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#15 - Ninety percent of recent car buyers say safety was an

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Question #15: Justify. The correct answer choice is (E)

This argument makes a fairly large logical leap towards the end, as it moves from describing the known statements and behavior of recent car buyers to concluding that their self-analysis was incorrect.

Specifically, we’re told that 90% of recent car buyers say safety is an important factor in determining what to buy, however only half of those buyers consulted objective sources of safety information before buying a car. The other half apparently relied only on ads and promotional material.

From this the author concludes that the half who relied on ads and promos were mistaken when they claimed to value safety.

We need to prove that conclusion correct, and to do so we need to show a connection between the group’s actions (failing to consult objective sources of vehicle safety information) and the author’s interpretation of it (safety wasn’t really an important factor).

Answer choice (A): There’s no confusion here between being important and being “the most important,” so this answer choice does nothing to help prove the argument is true.

Answer choice (B): does not address the behavior in question—consulting only ads/promos rather than objective sources—nor does it reference the author’s belief that safety wasn’t really an important factor, so it can be dismissed.

Answer choice (C): This answer is interesting in that it supports the author’s theory that the people, intentionally or not, failed to accurately describe how important safety really was in the purchase decision. But without more specifics on either the behavior in question, or on the conclusion about safety itself, (C) is just far too vague and generalized to prove the author’s conclusion.

Answer choice (D): has no mention of safety whatsoever, so even if it’s true that consumers know ads and promotional materials to be non-objective, we still can’t know how that connects to their weighing of safety as a purchase criteria.

Answer choice (E): This is the correct answer choice. Here we have the exact connection needed: if safety really is an important factor in purchasing a car, then the buyer will consult an objective source of information before buying. And since half the purchases did NOT consult an objective source, then the author must be right about those people not valuing safety like they said they do.
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I understand why E is correct, but am hoping you can explain a bit more about why D is incorrect. In the explanation it says that D doesn't mention safety at all, but D does say ads/promo materials "are not objective sources of vehicle safety information."

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Hi Lday4,

Thanks for catching that, and for the question.

D is a possible contender, and it does strengthen the argument. But this is a justify the conclusion question, so the right answer has to do more than strengthen, it must make the argument flawless, essentially. D fails to do that, because even if D is true, it only addresses "most" consumers, and the conclusion isn't about "most" people, it just indicates the buyers, meaning presumably, all buyers. More importantly, we don't know whether or why it matters that sources of information about safety be objective. People could care about safety, but not care about objectivity. Unlike D, E addresses exactly that issue, it tells us that anyone (meaning all) people who care about safety would rely on an objective source of information.

Hope this helps!
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Very helpful, thanks!
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I'm having trouble with this question. Using the justify formula I got rid of all options that talk about safety being important because that was stated in the first sentence and in the conclusion. Why would the right answer choice then use this? Thanks!
Malila Robinson
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Hi mbeattheheat,

The correct answer to a Justify question may still have some of the info that has been stated in both the premise(s) and the conclusion, it just doesn't always need to have that info in there. In this case you do need to talk about safety in the correct answer in order to clarify the implications in the argument.

The argument in the passage implies that if safety was really important to 90% of buyers then it should not have been the case that only half of them consulted objective sources, the entire 90% should have. The argument also implies that the other folks who only consulted ads and promo materials don't care about safety. You need an answer choice that clarifies/solidifies those implications, and Answer E does that.

Hope that helps!
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Administrator wrote:Answer choice (B): does not address the behavior in question—consulting only ads/promos rather than objective sources—nor does it reference the author’s belief that safety wasn’t really an important factor, so it can be dismissed.

I chose Answer (E) as the correct answer, but would like to evaluate Answer (B) which mentions ads and promo material. Is it wrong because it says that they sometimes provide incomplete information, and thus doesn't prove the conclusion that the buyers were mistaken?

But would Answer (B) be acceptable as a Strengthen or Assumption question? I think one of the assumptions was that ads and promo material are not objective sources, so when the answer refers to incomplete information, would that imply that it is not objective?
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I understand why E is the correct answer, but I'm a bit confused about the reasons why the wrong answers are wrong for this one.

While taking the test timed, I was evaluating the answer choices, and for D I went "huh, that doesn't seem to prove it for a Justify, but it does seem to actually be an unstated assumption of the argument...", and then I read and chose E. In reviewing my PT results, I re-evaluated the question and the answer choices and was left with the same impression about D, so I negated it - "Most consumers are NOT aware that advertisements and promotional materials are not objective sources of vehicle safety information" - and that seems to pretty strongly undermine the argument that they were "mistaken in saying that safety was important to them". And now that another post mentions it, the negation of B seems to do the same - "Advertisements and promotional materials NEVER provide incomplete vehicle safety information".

Obviously I never use the Assumption Negation technique on Justify answers, but I was left with such a strong impression that D was an unstated assumption in the argument that I felt compelled to do so during my review. The reason why that's sort of a struggle for me is because in class we covered that Justify questions are supposed to be solved with the formula and the end result is that the argument should be essentially flawless. However if a Justify stimulus has unstated assumptions which can be negated to attack the argument, then it doesn't really seem like the argument is flawless.

Is there something I'm missing here? I feel like the other people who have posted are honing in on B and D for the same reasons that I am - the absence of a premise defining that ads and promotional materials are definitely known to be unreliable or incomplete sources of information feels like a suspicious avenue of attack for a Justify stimulus with a conclusion that the "buyers were mistaken that safety was important to them"
James Finch
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Hi AZ,

(D) has a couple of clues as to why it is an incorrect answer choice for a Justify question. The first big giveaway is the first word, "most;" we need certainty, not probability, in order to justify a conclusion. Even if it were certain, it still would require another assumption to be true about awareness of whether something is an objective source of safety information or not, as there is nothing in the stimulus about that. So (D) isn't even a necessary assumption, let alone a sufficient one.

Justify questions are best answered with a strong Prephrase, where the new element in the conclusion is linked in such a way to the premises that there can be no doubt that the conclusion is true. The way I would prephrase this question would be something like "for safety to be important to a person, they must consult objective sources of information," making consulting objective sources of information a necessary condition of caring about safety. This is exactly what (E) does, so that Prephrase would help stay away from (B) or (D) and zoom right into the correct answer.

Hope this clears things up!
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James touched on this a little bit, but since it wasn't mentioned in any of the other explanations, I just wanted to confirm - the main reason I ruled out D was because I didn't think it was necessary for people to have awareness in order to be mistaken. If the stimulus had said they lied, then awareness would have been necessary, but to me being mistaken can be unintentional/unaware. Is that a strong enough way to rule D out?

Also, in regards to the "most" - I may have over thought this, but technically the buyers that the stimulus is referring to is 45% of all buyers (half of 90%). So, D could technically be true while not addressing any of the buyers we are concerned with. Is that also a fair red flag with D, or is that thinking to far into it?