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#15 - Psychologist: Doctors should never prescribe sedatives

LSAT Leader
Posts: 45
Joined: Fri Feb 13, 2015 10:20 am
Points: 28

Looking at the stimulus, I saw this as a cause and effect and a flaw. Is the stem asking for a flaw that is not in the stimulus?

Does that mean that there are four flaws in the stimulus?

I incorrectly selected E.
I tried diagramming it as such:
Insomnia--->Do NOT prescribe---->Psycho Therapy

How far off am I on my diagramming?
Thank you.
Kristina Moen
PowerScore Staff
PowerScore Staff
Posts: 231
Joined: Thu Nov 17, 2016 11:19 pm
Points: 227

Hi jgray,

Your understanding of the question stem is correct. Four answer choices do describe flaws in the argument. The answer choices describe assumptions that the argument made or facts that the argument did not consider (that could weaken the argument). One answer choice does not, and that is the correct answer choice.

For your diagram, I want to make sure that you are diagramming causation and NOT sufficient or necessary conditions or the structure of the argument. For causal reasoning, you mainly want to differentiate between the CAUSE and EFFECT. You would diagram that as CAUSE => EFFECT. Here, the author says that for MOST cases of insomnia that psychologists treat, stress is the cause. So you could diagram that "stress => insomnia." That is the causal relationship that the psychologist is trying to establish. How does he do that? By giving us some data: "most of the insomnia that psychologists treat is causes by stress"... there's already a red flag there. We're not talking about the pool of all insomniacs, but only those that psychologists treat. Maybe they're going to see a psychologist because they are stressed? Further, the psychologist's conclusion is "Doctors should never prescribe sedatives for people with insomnia" whereas his own data only suggests that "most" insomnia is causes by stress.

Finally, the author provides a sub-conclusion: "This suggests that insomniacs do not need drugs that alter their biochemistry, but rather need psychotherapy to help them alleviate the stress causing their insomnia." But what about other options to alleviate stress? And what if the drugs DO alleviate stress? Four of the answer choices address these concerns. One does not. That is answer choice (A)... the author's argument is based on the causal relationship that stress CAUSES insomnia, not the other way around. That's why it's so important to get the cause and effect correct when you are diagramming. Hope that helps!