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#7 - Newsletter for community center volunteers: Retired

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Complete Question Explanation

Flaw in the Reasoning-CE. The correct answer choice is (E)

Here the stimulus is presenting a correlation between retired persons who volunteer and better resources, health, outlook and functioning. From this correlation, the stimulus concludes that there is a cause and effect relationship, in that the volunteering is causing the better circumstances for these retired individuals. So, we have a cause and effect relationship in the stimulus combined with a flaw in the reasoning question. We are therefore going to try to find one of four things: 1) an alternate cause; 2) that when the cause occurs, the effect does not follow; 3) that when the cause does not occur, the effect does; or 4) that it is actually a reverse cause and effect relationship.

Answer Choice (A): It is likely true that the center has a selfish motive in reporting this correlation. However, that motive, in and of itself, does not make the inference unwarranted. Just because the group reporting information has some type of bias, does not automatically make the information untrue.

Answer Choice (B): There is no problem with interpreting "well-being" to include these various factors. As opposed to other undue assumptions made within LSAT questions, this correlation between the concept of "well-being" and the factors named is not unfounded. Further, it does not address the cause and effect issue.

Answer Choice (C): The fact that some retired persons who do not volunteer may be older than some who do volunteer does nothing to diminish the information that those who regularly volunteer generally display fewer and milder effects of agency.

Answer Choice (D): Mental outlook is just one of the factors addressed by the stimulus. This answer choice does nothing to address the volunteers' relative strength in the other areas. Also, once again, the fact that growing older does not necessarily result in a change in mental outlook does not change the fact that the volunteers had a better mental outlook than the non-volunteers.

Answer Choice (E): This is the correct answer choice. This demonstrates that the cause in effect relationship is in fact reversed. Those with better circumstances are more
ellenb
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Dear Powerscore,

For this question, I picked B however, the correct answer is E. Please let me know why E is the right one and B is wrong.

the conclusion that I came up is:
Volunteering can benefit your well-being

Premise: because volunteers generally display fewer and milder effects of aging than their non-volunteering contemporaries.
Premise: The volunteers display fewer and milder effects of again that their nonvolunteering contemporaries in terms of social resources, mental outlook etc.

Thanks in advance!
Ellen
David Boyle
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ellenb wrote:Dear Powerscore,

For this question, I picked B however, the correct answer is E. Please let me know why E is the right one and B is wrong.

the conclusion that I came up is:
Volunteering can benefit your well-being

Premise: because volunteers generally display fewer and milder effects of aging than their non-volunteering contemporaries.
Premise: The volunteers display fewer and milder effects of again that their nonvolunteering contemporaries in terms of social resources, mental outlook etc.

Thanks in advance!
Ellen


Hello,

There is no problem with "it interprets 'well being' as including the factors of social and economic resources, mental outlook, physical health, and overall functioning", so B is not the answer.
The problem here is a possible reverse causal relationship, i.e., instead of volunteering helping you be well, it's that the people who are well are more able to volunteer. E says that.

David
ellenb
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Thanks David,

one more time I have been shown how "language is their weapon" and the importance to read the stimulus carefully and not rush through the stimulus which I tend to do a lot.

I got tricked with the fact that they said, if you volunteer than you display well being, which basically means if you are well than you volunteer. So, I guess, I needed to think more about it since at the first glance and when under time constraints it looked like ppl volunteering help ppl to have a better well-being. Also, I read a research study on that so, I totally put my own interpretation on it instead of the stimulus. Which I know is dangerous! Keep it to the stimulus!!

So, I guess my question with this would be what can I do to prevent things like this? I tend to get nervous and rush through the stimulus.
David Boyle
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ellenb wrote:Thanks David,

one more time I have been shown how "language is their weapon" and the importance to read the stimulus carefully and not rush through the stimulus which I tend to do a lot.

I got tricked with the fact that they said, if you volunteer than you display well being, which basically means if you are well than you volunteer. So, I guess, I needed to think more about it since at the first glance and when under time constraints it looked like ppl volunteering help ppl to have a better well-being. Also, I read a research study on that so, I totally put my own interpretation on it instead of the stimulus. Which I know is dangerous! Keep it to the stimulus!!

So, I guess my question with this would be what can I do to prevent things like this? I tend to get nervous and rush through the stimulus.


Hello,

Try not to get nervous! If you know that will hurt you, being nervous, just take a deep breath or something and realize that you're not jumping from a 1000-foot high diving board or something! It's just the LSAT!
As for "I got tricked with the fact that they said, if you volunteer than you display well being, which basically means if you are well than you volunteer", it does not mean that. That's the problem. The stimulus claims that volunteering *makes* you well, whereas choice E brings up that maybe it's the other way around, i.e., well people are enabled to volunteer because they are *already* well.

David
z.em
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Hello,

For this questions I also chose B instead of E, and I was wondering as to how do we know that some terms are able to be used interchangeably. I refer back to the courses and remember being taught that when a term is not defined in the stimulus then don't make assumptions as to what the definition is. So for that reason I chose B since well being is not explicitly defined with resources, outlook, physical health, and functioning. How do we know when that is flaw or not? Thanks.
Emily Haney-Caron
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Hi z.em,

Excellent question; figuring this exact thing out is one of the hurdles of mastering Logical Reasoning!

Basically, the answer is that you need to use common sense and context clues. I know that is probably more amorphous than you hoped, but it really is simple with practice. It would not make logical sense to argue that having fewer effects of aging in the four domains listed is NOT improving well-being, right? There is no sensible definition of well-being that would exclude those. So, even though it isn't defined, this will be one of those situations where you can assume. That means that it is going to be a case-by-case analysis, rather than there being a hard-and-fast rule you can apply, but the good news is that the more you practice, the easier it will be!
T.B.Justin
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I spotted the correlation in this question, however I did not connect this to the author making a causal conclusion, thus I chose A

I am wondering about the conclusion. The stimulus highlights the correlation between volunteering and those who volunteer having improved characteristics, gives a general definition of volunteering, and then I had identified this last sentence as the conclusion, that because volunteering improves characterstics it benefits ones well-being.
Brook Miscoski
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Justin,

The stimulus conclusion (last sentence) claims that the correlation is evidence that volunteering benefits (causes) well-being. Thus, there is a causal conclusion. Identifying this causal conclusion requires you to be on your toes, because a word like "cause" or "affect" isn't used. You have to realize that the claim that volunteering benefits well-being is a causal claim (the concept of benefit is causal). Since you know that a causal argument may be tested when the LSAT begins talking about correlation, you should be on the lookout for this; it may not always be explicit.