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V04-30

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V04-30 [#permalink]

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In an experiment involving taste, researchers had participants try two versions of a cola, one regular and another, called “cola extra,” to which a secret ingredient had been added. The researchers found that, when the tasters did not know that the secret ingredient was white vinegar, they preferred “cola extra” by a margin of almost two to one. However, when tasters were told the identity of the secret ingredient before drinking, they preferred the cola without vinegar 98% of the time.

Which of the following, if true, forms the best basis for an explanation of this outcome?


A. Most consumers are excited by the possibility of tasting a “secret ingredient” and will always prefer that choice.
B. For most consumers, expectation strongly influences the ability to accurately distinguish flavors.
C. Most cola drinkers prefer beverages without vinegar, even when they do not know vinegar is present.
D. Researchers skewed results by telling participants in the second group what the secret ingredient was.
E. The first group of taste testers was disproportionately composed of people who enjoy the taste of vinegar.
[Reveal] Spoiler: OA

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In an experiment involving taste, researchers had participants try two versions of a cola, one regular and another, called “cola extra,” to which a secret ingredient had been added. The researchers found that, when the tasters did not know that the secret ingredient was white vinegar, they preferred “cola extra” by a margin of almost two to one. However, when tasters were told the identity of the secret ingredient before drinking, they preferred the cola without vinegar 98% of the time.

Which of the following, if true, forms the best basis for an explanation of this outcome?


A. Most consumers are excited by the possibility of tasting a “secret ingredient” and will always prefer that choice.
B. For most consumers, expectation strongly influences the ability to accurately distinguish flavors.
C. Most cola drinkers prefer beverages without vinegar, even when they do not know vinegar is present.
D. Researchers skewed results by telling participants in the second group what the secret ingredient was.
E. The first group of taste testers was disproportionately composed of people who enjoy the taste of vinegar.


Situation:In a taste test, participants who did not know one of the colas contained vinegar preferred the cola with vinegar. When participants did know there was vinegar in one of the colas, they preferred the cola without vinegar.

Reasoning: Which option best explains the outcome of the experiment? The experiment described in the passage is performed with two groups of tasters. Both groups taste both regular cola and “cola extra,” which contains a secret ingredient. The only difference between the two groups is that the first group does not know before drinking that the secret ingredient is white vinegar. The second group, however, knows about the vinegar before drinking. Since the first group prefers “cola extra” and the second prefers regular cola, it is reasonable to assume that each group’s expectations affected their experience of the taste of each cola.
  1. This is a partial explanation for the responses of the first group, but does not address the study as a whole.
  2. For both groups of tasters, expectation of either a positive or a negative taste changed their perceptions of each cola. The first group preferred “cola extra” because they expected to prefer the secret ingredient, and the second group preferred regular cola because they expected vinegar to have an unpleasant taste.
  3. This option fails to explain why the first group preferred cola extra.
  4. Knowledge of the secret ingredient was a key component in the researchers’ approach and did not skew results.
  5. This claim is not made in the passage.

Answer: B
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Re V04-30 [#permalink]

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New post 08 Sep 2015, 02:51
I think this is a high-quality question and I don't agree with the explanation. The option talks about "ability to accurately distinguish flavors". But solution deals with "experience while tasting the flavor". These are two very different things. I may have different experiences but my ability to distinguish between flavors may remain same. Enjoying coke with vinegar does not require low ability to distinguish between flavors

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Re: V04-30 [#permalink]

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New post 17 Sep 2015, 03:43
I am archiving the question; but here's an old post about this question.
Quote:

This is not a well-worded question, so it's not really worthwhile thinking too much about what answer is correct. A and C contradict the stem, so cannot be right (in A, if 'most' people prefer secret ingredients, a higher proportion would have preferred cola extra in the first experiment). Answer D appears to be true, but does not explain anything, and the question asks for an explanation.

That leaves us with B and E. It's important now to recognize what the question asks - it asks which answer provides the "best basis for an explanation" of the results. There are millions of ways to explain the results - perhaps it is a weird statistical fluke, or perhaps the scientists did not correctly tabulate the results, or perhaps the first group was bribed to answer the question a certain way. None of those seem like very good explanations, though, since we conducted an experiment in two different ways, and got wildly different results. The difference in the two experiments very likely had something to do with that, and our answer should account for that. So while E is one possible explanation, there may be a much more compelling explanation, one that takes the difference in experimental methodology into account.

It seems more likely that expectation influences perception - when people know what they're drinking in advance, that will influence their preferences. So I want an answer choice that says that. But unfortunately B does not say that - it says "expectation strongly influences the ability to accurately distinguish flavors". The experiment has nothing to do with distinguishing flavors - they didn't ask the participants to identify the ingredients in the cola. The experiment is about preferences, and B does nothing to explain why one group actually preferred one cola to the other. So while I prefer B to any other answer choice, I really don't think it's a good answer either.

Real GMAT CR questions are more precisely worded than this one, and the right answer will generally be more 'airtight' than here, so I wouldn't worry about it if you don't completely agree with the OA here.
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Re V04-30 [#permalink]

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New post 15 Oct 2015, 14:59
I think this is a poor-quality question. This question is the same as in the previous RC, making it much easier than it normally would. I payed for this material, so I expect CATs to have good quality.

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New post 16 Nov 2015, 00:42
I think this is a high-quality question and I don't agree with the explanation. The explanation discounts answer choice E on the basis that ''This claim is not made in the passage'' The question however never specifies that the information given in the answer choice has to be entailed in the passage. Instead it just requires the reader to chose the answer choice that best explains the, somewhat surprising, outcome.

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New post 01 Apr 2016, 18:19
I think this is a poor-quality question and I don't agree with the explanation. I think the term "accurately distinguish" is misleading. There is no accuracy to preference of flavors. It should say instead "For most consumers, expectation strongly influences reported preference of flavor."

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I think this is a high-quality question and I agree with explanation.

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New post 04 Apr 2017, 10:46
but they distinguished them, the thing is that they preferred one over another. So ans B is like giving me "strongly influences the ability to accurately distinguish flavor" DISTINGUISH but not to prefer. And A. is telling me that " will always prefer that choice" so for me thats the right answer.
Because we are discussing why you chose one over an another, and its not because you can distinguish the flavor, its because you prefer a flavor.

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Re: V04-30 [#permalink]

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New post 08 Apr 2017, 10:16
natdent wrote:
but they distinguished them, the thing is that they preferred one over another. So ans B is like giving me "strongly influences the ability to accurately distinguish flavor" DISTINGUISH but not to prefer. And A. is telling me that " will always prefer that choice" so for me thats the right answer.
Because we are discussing why you chose one over an another, and its not because you can distinguish the flavor, its because you prefer a flavor.


You definitely have a point, but option A can ONLY explain why one group preferred the drink with "secret ingredient". It has no role in explaining the behavior of the group that knew the ingredient. The correct answer choice must explain the behavior of both groups.

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Re: V04-30 [#permalink]

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New post 23 Jun 2017, 02:46
I went through 2 verbal CATs and found many answers to be controversial. The quality of verbal tests is nowhere near the quality of quant tests. The verbal portion is not so helpful unless some serious improvements are made.

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New post 17 Jul 2017, 11:48
I think this is a poor-quality question and I don't agree with the explanation. Ability to distinguish flavors in not paramount to preference.
1- Perhaps they did distinguish between the flavors even though were strongly influenced by expectations and liked the one with Vinegar. Just that when they came to know it was vinegar, they disliked it metally and chose the other one.

2- They did not find any difference in the tastes even after knowing the secret ingredient was vinegar....just that they did not like vinegar in a cola as a concept, they chose the other one.

Had the question indicated that vinegar is often distasteful to people, B would make sense. Just replace Vinegar in the question with 'a few drops of the most popular single malt' and you will see how things change. Otherwise A is a much better option even if it does not answer the question completely as it talks about preference guided by excitement.

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Re: V04-30 [#permalink]

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New post 30 Jul 2017, 09:26
The passage says that the tasters preferred the cola with a secret ingredient in the first group and the one without vinegar in the second group. It doesn't say that they liked those drinks respectively. This means that whether they tasted both samples can not be inferred. All that can be said is that as long as they didn't know what the secret ingredient was, they were more interested in trying the cola having (or that they preferred) the secret ingredient, and when they knew what the secret ingredient was, they weren't as interested (or did not prefer).

So, the answer should be A.

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Re V04-30 [#permalink]

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New post 30 Jul 2017, 09:28
I think this is a high-quality question and I don't agree with the explanation. A is the right answer

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Re: V04-30 [#permalink]

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New post 21 Nov 2017, 02:22
poor quality.

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Re: V04-30 [#permalink]

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New post 10 Dec 2017, 15:05
I also think this that "E" should be the correct answer.
It is unlikely to be true but if it was true (as the question asks) it would be the best explanation.

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Re: V04-30   [#permalink] 10 Dec 2017, 15:05
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