as a map of the rate of
oxygen use in different parts of the brain, which stands as a
measure of metabolic activity. But what it actually
depicts is the differential rate of oxygen use: one first
takes a baseline measurement in the control condition,
(40) then a second measurement while the subject is
performing some cognitive task. The baseline
measurement is then subtracted from the on-task
measurement. The reasoning, seemingly plausible, is
that whatever remains after the subtraction represents
(45) the metabolic activity associated solely with the
cognitive task in question.

One immediately obvious (but usually
unremarked) problem is that this method obscures the
fact that the entire brain is active in both conditions.
(50) A false impression of neat functional localization is
given by differential brain scans that subtract out all
the distributed brain functions. This subtractive
method produces striking images of the brain at work.
But isn't the modular theory of mind ultimately
(55) attractive in part because it is illustrated so well by
the products of the subtractive method?
1) Which one of the following most accurately states the main point of the passage?

(A) In spite of troubling conceptual problems surrounding brain scan technology, its use in psychological research on mental activity has grown rapidly.
(B) The use of brain scans to depict mental activity relies on both a questionable premise and a misleading methodological approach.
(C) Contrary to what is usually asserted in the popular press, reason and emotion are probably not located in the prefrontal cortex and the amygdala, respectively.
(D) Although the fMRI is usually interpreted as a measure of metabolic activity in the brain, this interpretation is misguided and therefore leads to false results.
(E) The modular theory of mind has gained wide currency precisely because it is illustrated effectively by the images produced by the subtractive method.


2) According to the modular theory of mind, as described in the passage, mental activity

(A) consists of distinct components in localized areas of the brain
(B) requires at least some metabolic activity in all parts of the brain
(C) involves physical processes over which people have only limited control
(D) is localized in the amygdala and the prefrontal cortex
(E) generally involves some sort of reason-giving


3) The author of the passage would be most likely to agree with which one of the following statements regarding the subtractive method?

(A) Because the subtractive method masks distributed brain functions, empirical results derived using the method are invalid for medical applications.
(B) The subtractive method results in images that strongly support Uttal's view that mental processes are simply properties of a more general mental activity.
(C) Brain scans of individuals experiencing anger that were produced using the subtractive method show that emotions are not actually seated in the amygdala.
(D) The subtractive method seems to strongly support the modular theory of mind because it creates an illusion that brain functions are localized.
(E) The view that the subtractive method depicts differential rates of oxygen use in the brain is based on a fundamental misconception of the method.


4) The author draws an analogy between brain scans and X-rays primarily in order to

(A) contrast a valid use of brain scans with one of more doubtful value
(B) suggest that new technology can influence the popularity of a scientific theory
(C) point to evidence that brain scans are less precise than other available technologies
(D) argue that X-ray images undermine a theory that brain scans are often used to support
(E) show how brain scan technology evolved from older technologies such as X-rays


5) According to the passage, psychologist William Uttal contends that the various mental processes are likely to be

(A) independent modules that are based in different areas of the brain
(B) essentially an amalgamation of emotion and reason
(C) generally uniform in their rates of oxygen use
(D) detectable using brain scans enhanced by means of the subtractive method
(E) features of a general mental activity that is spread throughout the brain


6) Which one of the following statements is most strongly supported by the passage?

(A) Although there are important exceptions, most cognition does in fact depend on independent modules located in specific regions of the brain.
(B) The modular theory of mind holds that regions of the brain that are not engaged in a specific cognitive task have a rate of oxygen use that is close to zero.
(C) During the performance of certain cognitive tasks, the areas of the brain that are most metabolically active show a rate of oxygen use that is higher than that of the rest of the brain.
(D) The baseline measurements of oxygen use taken for use in the subtractive method show that some regions of the brain have high metabolic activity at all times.
(E) When a brain scan subject experiences anger, the subtractive method shows several regions of the brain as "lit up" with metabolic activity.




  • Source: LSAT Official PrepTest 80 (Dec-2016)
  • Difficulty Level: 650

Originally posted by akanshaxo on 16 Feb 2019, 22:50.
Last edited by SajjadAhmad on 11 Oct 2019, 23:36, edited 1 time in total.
Updated - Complete topic (950).
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Re: There are some basic conceptual problems hovering about the widespread  [#permalink]

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New post 22 Mar 2019, 11:36
Can you explain why answer of Q6 is c?
We are sure of a differential oxygen use but how can we be sure that metabloic activity and use of oxygen is directly proportional?
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Re: There are some basic conceptual problems hovering about the widespread  [#permalink]

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New post 10 Apr 2019, 04:04
1
Interesting passage; all correct in 12 mins 30 seconds, including almost 6 mins to read

Para 1- problems about the widespread use of brain scans as pictures of mental activity; modular theory of mind
Para 2- William Uttal the various mental processes are likely to be properties of a more general mental activity that is distributed throughout the brain
Para 3- fMRI - differential rate of oxygen use
Para 4- issue with fMRI method- obscures the fact that the entire brain is active in both conditions.

1) Which one of the following most accurately states the main point of the passage?
(B) The use of brain scans to depict mental activity relies on both a questionable premise and a misleading methodological approach.- Correct- the questionable premise is the modular theory of mind and misleading methodological approach is subtraction method used in fMRI

2) According to the modular theory of mind, as described in the passage, mental activity
(A) consists of distinct components in localized areas of the brain - Correct

3) The author of the passage would be most likely to agree with which one of the following statements regarding the subtractive method?
(D) The subtractive method seems to strongly support the modular theory of mind because it creates an illusion that brain functions are localized. - Correct

A false impression of neat functional localization is given by differential brain scans that subtract out all the distributed brain functions. This subtractive method produces striking images of the brain at work.
But isn't the modular theory of mind ultimately attractive in part because it is illustrated so well by the products of the subtractive method?

4) The author draws an analogy between brain scans and X-rays primarily in order to
(A) contrast a valid use of brain scans with one of more doubtful value- Correct

As applied to medical diagnosis (for example, in diagnosing a brain tumor),a brain scan is similar in principle to an X-ray: it is a way of seeing inside the body. Its value is straightforward and indubitable. However, the use of neuroimaging in psychology is a fundamentally different kind of enterprise.

5) According to the passage, psychologist William Uttal contends that the various mental processes are likely to be
(E) features of a general mental activity that is spread throughout the brain- Correct
Psychologist William Uttal contends that rather than distinct entities, the various mental processes are likely to be properties of a more general mental activity that is distributed throughout the brain.

6) Which one of the following statements is most strongly supported by the passage?
(C) During the performance of certain cognitive tasks, the areas of the brain that are most metabolically active show a rate of oxygen use that is higher than that of the rest of the brain.- Correct

The fMRI is usually interpreted as a map of the rate of oxygen use in different parts of the brain, which stands as a measure of metabolic activity.
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Re: There are some basic conceptual problems hovering about the widespread  [#permalink]

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New post 11 Apr 2019, 09:01
Raj30 wrote:
Can you explain why answer of Q6 is c?
We are sure of a differential oxygen use but how can we be sure that metabloic activity and use of oxygen is directly proportional?

For question #6, the question stem asks us to find which answer choice is "most strongly supported by the passage." So we do not necessarily need to "be sure" that (C) is fully supported by the passage -- we only need to determine that it is more strongly supported than are the rest of the answer choices.

With that in mind, your best bet on this question is POE to eliminate all of the incorrect options. Let's go through the answer choices:

Quote:
(A) Although there are important exceptions, most cognition does in fact depend on independent modules located in specific regions of the brain.

This is essentially the opposite of the author's main idea, which is that "it may in fact be that neither mental activity, nor the physical processes that constitute it, are decomposable into independent modules." (A) is out.

Quote:
(B) The modular theory of mind holds that regions of the brain that are not engaged in a specific cognitive task have a rate of oxygen use that is close to zero.

This contradicts the information in the passage, which examines the "subtractive method" of interpreting brain scans. The author notes that "this method obscures the fact that the entire brain is active in both conditions." So, the passage does not support the idea that some regions of the brain have a rate of oxygen use close to zero when not engaged in a specific task. Eliminate (B).

Quote:
(C) During the performance of certain cognitive tasks, the areas of the brain that are most metabolically active show a rate of oxygen use that is higher than that of the rest of the brain.

Notice that this answer choice is not making a statement about scans using the subtractive method. Instead, it is merely claiming that during certain tasks, the most "metabolically active" areas of the brain show a higher rate of oxygen use than the rest of the brain.

From the passage, we know that "the fMRI is usually interpreted as a map of the rate of oxygen use in different parts of the brain, which stands as a measure of metabolic activity." So, the parts of the brain that are most metabolically active show the highest rate of oxygen use. (C) is the correct answer.

It is easy to get turned around in this answer choice by attempting to apply it to the differential scans. For example, what if a certain region of the brain is always highly active, and maintains this high level of activity during any given cognitive task? It could be the most active region of the brain, but not be "lit up" at all on a differential scan, because the baseline measurement would be the same as the second measurement. However, this doesn't change the fact that the most metabolically active region of the brain will show the highest rate of oxygen usage.

This is why it is important to look at the exact wording of the answer choice. (C) is our answer.

Quote:
(D) The baseline measurements of oxygen use taken for use in the subtractive method show that some regions of the brain have high metabolic activity at all times.

The passage explains that "baseline measurement is... subtracted from the on-task measurement" to give a differential reading. However, it does not give any specific information about what the baseline levels for any region of the brain actually are. For this reason, (D) is out.

Quote:
(E) When a brain scan subject experiences anger, the subtractive method shows several regions of the brain as "lit up" with metabolic activity.

Here is the piece of the passage relevant to answer choice (E):
Quote:
"It cannot be said, for instance, that the amygdala is the seat of emotion and the prefrontal cortex is the seat of reason, as the popular press sometimes claims. For when I get angry, I generally do so for a reason. To cleanly separate emotion from reason-giving makes a hash of human experience.

Here, the author argues that one cannot cleanly separate anger into one specific region of the brain, which seems to support the idea that "when a brain scan subject experiences anger, the subtractive method shows several regions of the brain as 'lit up,'" as expressed in (E).

However, the passage does not reveal how anger would actually appear on an fMRI readout. Maybe the result would support the author's contention, and maybe it would not. Because this information is not given, we cannot say that answer choice (E) is well supported by the passage.

This leaves us with (C) as the "most strongly supported" answer choice.

I hope that helps!
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There are some basic conceptual problems hovering about the widespread  [#permalink]

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New post 18 Dec 2019, 00:51
1
Hi everyone,

Got all correct in 14:40 minutes.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


P1

In paragraph one we are given that brain scans in relation to mental activity are subject to some debate. While their value usually is very direct and indubitable, when brain scans are used in psychology we cannot say the same. Such usage in psychology relies on a premise according to which brain scans show images that are made of modules and such modules are related to specific areas of the brain. The premise represents the so called modular theory of mind

Brief summary: The debate over brain scans and the modular theory of mind


P2

Paragraph 2 puts some shadows over the modular theory of mind. In fact it might be the case that neither mental activity nor physical processes can be shown in specific and independent modules. W.U. says that mental activity and physical processes that regulate the latter are distributed throughout the brain. Consequently we cannot confine reason and emotion in two different and independent areas of the brain like the press is used to do. This reasoning is because when we experience an emotion there usually is a reason for it.

Brief summary: A view contrasting the modular theory of mind


P3

Paragraph 3 introduces a further contrast. If what is claimed by W.U. is true, how is it possible that the brain scans show indeed mental activity confined in specific areas of the brain. For example, we could consider the Fmri images. Such images take into consideration the oxygen absorption rate as an indicator of mental activity. " images are taken. The first one is taken before the cognitive task is performed and the second one is taken when the cognitive task is performed. Then a subtraction is made and the resulting image shows, apparently, only the mental activity/physical process associated with the cognitive task performed.

Brief summary: Fmri images seem to support the modular theory of mind


P4

Paragraph 4 casts doubts on the modular theory of mind. First the Fmri method does not consider that the brain is active before and during the performance of the cognitive task. Secondly we are given that the subtraction gives us a false impression of brain's activity. Lastly the author tells us that since the modular theory of mind relies on such subtraction method, the theory is flawed.

Brief summary: the modular theory of mind seems to be flawed

Main point

The main point is to evaluate the modular theory of mind and conclude that it is flawed


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

1) Which one of the following most accurately states the main point of the passage?

Pre-thinking

Main point question

Refer to main point and summaries above


(A) In spite of troubling conceptual problems surrounding brain scan technology, its use in psychological research on mental activity has grown rapidly.
The author is not concerned with the growth of the theory's usage

(B) The use of brain scans to depict mental activity relies on both a questionable premise and a misleading methodological approach.
Seems in line with our pre-thought main point

(C) Contrary to what is usually asserted in the popular press, reason and emotion are probably not located in the prefrontal cortex and the amygdala, respectively.
Partial scope

(D) Although the fMRI is usually interpreted as a measure of metabolic activity in the brain, this interpretation is misguided and therefore leads to false results.
The passage is not about Fmri but the modular theory of mind

(E) The modular theory of mind has gained wide currency precisely because it is illustrated effectively by the images produced by the subtractive method.
The author is not concerned with why the modular theory of mind has gained currency but with why it is flawed.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


2) According to the modular theory of mind, as described in the passage, mental activity

Pre-thinking

Detail question

From P1: "that the
mind can be analyzed into separate and distinct modules,
or components, and further that these modules are
instantiated in localized brain regions. This premise
is known as the modular theory of mind.
"


(A) consists of distinct components in localized areas of the brain
In line with pre-thinking

(B) requires at least some metabolic activity in all parts of the brain
Not mentioned

(C) involves physical processes over which people have only limited control
Not mentioned

(D) is localized in the amygdala and the prefrontal cortex
Not mentioned

(E) generally involves some sort of reason-giving
Not mentioned



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


3) The author of the passage would be most likely to agree with which one of the following statements regarding the subtractive method?

Pre-thinking

Inference question

All the last paragraph is dedicated to cast doubts on such method. Hence we know that the author thinks that such method is not very accurate nor representative


(A) Because the subtractive method masks distributed brain functions, empirical results derived using the method are invalid for medical applications.
Medical applications are never discussed

(B) The subtractive method results in images that strongly support Uttal's view that mental processes are simply properties of a more general mental activity.
Opposite

(C) Brain scans of individuals experiencing anger that were produced using the subtractive method show that emotions are not actually seated in the amygdala.
The author does not believe that emotions can be confined In specific areas of the brain

(D) The subtractive method seems to strongly support the modular theory of mind because it creates an illusion that brain functions are localized.
Indeed the author thinks that one method supports the other theory and that the results obtained from the subtraction methods are illusions.

(E) The view that the subtractive method depicts differential rates of oxygen use in the brain is based on a fundamental misconception of the method.
For what we know the representation of differential rates of oxygen use is correct



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


4) The author draws an analogy between brain scans and X-rays primarily in order to

Pre-thinking

Purpose question

Te author states that both the scans are used to look into someone's brain but that the applications of such scans have different implications when we talk about psychology


(A) contrast a valid use of brain scans with one of more doubtful value
As pre-thought during the pre-thinking stage the author intends to present a contrast

For a better understanding let's look at the structure: " it
is a way of seeing inside the body. Its value is
straightforward and indubitable
. [color=#ff0000]However
, the use of
neuroimaging in psychology is a fundamentally
different kind of enterprise.[/color]
"


We are given that one usage is direct and always valuable while a second usage may not be as direct and as valuable as the first one


(B) suggest that new technology can influence the popularity of a scientific theory
Popularity is never considered

(C) point to evidence that brain scans are less precise than other available technologies
Such comparison is never made

(D) argue that X-ray images undermine a theory that brain scans are often used to support
out of scope

(E) show how brain scan technology evolved from older technologies such as X-rays
We don't know whether the x-ray technology is older than brain scans or not



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


5) According to the passage, psychologist William Uttal contends that the various mental processes are likely to be

Pre-thinking

Detail question

From P2: "Psychologist
William Uttal contends that rather than distinct
entities, the various mental processes are likely to be
(20) properties of a more general mental activity that is
distributed throughout the brain.
"


(A) independent modules that are based in different areas of the brain
Not in line with pre-thinking

(B) essentially an amalgamation of emotion and reason
Not in line with pre-thinking

(C) generally uniform in their rates of oxygen use
Not in line with pre-thinking

(D) detectable using brain scans enhanced by means of the subtractive method
Not in line with pre-thinking

(E) features of a general mental activity that is spread throughout the brain
in line with pre-thinking



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


6) Which one of the following statements is most strongly supported by the passage?

Pre-thinking

Inference question

Let's evaluate the single options


(A) Although there are important exceptions, most cognition does in fact depend on independent modules located in specific regions of the brain.
not supported.

(B) The modular theory of mind holds that regions of the brain that are not engaged in a specific cognitive task have a rate of oxygen use that is close to zero.
The rate of oxygen itself is never discussed. We can infer however that the rate of oxygen in the areas of the brain that are not involved in the performance of cognitive tasks is lower than the one related to the areas involved in such tasks

(C) During the performance of certain cognitive tasks, the areas of the brain that are most metabolically active show a rate of oxygen use that is higher than that of the rest of the brain.
[b]In line with our pre-thought inference in option B[/b]

(D) The baseline measurements of oxygen use taken for use in the subtractive method show that some regions of the brain have high metabolic activity at all times.
Extreme

(E) When a brain scan subject experiences anger, the subtractive method shows several regions of the brain as "lit up" with metabolic activity.
It seems that the passage would suggest that just one area would be highlighted


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


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There are some basic conceptual problems hovering about the widespread   [#permalink] 18 Dec 2019, 00:51

There are some basic conceptual problems hovering about the widespread

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