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# When people engage in activities that help others, their brain release

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When people engage in activities that help others, their brain release  [#permalink]

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Updated on: 14 Jan 2019, 06:04
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Which of the following most logically completes the argument?

When people engage in activities that help others, their brain releases endorphins, the brain’s natural opiates, which induce in people a feeling of well-being. It has been suggested that regular release of endorphins increases people’s longevity. And a statistic on adults who regularly engage in volunteer work helping others shows that they live longer, on average, than adults who do not volunteer. However, that statistic would be what we would expect even if volunteering does not boost longevity, because _______.

(A) in the communities studied, women were much more likely to do regular volunteer work than men were, and women tend to live longer than men do.

(B) the number of young adults who do regular volunteer work is on the increase.

(C) the feelings of well-being induced by endorphins can, at least for a time, mask the symptoms of various conditions and diseases, provided the symptoms are mild.

(D) it is rare for a person to keep up a regular schedule of volunteer work throughout his or her life.

(E) Some people find that keeping a commitment to do regular volunteer work becomes a source of stress in their lives.

Originally posted by ritjn2003 on 06 Jul 2009, 21:51.
Last edited by Bunuel on 14 Jan 2019, 06:04, edited 3 times in total.
Edited the question.
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Re: When people engage in activities that help others, their brain release  [#permalink]

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05 Nov 2012, 03:14
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sanjoo wrote:
Not geting ( .. what actually this sentence wants to convey?

However,that statistic would be what we would expect even if volunteering does not boost longevity,.....

Responding to a pm:

Let's review the argument:

"When people help others, their brain releases endorphins, something that makes them feel well. It has been suggested that regular release of endorphins increases people’s longevity. A statistic shows that people who volunteer live longer than those who do not volunteer."

The main idea to take from here is that a statistic shows that people who volunteer live longer than those who don't. e.g. people who volunteer have an avg life of 85 yrs and those who don't have an avg life of 82 yrs. The statistic would be something like this.

Last sentence: However, that statistic would be what we would expect even if volunteering does not boost longevity, because

Here the author says that we actually expect such a statistic, such numbers, even if volunteering has no link to avg life. He says we expect that people who volunteer will live longer even if there is no connection between volunteering and long life. You have to provide a reason why we would expect this i.e. you need to provide another explanation why people who volunteer live longer. What other explanations can you think of without reading the options? I would say 'probably people who find time to volunteer usually find time to exercise too and hence live longer' or 'people who find time to volunteer (i.e. who care about others well being) are more conscious about their own well being too and hence eat healthy food which could lead to the longer life' etc
That is, we have to provide a reason which explains why people who volunteer live longer even if volunteering and endorphins etc have nothing to do with longer life.

(A) tells you that in the communities studied, women were much more likely to do regular volunteer work than men were, and women tend to live longer than men do.

So we have another reason why volunteers live longer - not because they volunteer but because majority of them at women (and we are given that women live longer than men)

The whole argument is something like this:
A: A statistic shows that people who wear skirts have longer hair than people who don't.
B: That statistic would be what we would expect even if skirts do not boost hair growth because ....

B is going to give you a reason why people who wear skirts end up having longer hair even if hair and skirts have no connection. That is, B is going to show that it is not skirts that are related to hair but skirts that are related to some other feature which is related to hair.

B: That statistic would be what we would expect even if skirts do not boost hair growth because people who wear skirts are generally women and women keep longer hair than men.

I hope you get the drift of the argument.
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Re: When people engage in activities that help others, their brain release  [#permalink]

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06 Jun 2011, 03:46
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ritjn2003 wrote:
Which of the following most logically completes the argument??
When people engage in activities that help others ,their brain releases endorphins,
the brain’s natural opiates, which induce in people a feeling of well-being. It has
been suggested that regular release of endorphins increases people’s longevity.
And a statistic on adults who regularly engage in volunteer work helping others
shows that they live longer, on average, than adults who do not volunteer. However,
that statistic would be what we would expect even if volunteering does not
boost longevity, because .
A. in the communities studied, women were much more likely to do regular
volunteer work than men were, and women tend to live longer than men do.
B. the number of young adults who do regular volunteer work is on the increase
C. the feelings of well-being induced by endorphins can, at least for a time, mask
the symptoms of various conditions and diseases, provided the symptoms are
mild.
D. it is rare for a person to keep up a regular schedule of volunteer work throughout
his or her life.
E. Some people find that keeping a commitment to do regular volunteer work
becomes a source of stress in their lives.

The suggested statement based on the statistics collected may not be true. Because, women anyway live longer. Thus, anything that a woman does more could show that the people who do more would live longer.

e.g.
1. Women talk more. Thus, statistics showed that the people who talk more live longer.
2. Women read Sidney Sheldon more. Thus, statistics showed that the people who read Sidney Sheldon live longer.
3. Women do more make-up. Thus, statistics showed that the people who do more make-up live longer.
Likewise,
4. Women volunteer more. Thus, statistics showed that the people who volunteer more live longer.

Thus, it is the inherent characteristics of women's longevity that's dictating the statistics collected and not purely the act of volunteering per se.

Ans: "A"
##### General Discussion
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Re: When people engage in activities that help others, their brain release  [#permalink]

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03 Apr 2012, 12:32
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navi19 wrote:
I thought the study should fail... so thought of option B.. But then Mike sounds convincing... But still I dont get why A...

That's a good question. I'm happy to help.

Again, the prompt:
When people engage in activities that help others, their brain releases endorphins, the brain’s natural opiates, which induce in people a feeling of well-being. It has been suggested that regular release of endorphins increases people’s longevity. And a statistic on adults who regularly engage in volunteer work helping others shows that they live longer, on average, than adults who do not volunteer. However, that statistic would be what we would expect even if volunteering does not boost longevity, because ________________________

It's a tricky prompt, because we want something that would explain, for reasons independent of endorphins & the inherent benefits of volunteering, why folks who volunteer live longer.

(A) In the communities studied, women were much more likely to do regular volunteer work than men were, and women tend to live longer than men do.

If women volunteer more in this population, then of course they tend to live longer -- but that has to do with complex biological factors having nothing to do with volunteering. This is an excellent alternative explanation of why folks who volunteer would live longer.

(B) The number of young adults who do regular volunteer work is on the increase

These folks are completely irrelevant to the argument. The argument concerns competing explanations of the fact that folks who volunteer live long lives. If young people are volunteering, we have no idea how long they will live --- it's likely we will have to wait 1/2 a century or more to find out how long these young people live. The whole argument is about total length of life, so young people are, more than anyone else, most distant from the time when we know the total length of their lives. Does that make sense?

(C) The feelings of well-being induced by endorphins can, at least for a time, mask the symptoms of various conditions and diseases, provided the symptoms are mild.

This statement casts doubt on the argument that endorphins make you live longer, so it is a weakening in the general sense, but it ignores the question -- it says absolutely nothing about why folks who volunteer would live longer.

(D) It is rare for a person to keep up a regular schedule of volunteer work throughout his or her life.

This raises a possible statistical problem in the study, suggesting a reason why it might be hard to get strong evidence. In that sense, it may be a weakener in a general sort of way. The point is, though, the prompt cites a study in which they found conclusive evidence --- folks who volunteer live longer. Whatever the nature of the data was, we found evidence for that. The prompt question is about how to explain that, and (D) simply ignores that question.

(E) Some people find that keeping a commitment to do regular volunteer work becomes a source of stress in their lives.

This is an argument that volunteering might not be healthy and might even contribute to factors in an earlier death. In that sense, it's a general sort of weakener. Once again, like (C) &(D), it weakens the original argument but doesn't address the actual question being asked. The question is about alternate explanations of the fact that folks who volunteer live longer. Denying that fact does not work as an alternate explanation.

Does all this make sense? Let me know if you have any further questions.

Mike
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Re: When people engage in activities that help others, their brain release  [#permalink]

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29 Mar 2012, 13:08
7
Hi, there. I'm happy to help.

The prompt:
When people engage in activities that help others, their brain releases endorphins, the brain’s natural opiates, which induce in people a feeling of well-being. It has been suggested that regular release of endorphins increases people’s longevity. And a statistic on adults who regularly engage in volunteer work helping others shows that they live longer, on average, than adults who do not volunteer.

The core argument is: volunteering makes you live longer.

It makes an argument for this, citing the role of endorphins. Then, as further proof, it cites a statistics.

However, that statistic would be what we would expect even if volunteering does not boost longevity, because . . . .

Notice, the part I highlight in red is the exact opposite of the argument. It's saying --- that statistics, the statistic that was quoted as a form of proof for the argument ---- would be true even if the argument is false. In other words, if the true of the statistic is independent of the true of the argument, it isn't very good evidence for the argument.

So, that sentence is a big weakener --- in a way, it's strengthening the status of the statistic, but it's weakening the argument overall. It is taking away a piece of evidence that the argument claimed for support and saying, essentially --- that evidence is not related, it's what we would expect anyway, regardless of the argument.

If I cite X as evidence for my case, and someone else says --- yes, X is true, but X has nothing to do with your case --- then, even though they have affirmed X, they have weakened my argument because they have taken away support for it.

Does that make sense?

Here's another weakening question for practice.
http://gmat.magoosh.com/questions/1264
When you submit your answer to that, the next page will have the full video explanation. At Magoosh, each of our 800+ practice questions has its own video explanation. We also have 200+ video lessons, including lessons that will guide you in CR questions like this. As you may have noticed at the banner at the top of the page, Magoosh has a sale ending today, so today is a particularly opportune time to check it out.

Let me know if you have any further questions.

Mike
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Re: When people engage in activities that help others, their brain release  [#permalink]

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07 Jul 2009, 07:18
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Certainly A

A. in the communities studied, women were much more likely to do regular volunteer work than men were, and women tend to live longer than men do. -If this is correct, then the average life of voluteers also increases.
B. the number of young adults who do regular volunteer work is on the increase -Argument talking about longevity. It doesn't matter whats the current age of volunteer
C. the feelings of well-being induced by endorphins can, at least for a time, mask the symptoms of various conditions and diseases, provided the symptoms are mild. -Endorphins are just masking the symtoms, not actually curing the disease itself. And further to weaken this, the options is saying "for a time" and "provided the symptoms are mild".
D. it is rare for a person to keep up a regular schedule of volunteer work throughout his or her life. -Irrelevant
E. Some people find that keeping a commitment to do regular volunteer work becomes a source of stress in their lives. -Further weakens the argument, as stress would have negative effect on longevity
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Re: When people engage in activities that help others, their brain release  [#permalink]

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27 Feb 2012, 00:18
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I want to say that the correct choice is A according to the manhattan link above. Also, the below is my explanation for choice A:

Premise: Activities helping others => increase endorphin => well-being
Increase endorphin => increase longevity
Statistic: Those who help others : Live longer > Those who do not
(Assumption: Helping other => Increase longevity)
=> Conclude: Statistic will still be correct even if Assumption does not happen because

A. in the communities studied, women were much more likely to do regular volunteer work than men were, and women tend to live longer than men do. => This choice give other reasons for longevity. That is sex, not volunteering.

C. the feelings of well-being induced by endorphins can, at least for a time, mask the symptoms of various conditions and diseases, provided the symptoms are mild. => this choice truly does not relate
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Re: When people engage in activities that help others, their brain release  [#permalink]

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17 Apr 2012, 07:25
2
Here's my explanation: The correct answer will logically complete the sentence, and so it logically has to have something to do with what has been mentioned in the first part of the sentence, which is about volunteer not boosting longevity. The sentence also contains the keyword "however", indicating that the answer must address the fact that the author is about to say something contradictory to what has come before. So, the answer must downplay the significance of the study. I found it by POE and ignoring irrelevant answer choices.

A. In the communities studied, women were much more likely to do regular
volunteer work than men were, and women tend to live longer than men do. (correct - this gives an alternate explanation to the study, weakening it by showing that the average age is only higher for volunteers because most volunteers arewomen and because women live longer than men)
B. The number of young adults who do regular volunteer work is on the increase (outside scope - young adults were not mentioned)
C. The feelings of well-being induced by endorphins can, at least for a time, mask
the symptoms of various conditions and diseases, provided the symptoms are
mild. (irrelevant)
D. It is rare for a person to keep up a regular schedule of volunteer work throughout
his or her life. (irrelevant)
E. Some people find that keeping a commitment to do regular volunteer work
becomes a source of stress in their lives. (irrelevant)

POE really helps with this one - eliminate what is outside scope or irrelevant.
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Re: When people engage in activities that help others, their brain release  [#permalink]

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17 Apr 2012, 09:26
2
Well, first off it isn't B because young adults were not mentioned at all, and in fact the question prompt says that the study is on adults, not young adults.

It is A because you're looking for something that will logically complete the sentence, and the sentence starts off with "However, that statistic would be what we expect even if volunteering does not boost longevity, because..." This means that whatever completes the sentence MUST provide evidence supporting the fact that the results of the study (that volunteers live longer) could have possibly been caused by something other than the act of volunteering itself. Therefore the answer must be A because A is the only answer that provides us with an additional reason that people from the survey live longer. Instead of living longer simply because they are volunteering and producing endorphins, the people in the survey are living longer because they are predominantly women (since the survey only looks at people who volunteer and the survey was done in an area where women volunteer more than men), and women live longer than men.

Does that make sense?
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Re: When people engage in activities that help others, their brain release  [#permalink]

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15 Jul 2012, 09:25
2
Wwdrok1 wrote:
Mike. Thank you for your explanation. My question with A is that it introduces two variables: 1. They are women and 2. They do more volunteer work than men.

So how do we know they live longer is due to the fact that they are women but not the fact they do more volunteer work?

I think this is a very tough question because A introduces a new possibility (live longer because they are women) yet still keeps the other possibility open (live longer because women do more volunteer work than men).

Dear Wwdrok1,

First of all, volunteering and living longer are both topics of the original argument, so those are not new variables. Really, the only new variable introduced here is gender. It is not unusual for a GMAT CR answer choice to introduce a single new variable.

Second, how do we know women live longer than men in general? Well, first of all, that answer choice states that as a general truth, not just true about the women in these particularly communities, but about women in general. Anything which the prompt presents as an argument ("It is suggested that ...") you can dispute, but anything that is stated purely factually, you need to accept at face-value as evidence. Here, it is stated factually: in general, women live longer than men. Finally, I would argue --- this is something you should just know. You don't need to be an expert in all disciplines, but there are certain basic science facts that you should recognize ---"human are mammals", "the moon orbits the Earth", "plant make the oxygen that animals breath", etc. --- and one of those is that, on average, women live longer than men. This is not a radical idea: to the contrary, this is true and has been true for centuries of human existence. Usually, the facts that the GMAT prompts state directly are in this category of obvious indisputable facts.

So, no, it is not a possibility at all that women live longer only because they volunteer. Women all over the planet, in situations and places, live longer on average than men. It is stated quite clearly as a general fact in choice (A), and it is a general fact that you as a test-taker should recognize and know.

Does that make sense?

Mike
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Re: When people engage in activities that help others, their brain release  [#permalink]

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16 Jan 2014, 22:52
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VerbalBot wrote:
Hello from the GMAT Club VerbalBot!

Thanks to another GMAT Club member, I have just discovered this valuable topic, yet it had no discussion for over a year. I am now bumping it up - doing my job. I think you may find it valuable (esp those replies with Kudos).

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The argument has already been discussed in detail. Here is a quick overview of cause and effect flaw-

According to a recent study, people who listen to folk music are found to be calm
Therefore listening to folk music makes people calm.

People who go to gym everyday are found to be well aware about the health benefits of exercising than people who don't exercise.
Hence going to gym makes people aware about health benefits.

Counter points:
1. it could be a coincident/ correlation... Premise doesn't state 'going to the gym' to be the cause. Hence we need to ASSUME that author's cause is correct
X cause Y to bridge the gap in reasoning.

2. People who know the health benefit of exercising go to gym everyday (reverse causation, just flip the cause and effect...) reverse causation weakens the conclusion and thus for our argument to be valid we need to assume that there is NO REVERSE CAUSATION.

Assumptions are nothing but unstated premise. They bridge the gaps in reasoning in order to have the conclusion valid.

In both the examples stated above, author claims one thing to be the cause of the other.

For the above argument to be true, we need to make certain assumptions.

First of all we need to believe that

1. X causes Y
x- classical music
Y- calmer people

2. there is no other factor
(If we were to know that these people were having some medication/ anti anxiety pills to remain calm. It seriously weakens author's conclusion because now folk music may not be the cause.)

3. No reverse causation
(Reverse causation (Y causes X) calm people listen to folk music. We need to deny any such possibility.
Y doesn't cause X

4. No third variable that causes both X and Y
Z doesn't cause X and Y
Only senior citizens participated in the stated study who are both calm and likely to listen to classical music.
If this is true,
X doesn't cause Y
Y doesn't cause X

A third variable causes both. Z cause both X and Y.

Usually in GMAT, author assumes correlation to be the cause.

Coming to the question-

Fact- When people engage in activities that help others, their brain releases endorphins, the brain’s natural opiates, which induce in people a feeling of well-being.

It has been suggested that regular release of endorphins increases people’s longevity. And a statistic on adults who regularly engage in volunteer work helping others shows that they live longer, on average, than adults who do not volunteer.

Adults who volunteer tend to live longer.
Effect- live longer

However, that statistic would be what we would expect even if volunteering does not boost longevity, because ___________REASON?

If X doesn't cause Y and Stats would be what we would expect

This can happen for 2 reasons:

1. Y causes X

If we were to know that people who are ' believed to live longer 'engage themselves in 'volunteering'.
REVERSE CAUSAL- weakens the argument!

2. Z causes both X and Y

Some third variable causes 'volunteering' and ' longevity' ..

Option A

A. In the communities studied, women were much more likely to do regular volunteer work than men were, and women tend to live longer than men

Women- 3rd variable

Women go for volunteer work
Z causes X

Women tend to live longer
Z causes Y

Hope it helps!
Dolly Sharma
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Re: When people engage in activities that help others, their brain release  [#permalink]

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07 Jul 2009, 03:31
1
I go with C
2 main things mentioned are:
i) helping others induces a feeling of well being.
ii) regular release of endorphins increases people’s longevity.
Statistics show: People who volunteer, on an average, live longer.

Now, 'However' in the concluding sentence changes the course of the passage.
"...However, that statistic would be what we would expect even if volunteering does not boost longevity, because______ ."
This means: The author believes that it is the feeling of well being, induced by helping other which increases longevity, so even if volunteering does not boost longevity, it is just this feeling because (option C fits in well).
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28 May 2010, 17:25
1
1
This question is good for helping you exercise your "find the alternative explanation" muscle.

THE FACTS (MUST BE TRUE)
-Established causal relationship: helping others ---> endorphins--->feeling of well being
-Established correlational relationship: volunteers live longer, on average, than non-volunteers

THE HYPOTHESIS (MIGHT BE TRUE OR MIGHT BE FALSE)
-Proposed causal relationship: endorphins---> long life
*IF* this proposed relationship were true, then volunteering (a form of helping others) -->endorphins--->long life

BUT the conclusion, signaled by the word "However," is that the Established correlational relationship (volunteers live longer) would be true even in the absence of the proposed cause for it (endorphins). Your job is to figure out why.

In simpler terms: we know volunteering (a form of helping others) will cause endorphins. But what might account for the fact that volunteers live longer *other than* the proposed causal relationship?

Note: There's a sneaky jump in wording here--notice the conclusion says "even if VOLUNTEERING does not boost longevity" rather than "even if ENDORPHINS do not boost longevity." This actually makes your job a little easier because you are examining an even more specific chain of causation: *volunteering-->endorphins-->longevity? * rather than the broader endorphins--> longevity.

Choice (A) neatly cuts out the necessity for any causal link between endorphins and longevity by explaining that the longer-than-average lifespans of volunteers is due to the fact that these volunteers are women. Volunteers are likely to be women who are likely to live longer; therefore the volunteers are likely to live longer. YES!

Choice (B) is incorrect because the number of volunteers in the population is irrelevant to the phenomenon we are trying to explain (volunteers living longer). Also, we are looking for an explanation for longevity that is not related to people's volunteering activities!

Choice (C) is also incorrect because it doesn't explain longevity. Endorphins may mask symptoms --for a time-- but that doesn't mean those people live longer.

Choices D and E are incorrect for reasons similar to the reason choice B is incorrect. We're looking for a cause of longevity *other than* volunteering and the endorphins it creates. Out of scope.

Hope this helps.
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Re: When people engage in activities that help others, their brain release  [#permalink]

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29 Mar 2012, 22:55
monikaleoster wrote:

I am not able to understand meaning of this line,Is it something which is weakening or strengthening the argument
However,
that statistic would be what we would expect even if volunteering does not
boost longevity, because ________________________

It means that
Release Endorphin may or may not cause -----> Longevity

as per A(Alternate reason) woman volunteers ----> Better Longevity ----> Better Longevity for volunteers.

Hence A is true.
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Re: When people engage in activities that help others, their brain release  [#permalink]

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12 Jul 2012, 12:26
Mike. Thank you for your explanation. My question with A is that it introduces two variables: 1. They are women and 2. They do more volunteer work than men.

So how do we know they live longer is due to the fact that they are women but not the fact they do more volunteer work?

I think this is a very tough question because A introduces a new possibility (live longer because they are women) yet still keeps the other possibility open (live longer because women do more volunteer work than men).
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Re: When people engage in activities that help others, their brain release  [#permalink]

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05 Nov 2012, 01:24
Not geting ( .. what actually this sentence wants to convey?

However,that statistic would be what we would expect even if volunteering does not boost longevity,.....
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Re: When people engage in activities that help others, their brain release  [#permalink]

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08 Mar 2015, 04:16
When people engage in activities that help others, their brain releases endomorphins, the brain’s natural opiates, which induce in people a feeling of well-being. It has been suggested that regular release of endomorphins increases people’s longevity. And a statistic on adults who regularly engage in volunteer work helping others shows that they live longer, on average, than adults who do not volunteer. However, that statistic would be what we would expect even if volunteering does not boost longevity, because ________________________

Which of the following most logically completes the argument?

Basically, the questions asks for alternate reasoning which will support the statistics but the correlation between "volunteer work" and "longevity" is not true.

A. In the communities studied, women were much more likely to do regular volunteer work than men were, and women tend to live longer than men do. - Perfect alternate reason
B. The number of young adults who do regular volunteer work is on the increase - It doesn't support the longevity
C. The feelings of well-being induced by endorphins can, at least for a time, mask the symptoms of various conditions and diseases, provided the symptoms are mild -
As per the passage "helping others" is correlated to "endomorphins" and "endomorphins" will mask some diseases. But masking diseases might not contribute to "longevity". We need another assumption here but also we don't have alternate reasoning.
D. It is rare for a person to keep up a regular schedule of volunteer work throughout his or her life - Doesn't support the statistics
E. Some people find that keeping a commitment to do regular volunteer work becomes a source of stress in their lives. Doesn't support the statistics
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Re: When people engage in activities that help others, their brain release  [#permalink]

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09 Feb 2020, 06:10
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Re: When people engage in activities that help others, their brain release   [#permalink] 09 Feb 2020, 06:10
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