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#6 - Detective: People who repeatedly commit crimes like

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Complete Question Explanation

Assumption—#%. The correct answer choice is (A)

A bit of misdirection produces the complexity in this stimulus. The author first provides a red herring, i.e., a false logical trail, for you to follow, and then shifts key terms to produce ambiguity.

The detective describes how people who repeatedly commit crimes like embezzlement or bribery without being caught tend to become more confident. With each success, they increasingly believe that getting caught is less likely. However, their belief is at odds with reality.

Then the detective tells you that the more crimes a person commits, the greater the chance that one of their crimes will be solved. So, the detective concludes, most people who commit embezzlement or bribery will eventually be caught.

The first misdirection in this stimulus is the focus on confidence in the first two sentences. As a reader, it is natural to think that because the criminals become increasingly confident, then their confidence is what leads to them getting caught. However, it is not clear from the stimulus that this is true. More importantly, the conclusion does not require this causal relationship, with confidence causing the criminals to be caught. The conclusion is not causal. Instead, it is focused on numbers.

This focus on numbers in the conclusion highlights another bit of misdirection in the stimulus: the shift in terms between the people described in the first sentence (i.e., “people who repeatedly commit crimes like embezzlement or bribery without being caught”) and the people who are the subject of the conclusion (i.e., “most people who commit embezzlement or bribery”). The problem is that we do not know whether the group mentioned in the conclusion, “most people who commit embezzlement or bribery,” commit more than one offense.

This missing information is critical, because the reason the detective cites for thinking most of this group eventually will be caught is that the “more crimes a person commits, the greater the chance that one of those crimes will be solved.” If most people who commit embezzlement or bribery commit only one offense, then the detective’s conclusion is completely unsupported. The correct answer choice in this Assumption question will provide this missing information, by saying that most people who commit embezzlement or bribery commit more than one such offense.

Answer choice (A): This is the correct answer choice. As discussed above, the only support for the detective’s conclusion is that the chance of a person being caught increases as that person commits more crimes. So, if most people who commit embezzlement or bribery will eventually be caught, then it must be the case that most of the members of that group of criminals commit more than one offense.

Answer choice (B): This answer choice implies a reversal of the premise that people tend to become more confident as they repeatedly commit crimes like embezzlement or bribery without being caught. It suggests that perhaps the people are just naturally confident, rather than their confidence being the product of their repeated success in not being caught. This twist on the idea of confidence plays on the misdirection of the first two sentences of the stimulus, which focused on the misplaced confidence of people who repeatedly commit crimes like embezzlement or bribery.

Answer choice (C): The conclusion made no comparison between crimes involving embezzlement or bribery and other types of crimes, so this comparison is irrelevant to the conclusion.

Answer choice (D): The attraction of this answer choice is that the evidence established that people who commit crimes like embezzlement or bribery become more confident when they repeatedly commit these crimes without being caught. However, the argument does not imply that this increased confidence causes the people to become careless and, eventually, to be caught.

Answer choice (E): The conclusion was limited to a statement regarding most people who commit embezzlement or bribery. The statement that no one is ever caught the first time is unnecessarily extreme, and is not required for the conclusion to be valid.
maximbasu
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Hello,
I chose B as the correct answer while the correct answer was A.

I reasoned that the more crime you commit, the more confident you are.
A states that the criminals do that "repeatedly." But there is no proof; they could just commit the crime once and be successful.

I don't understand the logic behind A.

Thank you, Maxim.
Nikki Siclunov
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Maxim,

Thanks for the question.

The detective describes how people who repeatedly commit crimes such as embezzlement or bribery without being caught tend to become more confident. The more crimes they commit, the greater the chance that one of their crimes will be solved. However, with each success, these people increasingly believe that getting caught is less likely. So, the detective concludes, most people who commit embezzlement or bribery will eventually be caught:
    Premise: Repeatedly commit embezzlement etc. :arrow: More confident AND Higher chance of getting caught

    Conclusion: Commit embezzlement :most: Get caught

The conclusion sort of makes sense, but there is a slight gap in the reasoning: the evidence only predicted a high likelihood of getting caught if you repeatedly committed the crimes. The conclusion, meanwhile, says that most embezzlers etc. will eventually be caught. But, if each of these embezzlers only embezzled once (or a few times), then we'd have no reason to make that prediction. The assumption, therefore, is that most embezzlers are actually repeat offenders. This prephrase agrees with answer choice (A).

To prove (A), apply the Assumption Negation Technique: negate the answer and check if the logical opposite would undermine the conclusion. Indeed, it does: if most embezzlers are NOT repeat offenders, then they won't necessarily get caught.

As far as answer choice (B) is concerned, it presents a reversal of the premise that people tend to become more confident as they repeatedly commit crimes such as embezzlement or bribery without. This is not required for the conclusion, because it does not appear that the increased likelihood of getting caught somehow results from the confidence of the people committing the crimes. Answer choice (B) might strengthen the argument, but it clearly not a statement upon which the conclusion depends.

Hope this helps!
Nikki Siclunov
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