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# Twin Passages for practicing Main Point question

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e-GMAT Representative
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Twin Passages for practicing Main Point question  [#permalink]

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Updated on: 25 Jul 2018, 06:34
10
19
Hi folks,

http://gmatclub.com/forum/paragraph-sum ... 34468.html

In the above mentioned article, we discussed in details what a passage and a paragraph are and we presented a frame work to as to how we can summarize each paragraph and then synthesize them to arrive at main point of the a passage.

The same article also included details of characteristics of incorrect answer choices and the core skills you need to answer the main point question.

In this article, we have included two practice passages for main point question. Upon reading the passages, you will realize that both the passages are on the same topic. The idea behind this exercise is to show that two different passages written on the same subject matter can have two different main points.
Find it out for yourself. Read the passages, apply the framework provided in the “Main Point” article mentioned above and arrive at the correct answer choice. Post your detailed analysis for both questions. We will publish detailed official solution once we get enough responses. So get cracking. All the best!

Researchers argue that the brain stem comprising the medulla oblongata, the pons and the mid brain is better at handling a large amount of information. On the other hand, the Cerebral Cortex that is responsible for rational decision making is better at applying very strict, mathematical rules on fewer variables involving well-defined parameters. Consequently, researchers agree that it is better to “sleep on” certain complex decision rather than burn midnight oil to arrive at rationale solution. They believe that in these situations, rationality comes on the way of making a rational decision and that the brain stem is better equipped to handle them than the Cerebral Cortex, arguing that it’s better to leave such decisions on unconscious thought process – thinking without paying attention. There are decisions where, the researchers believe, conscious thought outperforms unconscious thought. For example, when a decision requires application of very strict, mathematical rules, conscious thought is beneficial.

Several experiments that incorporated several combinations of plethora of specifications revealed the workings of the brain stem and the Cerebral cortex. In one such experiment, the participants were asked to choose a car from 10 leading brands of automobiles. The researchers gave them just four parameters to consider for their choice - mileage, cost, reliability, and re-sale value, asking them to take instantaneous decision. The participants came up with the second-to-none decision in this scenario, proving that the conscious mind was super-efficient in processing limited amount of data. Keeping all the other conditions fixed the researchers this time asked the participants to sleep on the choice and declare their decision later. The resulting choices that participants made were not as optimal.

In another set of similar experiments, the researchers were baffled by the appalling choices that the test group made when they conducted the same experiment with 10 leading brands, but doubled the parameters, adding such features to consider as brand appeal, durability, safety, and off-road capability. The researchers argued that Cerebral cortex could not make sense of the expanded information set that led to poor decision making. However, the decisions made by another test group that was allowed to sleep on the decision before declaring their choice were much more worthy, even though not as good as the decision produced by the conscious mind that processed fewer parameters. This led the researchers to conclude that our unconscious mind can process larger amounts of information — as long as we give it time to do so. Another suitable situation, according to researchers, to employ the goal-dependent, deliberative process in the absence of conscious attention is when we are low on energy or easily distracted at the time when we are faced with a complex decision to make. Similarly, when in high spirits, it may be better to invoke the conscious mind to arrive at a much more optimal solution.

1. The reason why the author has written this passage is that he wants to:

A. argue that functions of Cerebral cortex only can lead to such important and complex decisions as buying a home or selecting a school.
B. compare and contrast the functions of brain stem and Cerebral Cortex to show the benefits of one over the other in making complex decision.
C. debate that all important decisions must be taken from Cerebral Cortex as it leads to rational decisions in complex situations.
D. summarize through examples which situations are conducive for conscious minds and when to employ brain stem to make optimal decisions of complex nature.
E. prove that sleeping on a complex decision is the best way to arrive at the optimal decision in complex situations.

Evidence has been presented that the unconscious mind, still viewed by many psychological scientists as the shadow of a ‘‘real’’ conscious mind, is identifiably more deliberate, action oriented and complex than its conscious counterpart. Furthermore researchers have proven that the mind is incredibly efficient at extracting meaning from stimuli of which one is not consciously aware. The claims above are made on conclusive experimentations in which test subjects who were allowed to sleep during a decision making process made more optimal decisions when compared to the subjects who were given the exact same amount of information but were not allowed to sleep, leading researchers to believe that rationality comes on the way of making a rational decision. Researchers explain that while the conscious mind can only follow strict rules, unconscious mind can handle and integrate a larger amount of information, explaining why it can make better decisions. Even more surprising than this unconscious mind’s ability is that the mental processes that drive such decision making are necessarily minimal and unsophisticated and do not require humongous amount of calories to make us arrive at the best decision whereas using conscious mind for complex decisions burns up a lot of energy, setting in fatigue, forcing the conscious mind to give up and leading to subconscious decisions. Overall, researchers agree that there is no need to have sleepless night pondering over a complex issue to resolve it when it can actually be solved more efficiently by snoring the night away.

1. The purpose of the passage is to:

A. highlight the differences among psychologists regarding the importance of the unconscious mind in making complex decisions.
B. contrast and compare the workings of the rationality with that of deliberate, action-oriented and complex decision making processes.
C. prove by citing results of experiments that one decision-making process is better than the other.
D. show that unconscious mind is not that undependable as previously thought.
E. ascertain that using conscious and unconscious minds together yield second-to-none judgments.

Thanks.
_________________

Originally posted by egmat on 30 Jul 2012, 15:54.
Last edited by egmat on 25 Jul 2018, 06:34, edited 7 times in total.
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Re: Twin Passages for practicing Main Point question  [#permalink]

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31 Jul 2012, 03:15
3
1. D
this passage talks about both the methods of arriving at a solution. This passage does not say one is better than the other.
Quote:
Researchers argue that the brain stem comprising the medulla oblongata, the pons and the mid brain is better at handling a large amount of information. On the other hand, the Cerebral Cortex that is responsible for rational decision making is better at applying very strict, mathematical rules on fewer variables involving well-defined parameters.

so, the answer would not be A, C or E.

Out of B and D, I struggled to eliminate one of them. I am still not sure of my answer.

I chose D as the author did exemplify. Also all the functions of the cerebral cortex and the brain stem are not mentioned.

2. E
Quote:
The claims above are made on conclusive experimentations
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Re: Twin Passages for practicing Main Point question  [#permalink]

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Updated on: 01 Aug 2012, 09:41
4
Passage 1:
========

1. The reason why the author has written this passage is that he wants to:

A. argue that functions of Cerebral cortex only can lead to such important and complex decisions as buying a home or selecting a school.-->out of scope (neither buying a home nor selecting a school is mentioned in the passage)
B. compare and contrast the functions of brain stem and Cerebral Cortex to show the benefits of one over the other in making complex decision. --> Correct , as all the 3 paragraphs make a comparison between functions of brain stem & cerebral cortex
C. debate that all important decisions must be taken from Cerebral Cortex as it leads to rational decisions in complex situations.-->underlined part is Inconsistent..also the tone is extreme
D. summarize through examples which situations are conducive for conscious minds and when to employ brain stem to make optimal decisions of complex nature.--> Partially Scope , as the second half is partially scoped.Along with brain stem, passage also discusses the functions of cerebral cortex in decision making & compares those with functions of brain stem,as applicable in various scenarios
E. prove that sleeping on a complex decision is the best way to arrive at the optimal decision in complex situations.---> passage doesn't say that this is the best way, rather it says it is a better option..another choice with extreme tone..

Passage-2
========

1. The purpose of the passage is to:

A. highlight the differences among psychologists regarding the importance of the unconscious mind in making complex decisions.--> out of scope, passage doesn't talk about difference opinions of psychologists, rather it discusses the advantage of one method over the other

B. contrast and compare the workings of the rationality with that of deliberate, action-oriented and complex decision making processes.--> Inconsistent ( Rationality works are not compared)

C. prove by citing results of experiments that one decision-making process is better than the other.--> Correct , as the whole passage talks about the superiority of the unconscious mind over the conscious mind.Also, the author presents some evidence (results of experiments) in the passage in order to prove that the decision making process of the unconscious mind is better than the decisions making process of the conscious mind
D. show that unconscious mind is not that undependable as previously thought.--> Partial scope
E. ascertain that using conscious and unconscious minds together yield second-to-none judgements.--> Opposite ans , as the passage says that unconscious mind alone yields best decisions and conscious mind's decision making process is inferior to it

Originally posted by monsoon1 on 31 Jul 2012, 22:19.
Last edited by monsoon1 on 01 Aug 2012, 09:41, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Twin Passages for practicing Main Point question  [#permalink]

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31 Jul 2012, 23:26
1
1. The reason why the author has written this passage is that he wants to:

A. argue that functions of Cerebral cortex only can lead to such important and complex decisions as buying a home or selecting a school.
B. compare and contrast the functions of brain stem and Cerebral Cortex to show the benefits of one over the other in making complex decision. - Correct
C. debate that all important decisions must be taken from Cerebral Cortex as it leads to rational decisions in complex situations.
D. summarize through examples which situations are conducive for conscious minds and when to employ brain stem to make optimal decisions of complex nature.
E. prove that sleeping on a complex decision is the best way to arrive at the optimal decision in complex situations.

1. The purpose of the passage is to:

A. highlight the differences among psychologists regarding the importance of the unconscious mind in making complex decisions.
B. contrast and compare the workings of the rationality with that of deliberate, action-oriented and complex decision making processes.
C. prove by citing results of experiments that one decision-making process is better than the other. - Correct
D. show that unconscious mind is not that undependable as previously thought.
E. ascertain that using conscious and unconscious minds together yield second-to-none judgments.
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Re: Twin Passages for practicing Main Point question  [#permalink]

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02 Aug 2012, 06:44
1
Passage 1

1. The reason why the author has written this passage is that he wants to:

A. argue that functions of Cerebral cortex only can lead to such important and complex decisions as buying a home or selecting a school.
B. compare and contrast the functions of brain stem and Cerebral Cortex to show the benefits of one over the other in making complex decision. I rejected B because the phrase 'to show the benefits of one over the other' means that of the two - brain stem and Cerebral Cortex, one is better than the other while the passage does not promote any of these as better than the other
C. debate that all important decisions must be taken from Cerebral Cortex as it leads to rational decisions in complex situations.
D. summarize through examples which situations are conducive for conscious minds and when to employ brain stem to make optimal decisions of complex nature. This seemed to be correct
E. prove that sleeping on a complex decision is the best way to arrive at the optimal decision in complex situations.

1. The purpose of the passage is to:

A. highlight the differences among psychologists regarding the importance of the unconscious mind in making complex decisions.
B. contrast and compare the workings of the rationality with that of deliberate, action-oriented and complex decision making processes.
C. prove by citing results of experiments that one decision-making process is better than the other. Extract from passage - conscious mind, is identifiably more deliberate, action oriented and complex than its conscious counterpart. Furthermore researchers have proven that the mind is incredibly efficient at extracting meaning from stimuli of which one is not consciously aware.
D. show that unconscious mind is not that undependable as previously thought.
E. ascertain that using conscious and unconscious minds together yield second-to-none judgments.
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Re: Twin Passages for practicing Main Point question  [#permalink]

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02 Aug 2012, 12:20
Thank you for your responses. We will post the detailed solution tomorrow after we get 2-3 more responses. Dear Monsoon1, thank you for taking the pains to write the detailed response. It enables us to help respond in a manner that benefits you, which is the end goal here.

Similarly Akrish, Amrita and snigdhakul - thank you for chiming in. If you add more detail then we will be able to respond accordingly.

-Rajat
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Re: Twin Passages for practicing Main Point question  [#permalink]

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02 Aug 2012, 12:41
IMO
1.D
2.C
Good practice sets !
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Re: Twin Passages for practicing Main Point question  [#permalink]

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03 Aug 2012, 09:07
I'll go with
Passage 1: B
Passage 2: C
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Re: Twin Passages for practicing Main Point question  [#permalink]

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Updated on: 11 Oct 2012, 13:38
18
2
Hi Folks,
Here is the solution of the twin passages

Researchers argue that the brain stem comprising the medulla oblongata, the pons and the mid brain is better at handling a large amount of information. On the other hand, the Cerebral Cortex that is responsible for rational decision making is better at applying very strict, mathematical rules on fewer variables involving well-defined parameters. Consequently, researchers agree that it is better to “sleep on” certain complex decision rather than burn midnight oil to arrive at rationale solution. They believe that in these situations, rationality comes on the way of making a rational decision and that the brain stem is better equipped to handle them than the Cerebral Cortex, arguing that it’s better to leave such decisions on unconscious thought process – thinking without paying attention. There are decisions where, the researchers believe, conscious thought outperforms unconscious thought. For example, when a decision requires application of very strict, mathematical rules, conscious thought is beneficial.

Several experiments that incorporated several combinations of plethora of specifications revealed the workings of the brain stem and the Cerebral cortex. In one such experiment, the participants were asked to choose a car from 10 leading brands of automobiles. The researchers gave them just four parameters to consider for their choice - mileage, cost, reliability, and re-sale value, asking them to take instantaneous decision. The participants came up with the second-to-none decision in this scenario, proving that the conscious mind was super-efficient in processing limited amount of data. Keeping all the other conditions fixed the researchers this time asked the participants to sleep on the choice and declare their decision later. The resulting choices that participants made were not as optimal.

In another set of similar experiments, the researchers were baffled by the appalling choices that the test group made when they conducted the same experiment with 10 leading brands, but doubled the parameters, adding such features to consider as brand appeal, durability, safety, and off-road capability. The researchers argued that Cerebral cortex could not make sense of the expanded information set that led to poor decision making. However, the decisions made by another test group that was allowed to sleep on the decision before declaring their choice were much more worthy, even though not as good as the decision produced by the conscious mind that processed fewer parameters. This led the researchers to conclude that our unconscious mind can process larger amounts of information — as long as we give it time to do so. Another suitable situation, according to researchers, to employ the goal-dependent, deliberative process in the absence of conscious attention is when we are low on energy or easily distracted at the time when we are faced with a complex decision to make. Similarly, when in high spirits, it may be better to invoke the conscious mind to arrive at a much more optimal solution.

1. The reason why the author has written this passage is that he wants to:

A. argue that functions of Cerebral cortex only can lead to such important and complex decisions as buying a home or selecting a school.
B. compare and contrast the functions of brain stem and Cerebral Cortex to show the benefits of one over the other in making complex decision.
C. debate that all important decisions must be taken from Cerebral Cortex as it leads to rational decisions in complex situations.
D. summarize through examples which situations are conducive for conscious minds and when to employ brain stem to make optimal decisions of complex nature.
E. prove that sleeping on a complex decision is the best way to arrive at the optimal decision in complex situations.

Hopefully you would have read the passage and the Main Point Question. Here I would approach this question. The first step is to summarize individual paragraphs.

So basically, what the author said in the first paragraph, he proved those points by mentioning some studies in the subsequent paragraphs.

PRE-THINKING MAIN POINT – Below is the main point that I came up by combining the summaries of the three paragraphs.

So now let’s do the POE to find out the correct answer:

1. The reason why the author has written this passage is that he wants to:

Evidence has been presented that the unconscious mind, still viewed by many psychological scientists as the shadow of a ‘‘real’’ conscious mind, is identifiably more deliberate, action oriented and complex than its conscious counterpart. Furthermore researchers have proven that the mind is incredibly efficient at extracting meaning from stimuli of which one is not consciously aware. The claims above are made on conclusive experimentations in which test subjects who were allowed to sleep during a decision making process made more optimal decisions when compared to the subjects who were given the exact same amount of information but were not allowed to sleep, leading researchers to believe that rationality comes on the way of making a rational decision. Researchers explain that while the conscious mind can only follow strict rules, unconscious mind can handle and integrate a larger amount of information, explaining why it can make better decisions. Even more surprising than this unconscious mind’s ability is that the mental processes that drive such decision making are necessarily minimal and unsophisticated and do not require humongous amount of calories to make us arrive at the best decision whereas using conscious mind for complex decisions burns up a lot of energy, setting in fatigue, forcing the conscious mind to give up and leading to subconscious decisions. Overall, researchers agree that there is no need to have sleepless night pondering over a complex issue to resolve it when it can actually be solved more efficiently by snoring the night away.

1. The purpose of the passage is to:

A. highlight the differences among psychologists regarding the importance of the unconscious mind in making complex decisions.
B. contrast and compare the workings of the rationality with that of deliberate, action-oriented and complex decision making processes.
C. prove by citing results of experiments that one decision-making process is better than the other.
D. show that unconscious mind is not that undependable as previously thought.
E. ascertain that using conscious and unconscious minds together yield second-to-none judgments.

Hopefully you would have read the passage and the Main Point Question. Here I would approach this question. The first step is to summarize individual paragraphs.

PRE-THINKING MAIN POINT – Below is the main point that I came up from the summary of this single-paragraph passage.

Now let’s do the POE to see which answer choice is correct:

1. The purpose of the passage is to:

Thanks
_________________

Originally posted by egmat on 03 Aug 2012, 09:56.
Last edited by egmat on 11 Oct 2012, 13:38, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Twin Passages for practicing Main Point question  [#permalink]

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03 Aug 2012, 19:23
Oh! I got it now ! Actually, for passage 1, i was stuck between answer choices B & D. Although i had selected D at the first place, i edited the ans to B later.
I overlooked the terms " brain stem" & "Cerebral cortex"

In a nutshell, in passage 1,
Brain stem refers to --> Unconscious mind --> handles large amount of info better
Cerebral cortex refers to --> Conscious mind --> handles limited info(limited parameters) better

+1 Kudos to e-gmat for the vivid explanation !
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Re: Twin Passages for practicing Main Point question  [#permalink]

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06 Aug 2012, 22:35
4
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Re: Twin Passages for practicing Main Point question  [#permalink]

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03 Sep 2012, 03:07
egmat wrote:
Thanks for the praise. I hope this exercise will help you do better on RC.

-Rajat

Hi egmat
I recently saw this and have started applying it. It is helping me a lot (though i still have to apply it in a test), but what i have observed is that when applying this though my accuracy increases a bit, it takes quite a bit of time to read it (about 5 mins). is there any strategy that can be clubbed with this to improve pace

Also i gave Gmatprep 1 yesterday and got 680 (Q49 and V34). about 6 SC questions went wrong of which 3 were comparison. i am particularly confused about questions such as "that of last yr" "those of last yr" etc..is there any strategy for these questions

I have my Gmat in one week and would appreciate any help

Also Kudos for the above post
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Re: Twin Passages for practicing Main Point question  [#permalink]

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01 Aug 2015, 00:49
I was confused between 'B' and 'D' for the fist passage. Being an e-gmat verbal online student, it helped me eliminating B.

And passage 2 was comparatively easy.

GMAT scheduled on October 14th

Cheers
Saswat
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Re: Twin Passages for practicing Main Point question  [#permalink]

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01 Mar 2016, 04:31
egmat wrote:
Thanks for the praise. I hope this exercise will help you do better on RC.

-Rajat

Hi
In passage two, we only know that evidence has been presented. But how can we say that the author strongly agrees with it? All we can say is that the author is surprised at how efficient the brain stem is.
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Re: Twin Passages for practicing Main Point question  [#permalink]

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05 Nov 2016, 23:28
Thank you e-gmat! I am currently going through the Verbal online course. RC is the last topic I am going through.

These RC strategies are very useful; for the first time I am not feeling scared/anxious looking at a passage. Also, got both the answers correct with proper knowledge of why the choices were correct or incorrect. Kudos for such well structured clear lessons!
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Re: Twin Passages for practicing Main Point question  [#permalink]

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25 Aug 2017, 10:43
egmat wrote:
Thanks for the praise. I hope this exercise will help you do better on RC.

-Rajat

I'm still not able to choose D over B? Even in the passage, it does specify that sometimes it is better to take the decision from the sub conscious mind, i.e the brain stem. Also, the functions are mentioned but indirectly. I'm still not sure. It'd be great help if someone could explain it.
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Re: Twin Passages for practicing Main Point question  [#permalink]

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10 Nov 2017, 22:32
Got both correct!

Thanks Payal for these tips/tricks
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Re: Twin Passages for practicing Main Point question  [#permalink]

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28 Jan 2018, 09:39
Passage 1: D

passage 2: B?
Re: Twin Passages for practicing Main Point question   [#permalink] 28 Jan 2018, 09:39
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