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#7 - The kind of thoughts that keep a person from falling

avengingangel
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Is D wrong because the stimulus says to count sheep if a person is "being prevented from sleeping solely by such thoughts," and the answer choice says: "whenever those thoughts arose" ?? Is that why or is there another reason? I was torn between D & C. Thanks!
AthenaDalton
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Good question!

The hypothesis is that counting sheep induces sleep because it blocks out any pesky thoughts that crop up and prevent a person from sleeping. So the value of counting sheep is not that imagining sleep makes a person sleepy, but that counting sheep prevents a person's mind from thinking about anything else.

Answer choice (D) seems to indicate that counting sheep will make a person sleepy -- not quite what the argument is getting at. The hypothesis doesn't hinge on sheep inducing sleep so much as preventing thoughts that would keep a person awake.

Answer choice (C), by contrast, fills in a key gap in the argument. The whole point of counting sheep is to prevent oneself from thinking about anything that could stave off sleep. But what if imagining sheep is in itself enough to keep a person awake? Answer choice (C) addresses this potential flaw in the argument to state that thinking about sheep is not the kind of thought that will keep a person awake.

Since this is an assumption question, you can also use the negation technique to check your answer -- if the negated answer choice attacks the argument, you've picked the right one. The negation of answer choice (C) is that imagining sheep will keep a person awake. Clearly, if thinking about sheep keeps one awake, it's not a good method to fall asleep.

I hope that clears things up. Good luck!
avengingangel
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It does - thanks !
bk1111
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Is this a sufficient or necessary assumption question? I perceived it as a sufficient assumption question and arrived at the correct answer (C).
Adam Tyson
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Definitely a necessary assumption, bk1111, which in PowerScore parlance is just called an assumption. What some folks call a sufficient assumption, we call a Justify the Conclusion. Here, where the stem tells us that the correct answer must be true, which is the language of necessity in conditional reasoning, we are looking for a (necessary) assumption.

Answer C makes a good link between the premises and the conclusion, but it doesn't justify the conclusion. If you were looking for an answer that proves the conclusion (that counting sheep would enable someone to fall asleep) then you probably should have picked answer D: if thoughts of sheep induce sleep, then it would prove that counting sheep in your head would enable you to sleep, right?

The key difference between Justify and Assumption questions is what needs to be true. For Justify, the answer must prove that the conclusion is true, while for Assumptions the conclusion proves that the author must have believed that the answer was true. The language of the stem will use the word "if" in a Justify question (if true, if assumed), while the language in an Assumption stem will not use that word (which of the following must the author have assumed, which of the following must be true, etc.).

Be careful not to mix these two up! While the answers may often be similar, and can even be identical, that will not always be the case, and confusing one for the other can frequently lead you to select a wrong answer. The authors will lay out justify answers to assumption questions and vice versa for that very reason. You got lucky this time!

Keep at it!
Adam M. Tyson
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AthenaDalton wrote:Answer choice (D) seems to indicate that counting sheep will make a person sleepy -- not quite what the argument is getting at. The hypothesis doesn't hinge on sheep inducing sleep so much as preventing thoughts that would keep a person awake.


I represented the stimulus in terms of causal reasoning, which seems to conflict with the explanation above:
Cause → Effect
Count Imaginary Sheep → Exclude Sleep Preventing Thoughts → Fall Asleep

I was left with answers (C) and (D), and eliminated answer (D) because the stimulus says counting sheep induces sleep, not only imagining sleep. Would this be a right approach? And the part in the answer 'whenever those thoughts arose' is a conditional statement. I know that answer (D) is incorrect, but would an answer containing a conditional statement (worded differently) be acceptable here, or would it be eliminated because it is too strong?

Ps. How does this compare to answer (C)?